Pat  Smith

Obituary of Pat Boyle Smith

Pat Boyle Smith, 96, passed away peacefully on November 19, 2020 at Elizabeth Seton Memory Care Center in Greensburg, PA surrounded by her loving family and caregivers. Wife, mother, favorite aunt, treasured friend, community volunteer, championship golfer and child of God, Pat is in Heaven now, with a host of loved ones who preceded her in death, including her husband Brooks, brother Jack Boyle, and much-loved son Mike. In Pat's heyday, which lasted almost 90 years, there was always "room at the Inn", a ham in the oven, and cold beer in the fridge. She covered First Base like a blanket for family games of Wiffle ball; conducted Snipe hunts with her grandchildren; hummed all day and sang while she cooked. She played Poker with her kids, and their kids, complaining regularly about being dealt a bad hand, "So bad, I'd call it a foot," as she'd rake in another pot. At age 83 and legally blind, Pat taught an adult daughter to play bridge. She read countless best sellers three words at a time (including every book in the Harry Potter series), using an assistive device for the visually impaired. Pat delivered homemade vegetable soup to sick or grieving friends; brought tulip bouquets to new neighbors; and walked to daily Mass when the doctor revoked her driver's license. She grew a gardenia plant every year that bloomed all summer and a shamrock plant that thrived year-round. And shame on the person who complained about fat legs or ugly shoes: "Thank God you have feet!" Once, after hearing an exegesis of the Book of Job at a Serra Club meeting, she stood and without sentimentality, self-pity or reference to her own difficulties spoke of one's duty to accept life, "as God has permitted it." Born March 4, 1924 in Mount Pleasant, PA, Margaret Eleanor Boyle was the second child and only daughter of Ed and Eleanor Boyle, both of whom came from large Irish Catholic families with grandparents who immigrated to America in search of a better life. In an era of No Irish Need Apply- discrimination they found great solace in their Catholic faith and were able to overcome many obstacles, thanks to the reassuring presence of a close-knit family. If Pat's life were a play, Act 1 would be "The Early Days", the period in everyone's life where experiences shape who they will become. By her own account, Pat Boyle was a "Daddy's Girl", probably a little spoiled, but also keenly aware that times had been tough. The Depression hit when Pat was 5 years old and lasted until World War II. But it was during those years that she cultivated a quick Irish wit, a giving heart, the faith of Job and a fighting spirit that served her well on the golf course and during the difficult times that occur in most people's lives. It was during World War II that Pat also got serious about golf, honing her skills so she'd be good enough to play with her father Ed Boyle, whose son and regular golfing buddy Jack was on active duty in the South Pacific. Pat played excellent golf into her 80s, had two holes-in-one, and was Preston County Club Women's Champion in 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, and 1968, the same year her 14-year old son Mike was PCC Men's Club Champion. Her freshman year in college, Pat enrolled at Seton Hill in Greensburg, PA, where two great aunts, Sister Electa Boyle and Sister Sarah Fideles were faculty members. Wartime gas-rationing caused her to transfer to WVU the following year. While at WVU, Pat was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority, where she played matchmaker to more than a few "sisters", some of who ended up marrying the fraternity "fix-ups" she'd so artfully arranged. After the war, Pat enrolled at WVU School of Law, later admitting, "I didn't want to be a lawyer. I wanted to marry one." There, she met her future husband, Fairmont native Brooks Smith, a 1944 grad of Yale University and U.S. Army vet who took part in beachhead assaults at Anzio and Salerno during the Allied invasion of Italy. Pat Boyle and Brooks Smith were married on August 20, 1949. Following a Nuptial Mass at St. Theresa Church on Beechurst Ave, a 400-guest reception was held at the Morgantown Golf and Country Club that stood where WVU law school and Mountaineer Stadium are today. Hilly and wide-open, the entire 18-hole course was visible from the club house, including #15, a hole so steep golfers and their caddies had to use a mechanical ski rope to reach the green. After her wedding, Pat "set up housekeeping" in Charleston but after a few years moved to New York City, then Long Island for her husband's work as a utility lawyer for Columbia Gas. In New York, her life was filled with the care of four young children, volunteer work for St. Brigid Parish and School, and date nights in the city, which often meant dinner and a Broadway show. The second act of Pat Smith's life commenced with her return to Morgantown in 1961, following the sudden death of her father. Once back home, Pat threw herself into her favorite job – that of wife and mother. She continued her volunteer work, this time on behalf of St. Theresa Parish, St. Francis Grade and High Schools, and Morgantown's charitable needs, in general. When Pat learned, for example, that St. Vincent Pallotti Hospital needed new air conditioners, she and a host of other volunteers organized a Spaghetti Supper, feeding 800 people homemade spaghetti and meatballs at $2 dollars a head, raising enough money to outfit the Catholic hospital on Willey Street with the air conditioners it needed. When she turned 80, longtime family friend Rev. Stanley McNevin C.S.P wrote: "May you continue to see the world through the eyes of faith and continue to respond to the world with laughter, the humor that makes all things right with God." Pat Smith survived several major surgeries, phlebitis, breast and skin cancer, macular degeneration, profound bilateral hearing loss and cognitive decline, which ushered in the Final Act of her life. For nearly four years, Pat Boyle Smith was a resident of Elizabeth Seton Memory Care Center, a Greensburg, PA facility run by the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill. The Smith and Boyle families send heartfelt and humble thanks to the Sisters of Charity, Heartland Hospice and the entire ESMCC care staff who always treated Mother with tender loving care, demonstrating every day what faith-filled human beings created in the image of God are capable of doing for each other. Pat Smith loved parties. She could feed an army, never knew a stranger and had an opinion for everything from horizonal stripes ("They made you look fat.") to talking back ("Nobody likes a smart ass"). She warned her kids about fire ants, alligators in Florida canals and the danger of crossing one's eyes ("They're gonna stick that way!") As with many women of her generation, God was in the details of Pat's long and "ordinary" life, which in the words of St. Elizabeth Seton, "was always attentive to the voice of grace." About her, a niece once wrote, "If I were to paint a portrait of Aunt Pat, it would be larger than life. She would be smiling, of course and sitting in a library surrounded by books and family. Her love for Christ would be painted in gold all over the canvas of her life in a paint that never dries so it can rub off on all those whose lives are touched by her." Margaret Eleanor "Pat" Boyle Smith is survived by her children: Patrick, Mimi (Bob Wilson), Mike's widow Amy Wildman Smith, Sally (Bill Henderson) and Stephen Ryan Smith; generous and loving nephews Bill Boyle (Karen), Mark Boyle (Mary), and Edward Boyle (Kathy) and beloved niece Ann Boyle Colon (Juan); grandchildren Abby Wilson (Patrick Niederriter), Will Wilson (Tara), Brooks, Scott and Tim Smith (Sydney), Gage Smith (Emily), Ed Smith and Maggie Henderson; great grandchildren Lana, Brooklyn, Heath, Ronan Patrick, Colette, Jude Michael, and Ruby, as well as numerous members of her loving family and a host of treasured friends. Due to the global COVID pandemic and the public health crisis, the family plans to hold a private Mass of Christian Burial at St. Mary Roman Catholic Church in Star City with Father John McDonough as celebrant. Interment will follow at East Oak Grove Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Pat's memory to St. Ursula Food Pantry and Outreach, P O Box 18, Pursglove, WV 26546. Hastings Funeral Home is entrusted with arrangements and condolences can be made online at www.hastingsfuneralhome.com.
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