Patricia Ellen Abelin was born on December 26, 1946 in Livingston. Her parents both served in the U.S. Army during World War II in the European Theater. She graduated valedictorian from Park County High School in 1965. Pat attended Montana State University in Bozeman and graduated with degrees in teaching and math. Pat was a member of Pi Beta Phi, Spurs and Montana Bound. While in college she learned to ski and married Bozeman area skier Terry Abelin in 1969.
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Pat taught junior high math in Manhattan Public School for four years where she met her lifelong friend Ann Schaefer. Ann and Pat met almost every Wednesday since 1974 to visit, clean and do projects together.
Pat left her teaching job to raise her two sons, Jeff and Bob. The family skied and sailed together their entire lives. Terry was hired as the general manager of Bridger Bowl in 1980.
Pat worked as a bookkeeper for a number of small businesses and enjoyed balancing the books. In 1993 she was appointed to the Montana Transportation Commission. She spent eight years traveling the state of Montana and helped make difficult decisions about how to proportion funding dollars in a state with many different needs.
In retirement Pat and Terry would spend all winter skiing with friends and family and would spend several weeks each year sailing on the pacific coast from Seattle into Canada.
In 2008 Pat was diagnosed with breast cancer. She undertook a variety of treatments to slow the advance of the disease including a variety of chemotherapy treatments and surgeries. In 2012 her husband Terry was diagnosed with lymphoma and was treated in Seattle with a stem cell transplant. The couple bravely cared for each other during their treatments.
Pat was a member of First Lutheran Church where she served as the youth director for six years. She now belongs to the Bozeman United Methodist Church.
She is survived by her mother, Erna Phillips (96 years old); sister, Virginia Dixon; husband, Terry Abelin; sons, Jeffery and Robert Abelin; grandson, Isaiah; granddaughter, Megan; and many nieces and nephews. Pat was preceded in death by her father, Bernard Phillips, and her sister, Evelyn Wecker.
A memorial service will be held at the Bozeman United Methodist Church at 2 p.m. on Friday, March 7. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to the Bozeman Deaconess Cancer Center, 931 Highland Blvd, Ste. 3200, Bozeman, MT 59715.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service, www.dokkennelson.com
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Mar. 6, 2014