Helen Patricia Sims Stewart of Port Orford, Oregon, passed away at her home on March 2, 2017. She was 90 years old.
Pat was born September 19, 1926, in Eugene, Oregon, to Leo and Helen Sims. She was pre-deceased by her only sister Gloria Jenkins, her beloved husband of 66 years, Alan, and her dear grandson, Tyler Cullop.
After graduating from Salinas High School she attended the local junior college. After the war, she married returning GI, Alan Stewart, with whom she had played in the high school band. The newlyweds moved to San Jose where Alan attended college and they began their family.
As a young mother of five, she did a stint as “a terrible waitress and cashier” (her words) at the famous “Nut Tree” restaurant in Vacaville, California. When Pat and Alan moved to Pecwan, California in 1959 she found her true calling when they both started teaching school on the Klamath River. In 1961, they moved to Mount Shasta where they eventually built four homes for themselves. Pat taught 2nd grade at Mt. Shasta Elementary School for years before becoming the Miller-Unruh reading specialist. She was passionate about giving young children the skills and motivation to read as well as instilling a love of reading. She created the B.E.A.R. (Be Enthusiastic About Reading) program and orchestrated an annual culminating activity of a Teddy Bear picnic where all of the children in the school brought their teddy bears to school, paraded around the playground, and received a book of their own to take home. When she wasn’t teaching, chasing escaped cattle from their home on Hill Road, gardening, playing her flute and singing with Alan, hosting family and friends, and raising her five children, Pat was an avid teddy bear maker. From this passion, she created a small business called “Shasta Bear” and traveled to many teddy bear shows across the United States. Upon retirement, Alan and Patricia moved to Port Orford in 1994 where she discovered a new passion–quilting. In her new home she immediately made many new friends, was active in several quilting clubs, book clubs, and in the local library and also collected a mountain of agates which she requested be returned to the beaches of the Oregon Coast upon her death.
Pat is survived by her four sons, Alan of Port Orford; David and his wife Laurene of Riddle, Oregon; Timothy of Port Orford; Michael and his wife Leslie of Mt. Shasta; and a daughter, Susan, of Junction City, Oregon. She leaves seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren who all cherish many fond memories of this generous, loving, and gracious woman who always claimed she was a lucky lady to have such a wonderful life and family. All of her children and grandchildren are the proud owners of her darling Shasta Bears and exquisite quilts.
At her request, no services were held. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Port Orford library or a charity of your choice.