Obituary: Van Amburgh-Whitney
July 3, 2009
Mary Patricia Van Amburgh-Whitney, of Newcastle, a sparkling light who shared herself with the world and touched others with her courage, faith, compassion and thirst for new experiences, died June 15, 2009, of Parkinson’s disease. She was 69.A memorial Mass was celebrated June 26 at St Madeline Sophie Church, Bellevue.
Pat will be remembered for her unique ability to help others see the best in themselves and inspire with her selfless nature.
Pat empowered others to accept that they, like her, were unique, important and valued members of God’s family.
Pat was a modern woman — adventurous, independent, open minded and embracing of change. She was known for her bold and dynamic style, showing the world that preternaturally white hair could be oh so chic. She also had an unrivaled sense of humor, even being able to find the lighter side of her illness.
For the past 30 years, Pat shared her journey with her husband Bob Whitney, whom she married in 1979.
They celebrated a life filled with spontaneity, laughter, and travel and enjoyment of family, friends and other cultures.
She was born Feb. 7, 1940, in Colfax, Wash. Pat graduated from Seattle’s Bishop Blanchet High School and Seattle University.
Pat then entered religious life, joining the Maryknoll community. After six years of teaching high school in the Philippines and 16 years as a nun, Pat left the order to begin the next chapter of her life.
She worked at two large medical centers in Chicago, initiating programs for patient advocacy before moving back to Seattle in 1978 to start a similar program at Providence Hospital.
Eleven years later, Pat moved on to graduate school to earn a master’s degree in psychology and certification for school counseling. She worked in the Kent School District for five years, until her illness forced her to retire.
Pat’s mother Marigold Van Amburgh preceded her in death.
Pat is survived by her husband Bob, father John Van Amburgh, sisters Sue Blake and Judy Van Amburgh, uncle the Rev. Vincent Cunniff, a niece and three nephews.
Remembrances can be made to the American Parkinson Disease Association, 135 Parkinson Ave., Staten Island, NY 10305 or Maryknoll Sisters, P.O Box 311, Maryknoll, NY 10545-0311.