In all the history of St. Nicholas of Tolentine School in Chicago, there have likely not been many instances of a three-and-a-half-year-old attending kindergarten. But when little Patricia Spangler proved herself so determined to follow her older siblings to school that her brother Jim was late to class because he was the one taking her back home, putting her into kindergarten was the solution devised by the principal, Sister Leone Therese Morrin. That way, Sister Leone Therese reasoned, Jim would have no excuse for missing class every time his baby sister decided to tag along. This did not mean, however, that Pat was officially in school a year early; the next year, she was enrolled in kindergarten along with the other children her age.
Sister Pat was born on December 31, 1934, to Robert and Anna (Rezac) Spangler. She was the sixth child and the third girl born into the family – following Marianne, Bob, Bill, Jim, and Betty Jo – and the first of the Spangler children to be born in Chicago; the family had previously lived in Kansas and Oklahoma. The youngest, Thomas, whom the family called “Timmy” because his godfather nicknamed him “Tiny Tim,” was born just before Sister Pat’s third birthday.
Thomas’ fourth birthday, December 7, 1941, coincided with the day Pearl Harbor was attacked and the U.S. was plunged into World War II. Bob was already in the Navy as part of the V-12 Program, through which men took college classes in order to become officers, and was at the University of Notre Dame. Marianne, who had been working as a secretary and stenographer in downtown Chicago, quit her job and joined the WAVES, where she became a secretary for an admiral at the Great Lakes Naval Base. Bill left school and joined the Navy as well, eventually serving in the South Pacific aboard the (second) aircraft carrier USS Yorktown.
Read more about Sister Patricia (pdf)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
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She was Aunt Pat to me, my favorite memories is when she was a clown. Rest in peace
Aunt Pat's dedication to literacy was commendable. She lived a full life doing what she loved to do - not everyone can say that. I would like to thank her Dominican family for taking care of her in her later years. I will always remember her twinkling eyes (and rolling eyes when my dad would say something corny.) Rainbow Star is looking down on us right now and twinkling.
I remember the joy of Sister Pat's Jubilee celebration at "the Mother House". She was very proud to host us, to walk the grounds and enjoy the flowers and the antics of her two great nephews. I send heartfelt thanks to the Adrian Dominican Sisters and to the staff at the Dominican Life Center. My Aunt Pat often remarked about how lovely it was to be cared for with compassion and respect among her beautiful community. She always enjoyed traveling, and I am grateful for the companionship that allowed her to fulfill on her desire to visit us in Virginia for Thanksgiving, even after she was no longer able to navigate independently. Thank you for the lovely memories. Blessings!
Our Adrian Dominican cemetery with its circular headstones is a beautiful place of rest for women who gave their lives in service to God — and a peaceful place for contemplation and remembrance.
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