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Patricia's Story

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Patricia Schmidtke, age 71, of Mankato died on April 26, 2017 at Mayo Clinic Health Care System in Mankato. Visitation will be Monday, May 1st from 10am until 1pm at Sturm Funeral Home in St. James. Burial will follow at Mt. Hope Cemetery in St. James. You may send the family condolences online at www.sturmfh.com Arrangements are with Sturm Funeral Home in St. James.
Patricia Ruth Simpson was born November 6, 1945 near Willmar, MN, the daughter of Harold & Clara (Schwingler) Simpson. Pat grew up and graduated high school in Madelia. Pats journey took her from Minnesota, to Colorado, to Iowa, and then back to Minnesota again. Though she moved a lot, her positive outlook on life, her sense of adventure, her infectious laugh, and her strength of character, allowed her to make life-long friends every place she lived. Being a single parent of three children did not stop her from chasing her dreams and encouraging them to do the same. In the 1970's, she was the first female cab driver in the Quad Cities, and soon thereafter, sporting a bee-hive hairdo, she ran for city council in Iowa City, Iowa. Making it her mission to speak up for women's rights and welfare rights, Pat paved the way for other woman to make their voices heard in a society that wasn't always listening. She spent most of her life in customer service positions and enjoyed doing volunteer work for Vine Faith in Action. Having a passion for the arts, she also enjoyed many years as Props-Mistress for The Merely Players in Mankato, MN.
Though a tiny woman, she was never the smallest in the room. Her presence always inspired laughter and fun, and she never had an unkind word for anyone. She loved nothing more in this world than her family, and anyone in need of a family was welcomed with open arms. She loved nature, she loved music, and she collected rocks and wood from all over the world. Her favorite thing to do was to sit by a campfire and solve the world's problems with her children, grandchildren, and extended family and friends. In the words of her youngest daughter, whom she lived with in her final years, she was "the coolest chick you would ever meet." Her absence is felt by hundreds and hundreds of people, some who only met her once or twice. She is now at peace... in a canoe... on a river... amidst the trees and the wildlife that she loved so dearly. There are not enough words to express what an amazing woman she was. She will be greatly missed.
Pat is survived by her children; Craig "CJ" (Marcy) Schmidtke of Little Falls, Melissa (Steve) Birr of Easton, Kaylene (Joshua) Newgord of Mankato, grandchildren; Roman (Jessica) Schmidtke, Sonjia "Sonni" Schmidtke, Kayla Birr (Jere Yates, Michelle (Dan) Straumann, Andy (Megan) Birr, Amanda Larson, great-grandson Weston Schmidtke and 7 step-great-grandchildren, siblings; Lois Beving of Spring Valley, Dick (Nylene) Simpson of Madelia, Maxine Ray of Bettendorf, IA and soul-sister Terri Miller-Chait of Iowa City, IA. She is preceded in death by her parents, brothers-in-law; Don Ray and Paul Beving and very dear friend Michael Bocock.
Published on April 28, 2017
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