Patricia (Wheelless, Goldman) Paschen (86) of Sturgis, Michigan peacefully passed away on Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at the Sturgis Hospital leaving behind a fascinating and adventure-filled life here on earth.
Pat was born in February of 1934 to a family of aviators. Her father, Hugh Wheelless, her mother, Billie (Austin) Wheelless and her brother were all pilots. Maybe it was an expectation or maybe it was in her blood, but Pat started flying at the tender age of 10. When she was 13 she applied to the Civil Aeronautics Board for an age waiver to fly solo to obtain her pilot's license. Even though the board acknowledged that "she flies better than many a man much older than she," her request was rejected for two reasons: the minimum age to solo and become a certified pilot was 16 and the board pleaded 'self defense' in that they would be "swamped with an army of youngsters as ever stormed a movie star for autographs." Pat did go on to execute her solo flight and become certified on her 16th birthday, but only after taking her driving test and getting a 100% on an algebra test that morning. With that accomplishment she became the youngest female in Alabama to become certified as a pilot.
After graduating from high school, Pat enrolled in Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri where she obtained an Associate of Arts degree in 1954. She began working at Johnson Stephens Shinkle Shoe Company in St. Louis. While working there, she became one of only seven people invited to join, and the youngest member of, the Shoe Fashion Board. It was also in St. Louis where she met her neighbor across the street and future husband, Richard Goldman. They married and had a son, Richard. In the meantime, Pat started working as an account executive in the advertising industry. Between 1960 and 1969, Pat worked for three ad agencies: Ridgeway, Hirsch and French, John M. Simmons Associates and D'Arcy Advertising Company, all in St. Louis.
Pat and Richard divorced in 1965. A few years later, wanting to give her son a fresh start and a better life, Pat applied for a transfer to D'Arcy-McManus and Masius Ad Agency in Birmingham, Michigan. After working out the details, she and 8-year-old Rich made the move to Michigan. Her tenure at D'Arcy was wide, varied and one of many firsts. Her accounts included Hush Puppies and Wolverine World Wide shoes and boots. She bragged in a write-up reviewing her life that she was a proud mom of Rich and his accomplishments outnumbered hers, even though hers outnumbered her young son's. While at D'Arcy she was nominated to become Detroit's 1974 Ad Woman of the Year. She did not 'win' the title, but she accomplished so much more. She became the first female Account Executive ever, and the first, and only, woman to be promoted to Account Supervisor, to be named New Business Group Head, to be given responsibility for New Business contact and development work and to be invited to speak at the annual meeting of the Stockholders of the Sunday Metro Newspaper Group.
Pat eventually left D'Arcy, to work for national real estate developer, Alfred Taubman. She opened malls across the United States, working closely with Mr. Taubman and becoming a valuable member of his team. Pat eventually left the company and moved to Chicago to pursue her lifelong dream of forming her own company, The Wheelless Group, a marketing and recruiting company.
Although impressive, Pat's accomplishments were not limited to the business world. She was a philanthropist at heart. While in St. Louis she was the co-founder and director of the Diane White Girls' Club, an organization that aided inner-city teenage girls and helped them improve their self-worth. She also sat on the boards of the Michigan Heart Association of Oakland County, where she served as the head of Public Relations and Public Education Committees, and other local and national boards.
When she was in her mid-fifties, long after son Rich had left home and started his family, Pat met Herb Paschen. Herb called, having mistaken her for another Pat Goldman he was trying to reach on advice from a friend. The mix-up in phone numbers turned out to be quite fortuitous, as the two struck up a conversation and, well, love just took over. Herb, an accomplished amateur chef, and Pat, not a chef at all, lived happily in Chicago until Herb retired, when they moved to Aijicic, Mexico to live out their golden years. After Herb passed, Pat moved to Sturgis to be closer to Rich and his family. She settled into The Villa at Thurston Woods Village where she enjoyed the companionship of the other residents and visits from her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Pat once described herself as happy, healthy and hardworking. It would not be a stretch to say she took in everyone she met and treated them like family. She never forgot a name. She found the value in everyone and considered them her equal. Being a good Southern girl, she loved her Coca Cola, at one time drinking up to 12 Cokes a day. Before visiting, her grandchildren would stop and get her a frozen Coke, a favorite, and expected, treat. She loved handing out orange and green packets of Tic Tacs and would share a cinnamon Altoid with anyone who asked, especially the kids. She saved her spare change and would divide it among the grandchildren whenever she got the chance. She loved her family with every fiber of her being and never hesitated to let them know.
Pat will be forever missed by her son, Richard, and grandchildren Haley (Norberto) Briones, Rachael (Ora) Boothe, Cierra (Seth) Pierucki, Morgan (Jacob) Webb, Paige (Dakota) Laferty, Richard (Alexandra) Goldman, Jr. and Jacqui (Greg) Griffin, and great-grandchildren Aiden and Rosalee Pierucki, Andreas, Octavio and Luis (Manny) Briones, Riley, Jade and Luke Boothe, Emma Webb, Audrey Griffin and Kharter and Kylee Laferty. Pat will be remembered for her kindness, her ambition and drive, her generosity and her love of life, all traits she has shared and passed on to those who loved her.
In accordance with her wishes cremation has taken place. Private graveside service and burial of the ashes will take place at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago at a later date.
The Hackman Family Funeral Homes, 114 S. Nottawa St., Sturgis, MI 49091, 269-651-2331 is entrusted with the arrangements.
The family suggests those wishing to make a memorial donation in Mrs. Paschen's memory consider the Breast Cancer Fund, c/o: St. Joseph County United Way, P.O. Box 77, Centreville, MI 49032.
The obituary is also at www.hackmanfamilyfuneralhomes.com
where we encourage relatives and friends to share memories and leave condolences for the family.