Patricia Neal Whisnant
1934 - 2020
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Whisnant, Patricia Neal

July 18, 1934 - September 14, 2020

Mrs. Patricia "Pat" Neal Whisnant, educator and optimist, died on Monday, September 14, 2020. She loved God, her family, children, music and art and never missed a chance to learn something new. Pat was born in Caroleen, North Carolina in 1934. She played piano and saxophone in her high school marching band and was valedictorian, earning a scholarship to Wake Forest College. She graduated summa cum laude in 1956, majoring in music and religious education. She worked summers at Ridgecrest National Baptist Assembly and began her first job as a minister of music at Gorham Street Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina. Pat met Richard Dallas Whisnant, from Lexington, N.C., at Wake Forest. They married and moved to Winston-Salem in 1957 and she began work in the music ministry of College Park Baptist Church. After her first child, Richard Byron, was born in 1959, she took a job as kindergarten director at Ardmore Baptist Church. Her second child, Cambria Blythe, was born in 1962 in the Ardmore community. Pat realized that she wanted to keep working and that a job in early childhood education could provide more of the flexibility she wanted as a young mom. She was a true pioneer, not just in continuing a career, but also in seeing herself as a full partner in the leadership team at church. Ardmore became central to her adult life. She was one of the first female deacons, was active in Sunday School and sang in the early morning choir. In 1975 she decided to pursue a master's degree in early childhood education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her master's research was on the father's role in child rearing--in the mid 1970's she was interviewing men about changing diapers and supporting their wives in household tasks. She received her master of education degree in 1976 and began teaching early childhood education at Forsyth Tech, a position she held until her retirement in the early 2000s. Through teaching teachers, she was able to impact thousands of young lives. Again, she was always seeking innovative approaches. She traveled to Italy several times to study the award-winning Reggio Emilio early childhood program. In 1994, she personally organized an exhibition of the Italian children's artwork, the "100 Languages of Children," in Winston-Salem. After retirement she enjoyed traveling throughout the world as well as visiting California to hang out with her grandson, Davis. She prided herself on being a "cool" grandma--playing video games, attending jazz concerts and even going on a whitewater rafting trip in her seventies. She had many professional accomplishments, but what made Pat so special was that her personal ambition was always balanced with a genuine love for others. For decades this love came through in her work with children and then for many years in caregiving for her husband, who was partially paralyzed by a stroke in 1991. After he died in 2000, she devoted herself to work with Crisis Hotline and Shepherd Center and more recently to taking care of neighbors or anyone she came across who needed a helping hand or word of encouragement. Pat was preceded in death by her husband, Richard Dallas. Surviving are her loving children, Richard Byron Whisnant of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Cammie Dunaway of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as well as her grandson Davis Dunaway. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to either Trellis Supportive Care, Kate B. Reynolds Hospice Home, 101 Hospice Lane, Winston-Salem, NC 27103, or the Ardmore Baptist Church Preschool/Playground Fund, 501 Miller Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27103. The staff at Hospice made Pat's last days special for her and her family. Pat was an early and passionate advocate of unstructured play for children and would love to help make a special playground happen for the children of the Ardmore community. A virtual celebration of life will be available on October 3rd, 2020 through YouTube. Please contact Ardmore Baptist church or her children Richard or Cammie if you would like a link to the service. Online condolences may be made at

Hayworth-Miller Silas Creek Chapel

3315 Silas Creek Parkway, Winston-Salem, NC 27103

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Published in Winston-Salem Journal on Sep. 17, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Hayworth-Miller Funeral Home Silas Creek Chapel
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8 entries
October 6, 2020
Pat and I were in a warm water aerobics class at Arbor Acres and Salemtowne. At our first meeting she said, "I believe that we purchased daylillies from your Husband, Mr. Warren in Pfafftown". I later found a listing made by my husband of plants purchased by Pat Whisnant. She and I had many good conversations during our aerobics classes. She shared her illness and faced it bravely. A lovely person.
Ina Warren
October 3, 2020
Our sympathy to the family of Pat. She was a member of our Sunday School Class. She will be missed. Heaven must have rejoiced when she entered.
Deryl and Ruth Holliday
September 22, 2020
My son attended preschool at Ardmore Baptist Church. Pat Whisnant was a wonderful teacher .
I am grateful for the years he had there and the attention she gave all the children.
Mary Margaret Link
September 21, 2020
Our sympathies are with you in this difficult time. Hal & I wish we’d had the opportunity to get to know Pat when we all lived in WS. She sounds way cool & and we could all use a dose of her optimistic spirit.

Sally Sexton & Hal Meggison
Sally Sexton
September 17, 2020
My sincere condolences in loss of your mom. Pat was instrumental in my 30 year public school teaching career here in Winston. I started at Forsyth Tech in the mid 80’s in Early Childhood Education. Your mom placed me in public school for several practicum classes. She told me I belonged in the classroom and I found out quickly that she was right! I will always be grateful to her for what she saw in me. I’m still teaching and have touched many student’s and families lives thanks to her. Prayers for you both and your families.
Amy Verner
Amy Verner
September 17, 2020
Pat was very supportive of me in my career as an Early Childhood educator. I was new to the field in 1979 at the Career Center. Pat reached out to me to offer her expertise and help. She was a dedicated advocate for the care and education of young children. Within that role she was a leader in the community. I have no doubt that Pat influenced many teachers in our community through her teaching and advocacy.
nancy mckerring
September 17, 2020
Pat was a wonderfully well-educated, living human being. She meant so much to me after we met at Ardmore. We shared really good times together with others in the widows group there. I will miss her and her joyous spirit and love of music.
Elaine Elliott Hooven
September 17, 2020
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow. Pat was always so friendly to our family. So many good memories of a special lady at Ardmore.
Merrillyn Helton
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