PAT DANSYEAR WHITMER
1003 Royal Court
Cheswick, PA 15024
724-715-7760 or 724-594-3051
We moved to the greater Pittsburgh, PA area in the summer of 2006 to be closer to our three small grandchildren (all under the age of 5 yrs). Our son is a Navy pilot stationed in California. His wife has remained here to be close to her family & to attend nursing school. We are actively involved with the grandchildren on a daily basis with transportation & child care thus enabling her to attend her classes much more easily.
We are happy & healthy & enjoying being in the area. While difficult, it was a good decision on our part to relocate from Central Florida where we had lived for the last 23 years.
My brother & I were in Miami in January 2001 for an event to honor my parents (my father posthumously). My mother & sister-in-law were with us and we decided to take my sister-in-law through the Gables and to visit Venetian Pool (which is on the National Register of Historic Places).
As we stood outside the car by Venetian Pool looking at the Banyan trees and shaded streets Ron & I talked about how very fortunate we were to grow up in Coral Gables. It was a wonderful time and place for so many of us.
I look at the places we have been and the things we have done collectively (Class of '62) and look at how far we have come. My parents came so very, very far in their lives and opened so many doors for me that were not open to them in their childhood. In order to graduate from high school, my father had to go to night school because he worked during the day. After his death on the 4th of July 1976 (the Bicentennial) I found his high school yearbook (on a much smaller scale than ours). I was quite surprised to learn that there was an entire night school graduating class from his school (Washington Irving?) in New York City.
In the last few years I have also learned from my cousin that my father's father drove a beer truck (probably horse drawn) and died when my father was a small boy. His mother raised my father and my aunt by running a newsstand in the Bowery in New York City. The irony is that she was illiterate. His parents were immigrants from Eastern Europe. I never met either one of them.
My mother was raised by her maternal grandparents who spoke no English as they were immigrants from Puerto Rico and Cuba. My mother learned English in school and spoke both her English and her Spanish with not a hint of an accent so few knew that she was fluent and literate in Spanish.
While many parents want to open doors for their children, my parents did!
After graduation, I attended Stetson University. (Anybody else remember dorm rules & "sign-outs" to leave the dorm at night? How about no smoking unless seated because ladies didn't smoke standing up? Did you ever see a man in your dorm hall? We even had mandatory Chapel attendance & roll was taken!) I majored in Elementary Education and managed to graduate in the summer of 1965 - a year early so I could marry my Prince Charming.
While I am no longer married to my Prince Charming, we have remained good friends and he even called me last year to tell me that his wife had just delivered twin boys! (They are thrilled & I'm glad that you are not reading my name in Ripley's Believe It Or Not!)
After teaching in several different places and spending some time in the retail industry (Maas Brothers in Tampa), I met the man to whom I have married for almost 28 years. My husband, Keith was my principal at Punta Gorda Junior High. We married in 1974 and a year later had our son, David.
We spent several years pursuing other interests away from education and out of Florida but returned in 1983 - settling in Lake County which is just north of Orlando.
Our son David graduated from Mount Dora High School (entire school is the size of our graduating class)and entered the Marines. Deciding that the life of an enlisted man lacked the things he was looking for in life, he applied to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and received an appointment from the Secretary of the Navy. He graduated from Annapolis in 1999 and then graduated from flight school as a Naval Aviator last November. He is currently flying F-18's and loves it! (Factoid: The approximate cost of one hour in the air for one plane is $40,000!) In August, David & his wife will make me a "grandma"!
My work career has been varied - teaching, retail, paralegal (short!), insurance sales, and finally I settled into being a financial planner and tax preparer. At the moment, I am beginning the slow-down process and transitioning to a semi-retirement mode but continue to work from a small office in our home.
We live a very quiet life in the downtown of a small town - Tavares - which is the county seat of Lake County. Our home is an 80 year old wood frame home with wood floors and is zoned commercial so I can have clients here. We live about 500 feet from a city park which is located on Lake Dora - a lake large enough to be seen on a map & which is part of the Chain of Lakes. You can boat from lake to lake and wind up in the St. John's River & get to Jacksonville - if you are clever, have a few days, and want to navigate the lakes & the locks between here and there.
We maintain an active worship life - having grown up in the little Lutheran Church (St. James Lutheran) across the street from the old Coral Gables Library. As part of our "pursuing other interests" my husband entered the ministry briefly in his late 40's and served a Lutheran congregation in New York State - south of Buffalo.
Last year I was invited to join the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts-Heart of Florida Council. This is a large council with a staff of 28 employees serving 13,000 girls in a seven county area stretching from Marion County at the north end to Hardee County as the southern boundary. It is an honor and a responsibility to be part of an organization which has as its motto "Where Girls Grow Strong", is currently celebrating its 90th anniversary, and is one of the premier organizations in the world for girls. This is part of my community "pay back" for the years when I was a Girl Scout - from 2nd grade through the end of high school.
Because of my commitment to the church and the Girl Scouts and through my work as a financial planner, I am very interested in Charitable Gifting and perpetuating the life of these two mainstream established institutions (as well as others - Boy Scouts of America being one). It is a wonderful opportunity to give back to the community at large. I would welcome the opportunity to have you share information with me if you are in this field as a professional, a volunteer, or (most importantly) a donor.
My husband - retired for eight years - and I look forward to spending some years together relaxing and traveling (a little). We have seriously discussed relocating to the Shenandoah Valley as that is where he spent his childhood and he has long wanted to live in a climate where there is a change of seasons. Since the death of my mother last year we feel more freedom to leave the area.
I look forward to visiting with many of you at the Reunion and will diligently look for the very old picture of the 6th grade graduating class from Coral Gables Elementary School to bring with me. My mother had it for many years under a piece of glass on an end table - guess I will have to really search.