Patricia M. Rogalin
1949 - 2020
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Patricia M. Rogalin

Born: November 24, 1949

Died: November 13, 2020

Patricia (Patty) Mell Rogalin, of Sycamore, died of cancer peacefully in her home with her daughters at her side. She was 70.

Patty was born on November 24, 1949 in Chicago, IL to her parents Joan (Koupeny) and Clifford Mell. Her family moved to Berkeley, IL when she was nine years old. After high school, Patty moved to DeKalb to attend Northern Illinois University as an education major and completed her BA and MA degrees. She taught in Malta for the first few years of her career before accepting a position at the Sycamore Middle School where she taught both special and regular education. She loved teaching middle school students - Patty was one of those special teachers who relished the challenges and absurdities of 6th graders. She retired in 2005 after over 30 years of teaching.

While living in DeKalb, Patty met her beloved husband, John, and they married on December 12, 1975. The same year, Patty and John moved to rural Sycamore where they lived together for 43 years until his death in February 2018. To say that Patty and John were happily married would be an understatement - they were devoted to each other and created a very long, happy life together.

Patty was passionate about people; she had a tremendous amount of energy for getting friends together. Patty was a member of a feminist political group (WP3), several raucous book clubs, Friday afternoons at Rosita's in DeKalb, weekly teacher coffee mornings in Sycamore, and over the years supported fundraising efforts for many Illinois Democrats, including most recently Representative Lauren Underwood and years ago, a junior senator named Barack Obama. She was also a patient and tireless organizer of family reunions, Thanksgiving dinners, and she and John hosted a poetry party each Winter Solstice.

Patty was also a member of Alpha Chapter, Delta Kappa Gamma Society, for more than 35 years and served as chapter president as well as other leadership roles. She was a tireless advocate for teachers and education for all.

Patty was an avid student of life. She loved learning new things, reading, became a trained weather spotter, practiced yoga, learned to make sourdough, exuded enthusiasm and kindness to everyone who met her. In her 60s, Patty began singing with her beautiful alto soprano voice in a band with a couple of close friends. The trio sang at gatherings of friends and family and at least once a year at nursing homes in the Sycamore area. She loved music and singing of all kinds.

Over the years, Patty traveled extensively with John. In addition to annual vacations to the Outer Banks, NC and to visit family in Connecticut, they went with friends several times to enjoy the food, wine, and scenery of Italy, France, and England. After her retirement, Patty and John enjoyed longer trips - they went for a number of years together to St. John, USVI and the Florida Panhandle to escape part of the Illinois winters. They liked nothing better than traveling to visit with friends and family across the country in Philadelphia, PA, Door County, WI, Las Vegas, NV, and San Antonio, TX.

Patty loved being outside and gardening, especially with native plants. She had over an acre of prairie planted at their home in Sycamore and was active in many local nature conservation efforts including Jeff's Trees.

But Patty's greatest delight was her family - her daughters and grandsons lit up her life with so much love, fun, and adventure. When Patty was being Mom or Nana, she was in heaven.

Patty is survived by her two daughters, Christabel (Brad) and Cynthia (Hugh); two grandsons, Devon and Fred; brother, Kenneth; many nieces and nephews, along with a loving community of lifelong friends and a large extended family to whom she was beloved.

She is preceded in death by her husband John, her sister Pamela, and her parents.

A public gathering will be announced in Spring 2021. Patty's life will be celebrated at a private
family celebration in the future when it is safe to gather, sing, dance, hug, and read poetry in larger groups.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the McHenry County College Education to Empowerment Scholarship Fund or to the DeKalb County Forest Preserve to create a permanent memorial in Patty's honor.

Olson Funeral and Cremation Services is following Illinois' Phase 2 guidelines limiting attendance to 10 people, masks required while in building, following social distancing guidelines. We appreciate your understanding that these limitations are to protect our client families and our community.

For more information or to leave a message of condolence visit or call 815-895-6589

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Daily Chronicle on Nov. 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 Olson Funeral and Cremation Service, Quiram Kirkland Chapel
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4 entries
November 23, 2020
I became friends with Patty late in her life because we both sang in the same band of musician/friends. The better I got to know her the more I felt cheated from not having known her sooner. Though she possessed many talents, what stood out for me was a uniquely genuine concern for others...a perfect quality for a teacher and a great friend. Sadly, the world has truly lost a good, good person with her passing. I feel lucky to have known her for the years that I did.
Julia Fauci
November 23, 2020
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Dwight Varner
November 21, 2020
What a beautiful tribute. Christabel, your mom sounds like an amazing person and someone I would want to be friends with. I'm so sorry to hear of her passing. Thinking of you and your family and all who loved her.
Kate Sweeney
November 19, 2020
Patty was one of the most kind, compassionate, and interesting women I ever had the pleasure of knowing. She took this young, inexperienced teacher under her wing and taught me so much about how to work more effectively with children who have unique abilities and needs. She and John welcomed me into their home on occasion and allowed me a glimpse into their purposeful lives. Work opportunities took me away from Sycamore, but I never forgot Patty's kindness and the path she helped set me on as a young teacher.
Patty O'Neil
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