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Patricia Jane Patton Lawhon

1924 - 2020
Patricia Jane Patton Lawhon Obituary

Patricia Jane Patton Lawhon, 96, formerly of Scranton, Pa., died Aug. 1, 2020, in Corpus Christi, Texas, in the presence of her family. Born Jan. 10, 1924, in Edgewood, Md., she was the daughter of the late Jack and Elizabeth Patton. Patricia was preceded in death by her husband of 72 years, Col. Zim E. Lawhon (Ret. USA).

Patricia grew up in Bel Air, Md., and often reminisced about childhood days, catching soft-shell crabs along the Bush River. She earned a bachelor's degree in 1944 from the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina. After her youngest child started grade school, Patricia returned to academia where she earned a Master of Arts from the University of Scranton in 1976. She then taught composition and interdisciplinary courses at the University of Scranton for more than 30 years.

In 1944, as a recent college graduate, Patricia returned to Bel Air, teaching high school and coaching baseball. (The team was desperate: most of the men had gone to war.) That's when she met Zim, who was stationed nearby. He famously loaned his car to Patricia's date one night and stuck around to make sure his car was okay. The marriage of these young, devout Catholics launched their extraordinary lives of good works and good will. Patricia and Zim had 13 children. She also opened her heart to many other young people, including international students, who loved her in return and crowded into the Lawhon home. She packed up and resettled her large family through 15 Army moves, including a four-year stint in Germany in the 1950s.

Having majored in art history in college, Patricia expressed herself artistically through painting, sewing, refinishing furniture, reading and writing fiction. No project was ever too daunting for her. At Salvation Army, she often spotted pieces of furniture, hidden beneath layers of paint, which she would transform into beautiful antiques. She would design and sew original clothing, including Halloween costumes, for her children. Above all, she was in love with literature and instilled this love in her children, reciting a wide range of poetry from memory to suit any occasion. In fact, she loved the novel Gone with the Wind so much she wrote a prequel, Ellen Robillard O'Hara.

Patricia loved the Scranton community. She served on the boards of the Architectural Heritage Association and the Women's Resource Center. She was also dedicated to corporal works of mercy: visiting the sick at Mercy Hospital's Inpatient Hospice Unit and delivering meals with her husband Zim for Meals on Wheels.

Patricia was larger than life in everything she did and will be profoundly missed by her children: Elizabeth Torresson, of Corpus Christi, Texas; Jane Lawhon and Suzanne Shanbaum, of Sebastopol, Calif.; Zim Lawhon, of Carbondale, Pa.; Jack and Ninh Lawhon, of San Francisco, Calif.; gretchen Lawhon and Robert Liptock, of Havertown, Pa.; Bridget Lawhon, of San Pablo, Calif.; Martha Lawhon, of Corpus Christi, Texas; Mary Lawhon Triano and Paul Triano, of Scranton, Pa.; Patricia Lawhon, of Corpus Christi, Texas; Kate Lawhon and Bunny LaDouceur, of Frederick, Md.; Rachel Lawhon Powers and Ed Powers, of South Portland, Maine; Rebecca Lawhon and Leticia Chapa, of Corpus Christi, Texas; and Jim Lawhon and Meg Wynne, of Mamaroneck, N.Y. She will be remembered as "Memo" and missed by her 19 grandchildren: Thomas Torresson, Elizabeth Leon, Erin Lawhon Kania, Sarah Lawhon Carvellas, Zim Eric Lawhon, Kevin Lawhon, Andrew Lawhon, Nicholas Lawhon, Daniel Lawhon Liptock, Ben Lawhon Liptock, Erica Samuel, Rebecca Triano, Sarah Triano, Martha Triano Lowry, Kevin Powers, Patrick Powers, Sam Lawhon, Matt Lawhon and Katie Lawhon; and a growing number (30) of great-grandchildren, as well as nieces and nephews, and friends.

A funeral Mass will be held in the chapel at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date, when Patricia will be buried with her husband.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Schemel Forum at the University of Scranton.

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