My brother Brian and I lost our mom, Patricia Ann Mack, on Sunday, January 16, 2022. Although she suffered with dementia the last several years, she lived a remarkable life and one we are both proud of.
Mom was the first of her family to graduate from college, and being a girl, that was a big deal back in the 1950s. She was the middle child of a family of five kids. Her parents, Leroy and Marie Thompson, had two sets of kids — Ed, Irene and our mom Patricia, then William and Virginia several years later. Mom was always good at school and went off to Hiram College in Ohio where she met our dad, Galen. She went on to get her Masters Degree in Inorganic Chemistry and became a water quality chemist for the Environmental Protection Agency.
When our family moved from Kansas City to the island of Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in 1977, Mom helped establish the Department of Environmental Quality and proceeded to ensure that the residents there had safe drinking water. She trained numerous local employees in water quality chemistry and her efforts greatly improved the health and welfare of residents on the island. After our father died tragically in 1987, Mom moved back to California to live with me, then was rehired by the EPA and moved to Nevada to their regional headquarters. In 1993, the EPA built a new laboratory in Richmond, California, and Mom transferred there. She finally retired in 1999 and Art and I moved her to Carlsbad, New Mexico, so she could care for her dad who had recently lost Grandma.
In Carlsbad she found the small town she had been looking for, buying a house, becoming part of a coffee klatch that gathered every morning at The Blue House coffee shop, and joining the local Community Theater as a volunteer. In 2008, she utilized her laboratory skills to bring Quality New Mexico to Carlsbad, where she trained numerous business people in the Malcolm Baldridge program of quality control. She volunteered at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, as well as for VistaCare to help support local residents grieving the loss of loved ones. She loved Carlsbad and the community it provided her with.
In her later years as dementia set in, she was cared for by her loving companion Rosa Hernandez, who took care of her as if she was her own mom. She was also comforted and loved daily by her little dog Fluffy. Mom passed away in Las Cruces, sadly because there were no beds in Carlsbad due to COVID patients overwhelming her local hospital. She was fully vaccinated and boostered and we kept her as safe as we could in her home during the pandemic. Unfortunately, she got sick at the worst possible time to get sick and they couldn’t help her in her adopted town.
She will rest both in Carlsbad next to her parents and in the Pacific Ocean where our dad was laid to rest in 1987. She loved the ocean and the desert and this seems a fitting way for her to leave this Earth.
Mom is survived by her son Brian Mack and her daughter Laurie Emery (Art), her brothers and sister, Ed Thompson, Bill Thompson (Flora), and Virginia Newmiller (Butch), as well as her dedicated caregiver for six years Rosa Hernandez. Mom's little dog Fluffy will also miss her immensely. She is preceded in death by her parents and longtime Carlsbad residents Leroy and Marie Thompson, and her sister Irene.
Rest in Peace, Mom. We love you.