I am one of the many in this area who will miss Pat Goodeyon.
She was as close to being a “force of nature” as anyone I will ever know. Always on the move, Pat’s spirit and body were stilled when she died on Christmas Eve. Her death was hastened by injuries sustained in a car accident four days earlier.
I wasn’t that much older, but I never thought of Pat as a peer. She seemed much younger, propelled by an inner drive to get things going and to get things done. She did both at an exhausting pace. I knew her in three different ways: as a sister church member, a one-time co-worker and as a friend. In all three roles, Pat was the same, true to her nature.
I knew her first as a young mother at church where she tended to three stair-step children who were eventually followed by a fourth. Pat was devout and a true believer in her faith, following her own family traditions.
She was a lector (lay reader) and a eucharistic minister. After her retirement 20 years ago, she attended daily church services, often with grandchildren in tow, and took communion to parish invalids and shut-ins.
She always took time to visit and to show that she truly cared about others. As the area’s premier Avon lady, she was out and about, sharing the news and requesting prayers for those who needed them.
I don’t know when Pat began working at the state hospital, but I do know that she completed Basic Aide Training in 1958. That was an exciting time at OSH as it was beginning to earn a national reputation for innovation.
In fact, also in 1958, the hospital hosted 250 psychiatrists from 25 states and Canada for a three-day institute on the study and treatment of schizophrenia. Pat learned all that she could.
In 1969, she was selected to participate in Advanced Psychiatric Aide Training. She earned credentials as an LMHT — Licensed Mental Health Technician — assuming more responsibility for patients and learning more about helping them meet their goals.
By 1973, the hospital developed an Alcoholic Treatment Program, first as a day offering and then as a discrete treatment unit. Pat was called into service there in 1980 when half the hospital’s admissions were being treated for substance abuse, often in conjunction with psychiatric problems. She became a unit substance abuse counselor.
Back then, I was the only social worker on the building and was assigned to consult those counselors regarding social histories. They didn’t need me. Pat and the other four working with their specialized clients knew their business.
What’s more, they fully understood the nature of addiction. They didn’t allow rationalizing or excuses. That’s when I learned that my church friend had a vocabulary that got results. She told it frankly, honestly and sometimes confrontationally, in language that was clearly understood. She was amazing in many ways.
Now combine that caring and honesty with a whopping amount of generosity and competence. Those were the hallmarks of Pat Goodeyon. She had some rough patches in her life that helped her know when and how to reach out to others when they, too, were struggling. I am forever grateful to her for helping me through troubles and wish I had done more for her when her own health began to fail.
I will remember Pat as a woman who balanced the many facets of her life. She loved her family, her God, her friends and her life. Rest well now, Patty Ann. You’ve earned your crown.