Patricia O'Connor
Patricia O'Connor
Patricia O'Connor
Patricia O'Connor
Patricia O'Connor
Patricia O'Connor

Obituary of Patricia Alice O'Connor

July 30, 1947 - Lethbridge, Alberta

August 15, 2023 - Calgary, Alberta


Pat O’Connor’s family is saddened to announce her passing on  August 15, 2023. She passed away relatively peacefully at her nursing home at the age of 76 with her family at her side.


Patricia O’Connor was born in Lethbridge, Alberta, on  July 30, 1947. Her father, John “Irish” O’Connor was a grain buyer for United Grain Growers and Patricia spent her youth and first years of school in Morrin, Alberta, where her father worked at the grain elevator. In 1959 she moved to Calgary with her family, including her mother Ida, her brother Gary, and her sister Brenda, and attended Dr. Oakley Junior High School at the Connaught School and Western Canada High School. She left to take care of her grandmother, Alice Cooke, in Rimbey, Alberta, around 1962.


Patricia graduated as valedictorian of Rimbey High School where she was known for her hard work ethic and studiousness. She was a voracious reader all her life and would later enjoy book club with some of her oldest friends. Patricia attended the University of Alberta where she trained to become a physiotherapist. In 1969, she married Wayne Doll. They were divorced in the early-1970s but remained friends at a distance.


Pat worked as a physio at the Holy Cross Hospital, in Calgary, where she met many of her life-long friends. In the early 1970s, she lived with several of them on an acreage, then southwest of the city, known as the “gopher hole,” a place of communal living and good cheer now legendary in family lore. Physio friends such as Elaine MacDonald, Barb Larson, Aline Roberts, Anne Vanwaes, Fran O’Connor, and Sybil Murray and their families were the people Pat enjoyed hiking, camping, riding horses and spending quality time with for many years. Through the physios, Pat met Christopher “Kip” Pratt, an engineer for Shell Canada, who she married in October 1975.


Immediately after their wedding, Kip and Pat travelled to New Orleans, where she continued to work as a physiotherapist. Their visits to New Orleans’ French Quarter were formative and the jazz records they picked up there were long played in the family home. Pat loved music, particularly folk music, and later enjoyed attending the Canmore and Calgary folk festivals with her friend Sue Harris. Kip and Pat soon moved to a small acreage, near Picayune, Mississippi, with a few horses and cows. Pat served as the sole charge physio at a clinic in Kiln, Mississippi, and travelled around the county providing therapy to rural households.


In 1978, the couple returned to the Calgary area, soon purchasing an acreage north of Cochrane, where they built their own house, horse corrals, shelters, and barns. They enjoyed hiking the Rockies and raising horses. Pat was a great lover of animals, especially horses and dogs, and at the farm, her dogs included Storm and Nanook (the Samoyeds), Beau (a golden retriever), and a particularly close canine friend, Angie (a Labrador retriever). In November 1978, their first son, William, was born. In 1982, their second son, Michael, followed.


Pat was a doting mother who adored her sons immensely and was kept busy with their activities, particularly Pony Club and Tetrathlon. Through horses and Pony Club, she met many close friends, including Anne Larson (then Lacey) whose acreage hosted Westbrook Pony Club. Pat met her best friend, Tanis Lane, at a horse clinic. Horse trips to the Rockies with a favourite horse “Sizzler” accompanied by Kip, her father, and friends, were recalled later with great fondness.


In 1990, Pat separated from Kip, and moved with the boys into the Town of Cochrane. Kip remained an active father and a close friend to Pat. The couple were a model in putting aside any differences and focusing on providing the best opportunities for their kids. Raising the boys in Cochrane in the 1990s, Pat underwent a renaissance. She attended the University of Calgary where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 1994. She took a wide range of courses and proudly obtained a graduate degree in counselling. During this period, she was influenced by the ideas of the student movements of the 1960s, particularly feminism and environmentalism. She was an active volunteer with the Cochrane Environmental Action Committee. Other aspects of voluntarism during her life involved the Agape Hospice of Calgary and introducing persons with mental disabilities to horses. Retreats to Assiniboine Lodge in the Rockies and to Hollyhock on Cortes Island, BC, were parts of her journey of self-awareness and reflection.


Pat was an intense lover of animals and longstanding supporter of the Cochrane Humane Society. Angie the retriever moved to Cochrane with the family and enjoyed walks with Pat on the trails. After Angie died, Pat adopted a dog she named “Belle” that she found in distress on the highway. In the early 2000s, Pat bought an acreage on Glendale Road, northeast of Cochrane, and moved a house from Calgary onto the land, developing a cozy place of her own where she enjoyed walking the countryside with her border terrier, “Joey.” Of all the animals in her life, this one was perhaps her most beloved.


Pat was always a wanderer, explorer, and perennially restless in her lodgings. She went on numerous trips to Vancouver Island on house hunting trips, where she enjoyed whale watching despite seasickness. Tofino was a special place for her, and the family travelled there several times over the years. A 2007 trip to South Africa was, perhaps, the highlight of her travels, and she also visited Britain and Ireland with friends and family.


Pat had scoliosis, or a curvature of the spine, and was told she would be in a wheelchair by the time she was 55. Instead, she remained independent until her late 60s, drove a vehicle with hand controls when it became necessary, and hiked the Rockies and travelled the world on canes, crutches, and walkers. A veteran of many back operations and joint replacements, in her final decade she suffered from a series of infections which hospitalized her and repeatedly brought her to death’s door. Through chronic pain and great adversity, her will to live and love was unparalleled.


Pat O’Connor was a physiotherapist, a cowgirl, a hippie, a feminist, a traveller, an animal-lover, an environmentalist, a hiker, an adoring mother, sister, daughter and wife, and a fiercely loyal friend. She is remembered for her love of those lucky enough to receive it, her great companionship on many adventures in the Rockies, and her determination to remain independent despite her ongoing health issues. She will be dearly missed by her friends and family. She is survived by her siblings Gary O’Connor and Brenda Angus and their families, with whom many warm holidays were spent; and by Kip, Will, and Michael Pratt and their families, including her grandchildren Lexington, Jaxon, Hudson, Finley and Piper who she adored with all her heart.


A memorial service will be held at McInnis and Holloway’s Crowfoot Chapel (82 Crowfoot Circle NW, Calgary) on Friday September 8, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. Her friends and family are invited to a reception at Kip’s place, any time after 2:00 pm that day. For details, contact Will Pratt. Instead of flowers, please donate to the Cochrane Humane Society in honour of Pat.


In living memory of Patricia O’Connor, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Crowfoot, 82 Crowfoot Circle NW, Calgary, AB T3G 2T3, Telephone: 403-241-0044.


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