JACKSONVILLE- Patsy Mehlhop, 65, died suddenly Friday May 25. Ms. Mehlhop was in a rehabilitation facility in Schenectady, NY, applying her enthusiasm for life to recovering from a brainstem stroke when she fell and sustained further brain trauma. Born December 1,1952, in Fort Wayne, IN, to Victor and Georgia Mehlhop, Ms. Mehlhop was a companion, aunt, teacher, sister, friend, athlete, and mentor.
Ms. Mehlhop came to the Deerfield Valley in 1986 to teach first- and second grade at the elementary school, retiring from that position in 2013 to become the Wings Community Programs after-school coordinator for Twin Valley Elementary School. Besides her classroom work, she was instrumental in many aspects of the school community. Her summer science camp, as well as her work on the art committee, the Gifted and Talented Program, and the community-built playground are just a few of her above-and-beyond commitments.
Ms. Mehlhop’s athletic passions included golf, kayaking, softball, volleyball, racquetball, and especially the local pickleball game. She was also avidly learning to play the ukulele. Her ultimate joy and mission in life, however, was nurturing children.
Ms. Mehlhop leaves her many nieces and nephews dear to her heart and central to her life, including Kestas Kolakauskas; Jim and Matt Foley; Brad, Nick, Marina, Killeen, and Jake Wright; Sam and Toby LeMaster; and Connor Delia.
Ms. Mehlhop leaves her beloved 700-plus former first- and second-graders who affectionately and collectively referred to themselves as “Mehlhopians;” the many, many participants of the Wings Community After School Program; and her colleagues and friends, who were such an important part of her life.
Ms.Mehlhop leaves her sister Diana Kolakauskas and husband Al, of Fort Wayne, IN; and her aunts, uncles, and cousins in Indiana, Minnesota, Florida, California, and Texas. Besides her parents, Ms. Mehlhop was preceeded in death by her brother Bill.
Ms. Mehlhop leaves her large Boston family, which includes her brothers and sisters-in-law Rick and Terri Wright, Joanne Wright, Tom and Kathy Wright, Jack and Marianne Wright, Bob and Nancy Wright, and Sharon and Jim Foley; as well as the bountiful group of cousins. Ms. Mehlhop loved the “cousin dinners” in Boston and the Vermont weekend reunions where every five years, 50 or more family members would gather at the Inn at Quail Run for a slumber party full of love.
Ms. Mehlhop leaves her dog Rosie Wright; her cats Ernie and LuLu Mehlhop Wright; her gardens, that sweet farmhouse in Jacksonville, her at-times-vexing riding lawnmower, and the beautiful field with apple trees that she loved to mow.
Ms. Mehlhop leaves Mary Wright, her partner and companion for 25 years, for which there are no words.
Ms. Mehlhop will be sorely missed by all who knew her, because to know her was to be touched by her.
A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, June 10, at 1 pm, at the Twin Valley Elementary School. All are welcome.