Patricia Dean Manolis

12/02/1940 –

 01/15/2022

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Obituary

I’ve never written an obituary, so bear with me.  I also don’t have my usual proofreader anymore, but I will do my best.  There’s a lot I want to tell you about my mother.  I could probably write a novel, but I’ll try to keep it brief!

Let me begin by telling you that Patricia/Pat/Patsy/Mom died exactly as she wanted: peacefully in her own bed, without fuss.  Years of smoking caught up with her and after a brief bout with COPD, she did not wake up on January 15th.

Born in New York City on December 2, 1940, my mother began life as Belinda Vaughan.  (More about that later!) Unbeknownst to her, she was immediately adopted by Arthur H. and Mary Marden Dean and began her life as Patrica Campbell Dean in Oyster Bay, NY.  She attended Green Vale School in Old Brookville, NY, and Garrison Forest in Owings Mills, MD, before heading to Hofstra University.  Throughout her education, she was fortunate to globe-trot throughout Europe with her parents, meeting presidents, dignitaries, and heads of state while igniting her love for all things Anglican.  Life took an exciting turn for her when she purchased a Karmann Ghia from Leonidas Manolis, a handsome young Greek man from the Bronx.  She put her college education on hold to get married and raise three children: Dean, Talbott, and me, Timmie.  Looking back, we had a childhood packed with love, books, art, food, fabulous holidays, and elaborate birthday parties!  When we were young, she was the Director of Religious Education at Christ Church in Oyster Bay, NY.  In addition to directing and teaching Sunday School, she helmed the Christmas pageant and every year brought more and more live animals into the church and our home.  She also created what seemed like hundreds of beautiful banners which were carried in services year-round.

Once my brothers and I were settled in school, she returned to finish college and then graduate school at CW Post University.  Mom received her undergraduate degree in 1979 and her Masters’s degree in elementary education in 1983, and it was then that we had our first Latin lesson: Summa Cum Laude.  My father was proud beyond belief!

My mom was not your average, run-of-the-mill teacher. She loved her students and was determined to open their minds to new ways to look at the world. Through creative and unique projects, she taught some of the brightest minds at Portledge School in Locust Valley, NY, Chapin School in New York City, and finally at her Alma Mater, Green Vale School.  She taught all levels, but her favorite was probably 5th grade.  I think that age really appreciated her passion and unique sense of humor.  When she would reminisce with me about her favorite students, that was the grade she talked about most.

She had as much fun in the classroom as her students!  Mom took on the challenge of wearing a unique pair of earrings every day for an entire school year, raised 3 ducks in her classroom, and crafted extra credit questions on her quizzes that were often about what clothes she wore to school the day before.  She wanted her students to keep their eyes open and look for different ways to solve problems.  If you ask her students, friends, and co-teachers, they will remember her creativity, generosity, outrageous secret Santa antics, and obsessions with bowling balls and flamingos.

My mom was widowed in September 1987, and her father passed away two months later.  She bounced back and continued to teach for a few more years.  Upon her retirement, she moved back to the house she grew up in to care for her mother.  Just before my Grandmother died, we found paperwork in her files that confirmed that my mother was adopted.  However, my grandmother was unable to (or simply did not want to) provide any information to us about the adoption.  Recently, thanks to 23andMe, Ancestry.com, and NY State finally allowing adoptees to petition for their pre-adoption birth certificate, we were able to learn who her birth parents were and connect with new relatives.  Although mom wasn’t as curious about the adoption as I was, I think it was great for her to have both closure and confirmation as to her origins.  And it brought some excitement to the boredom of being in “lockdown” due to Covid!

Growing up on Long Island and Nantucket, Mom was never far from a beach and in 1995 she moved to Sanibel, FL to be closer to the sea air!  Countless hours were spent on the beach collecting literally hundreds of pounds of shells. (I know, I have carried them with us across the country!)  Numerous awards & ribbons were presented to her at the annual shell fair in Sanibel, and her shell creations adorn the shelves of her homes as well as the homes of her family and friends.

While in Florida, she adopted an alter ego in order to keep her circle of friends connected.  Col. A.V. Ery, President of F.C.O.A. (Flamingo Club of America) spent endless hours writing newsletters and crafting flamingo-themed gifts for the members of this special club.

When the beach took its toll on my mother’s hips and knees, she returned North to West Hartford, CT to be close to her four grandchildren, and they loved that!  Cooking lessons, art projects, and a lap made for reading were always available.  With two new hips and a new knee mom was back in action and able to volunteer at St James’s Episcopal Church in West Hartford CT!  Eventually, she moved into my house, and we’ve been dragging her all over the country ever since.  Fort Worth, Kansas City, and finally Lubbock.

More than anything else, my mother loved laughing!  We giggled every day.  My mother wanted to be cremated and I joked that I was going to sprinkle her all over the world. And because that made her really giggle, that’s what I am going to do!

She is survived by her children Dean & Susan Manolis (Palm Coast, FL), Timmie & Darrin D’Agostino (Lubbock, TX), Talbott Manolis & Ann Russo (West Hartford, CT); grandchildren, Hannah, Campbell, Leo and Cameron.

Memorials

For those who would like to continue the mission of Pat Manolis (a.k.a. Col. A.V. Ery) please feel free to contribute to the care and feeding of the flamingos at the Fort Worth Zoo as we have sent up a memorial fund in my mother’s name.  Those who knew her personally know she is tickled pink!!

You may send donations to:

Fort Worth Zoo

Attn: Development Office

1989 Colonial Parkway

Fort Worth, TX 7611

Or reach out to them via email or phone:

development@fortworthzoo.org

817.759.7365

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