Patricia Ann Lavelle Lawlor, 86, died Dec. 21, 2014, in Anchorage. A celebration of life mass is planned for July.
Patricia Ann Lavelle was born Feb. 16, 1928, in Cedar Rapids Iowa, to Michael and Winifred (Murrin) Lavelle. After high school, she attended the Mercy Hospital School of Nursing In Davenport, Iowa. She was named Iowa School Nurse of the Year in 1949. After graduating from nursing school, she worked for the Veterans Administration in St. Louis, and earned her private pilot’s license. After St. Louis, she became a partner in the Wilton Nursing Home in Wilton, Iowa.
While vacationing in Alaska she fell in love with the land and a farmer named Joseph Lawlor. In 1954 they married and moved outside of Fairbanks, where they homesteaded a piece of land at the end of what is now Lawlor Road. They raised nine children in the cabin they constructed. Patricia worked as an emergency room nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Fairbanks. She also worked as a school nurse at Joy Elementary School and then as public health nurse.
In the mid 1970s the family moved to southern California where she worked for the San Bernardino County Health Department. She also spearheaded the California/Hawaii Elks Major Project program to get all preschool children in the state vision-tested before kindergarten
Patricia and Joe returned to Alaska in 1986 and served as volunteers at St. Mary’s Catholic School in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. After St. Mary’s closed, she continued with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in the Anchorage area. In 1988, she and Joe made their home in Homer, where they lived for many years. After her husband died, she moved to Soldotna in 2006.
The last years of her life were dedicated to reopening the family gold mine near Circle Hot Springs, and arguing politics with her family. She will be remembered for her wicked sense of humor.
Her survivors include daughters, Maureen and Ann Lawlor, Sheila Gallagher and Ellen Lawlor Krsnak; sons, Michael, John, Tim, Thomas and Patrick Lawlor and their families, which include 14 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; and sisters, Rita, Winifred, Pauline and Geraldine.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to South Peninsula Haven House, 3776 Lake St. Homer, AK 99603.
Arrangements were cared for by the Anchorage Funeral Home. Please visit Patricia’s obituary and online guestbook at www.AlaskanFuneral.com.