Patricia Marie (Blanchet) Roix, 72, passed away peacefully on November 7, 2020 after living to hear Vice-President elect Kamala Harris' victory speech.
Pat grew up in Southbridge, MA, daughter of Louis and Marcelle (Toulmond) Blanchet. She spent her childhood surrounded by a loving family, especially her five brothers: Peter, Louis, Michael, Joseph, and Paul. Her mother was a french-speaking immigrant from Belgium, her father was an American-born WWII veteran from a French Canadian immigrant family. As a result of her education in Southbridge, MA, and her close relationship to her Belgian relatives, she maintained a fluency in French throughout her life. Pat graduated from Marianhill Central Catholic High School in 1966 and went on to attend Framingham State College, graduating with a teaching degree in 1970.
She married the love of her life, George, in 1972 and together they raised three sons. Pat taught elementary school, alongside George, for a couple of years in the Southwest, where George attended graduate school. Following the birth of their first son, they returned "home" to Central Massachusetts.
Not long after arriving in Athol, Pat took a part-time job teaching swimming lessons at the Athol Area YMCA. Some 30 years later, she retired from the Y, having been the full-time fitness director for much of her tenure. She was instrumental in modernizing the fitness facilities at the Y and was beloved by staff and members alike. After her retirement from the YMCA, Pat continued her lifelong passion for serving others through health and fitness by becoming a certified Wellness Coach and teaching yoga.
Pat loved the outdoors, hiking, swimming, canoeing, and running. She enjoyed competing and organizing local races. She organized many of the early Athol YMCA road races in the 80's and 90's. She also enjoyed competitive canoeing, highlighted by years in the canoe with her good friend, the late Dorothy "Dottie" Fisk of Royalston, in an all female triathlon team that placed in numerous bike/run/paddle triathlons throughout New England. As a runner, she successfully completed the famous Mt Washington Auto Road race, a feat of endurance that most impressed her husband and children at the time!
She and George were long-time parishioners of Our Lady Immaculate Church on School Street in Athol.
Pat was a champion for the environment, peace, and equity, and inspired many to join her. She loved her adopted hometown of Athol, both the landscape and the people. She served on the School Committee for several years in the 90s. More recently, she served on the town energy committee, looking for ways to adopt more climate friendly energy generation and conservation policy. In later years she enjoyed participating in community cleanups with her husband George and friends new and old, as well as general political rabble-rousing involving plastic bag bans and other environmental issues.
She loved spending time with family and friends at the Camp in Woodstock, CT. She especially loved being surrounded by her four grandchildren. Pat loved with a passion. It was palpable. She leaves behind her beloved husband of 48 years, George, for whom she cared for the past 10 years while he struggled with Alzheimer's. She also leaves three sons and daughter-in-laws, Steven and Julie, John and Robyn, and Daniel and Clair; four grandchildren, Aiden, Troy, Amelia, and Henry; as well as her five brothers and their families, beloved sister-in-laws and brother-in-laws in the Roix family, nieces and nephews and grand-nieces and grand-nephews, and beloved aunts, uncles, and cousins in the US and Belgium. She will be dearly missed.
In lieu of flowers please consider donations to the Athol Area YMCA or Valuing Our Children in Athol, MA.
The family plans a memorial service for summer of 2021 when they hope it will be safer to bring together all those that wish to celebrate Pat's life.
Published in Athol Daily News on Nov. 12, 2020.