Patricia Moorten
Patricia Moorten Patricia Haliday Moorten, 90, of Palm Springs, Calif. died July 7, 2010 at Moorten Botanical Gardens of natural causes after a prolonged illness. She was born January 11, 1920 to Walter Pagan and Henrietta Jones in Lakewood, Ohio. She married Chester "Cactus Slim" Moorten in 1940 in Los Angeles. From the moment Patricia Moorten came to Palm Springs she fell in love with the village and the flora and fauna of the desert that surrounded it. In a time when few women became activists, Patricia was a pioneer figure, avidly promoting the city and its growth. As a student at USC she studied botany giving her a strong background for spreading her passion for desert plants in a time when California had not yet become conscious of the value of its native species. Together with her husband Cactus Slim Moorten, she began landscaping desert gardens at the homes of such famous residents as Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Van Heusen and Walt Disney as well as the grounds of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Her book entitled Desert Plants for Desert Gardens was selected as the official guide for NATO's secret tour of the Coachella Valley. In the mid 1950's she purchased the property on South Palm Canyon and began the life long effort to build a garden to display the world's desert adapted species. It would become Moorten Botanical Garden, an important landmark filled with monumental specimens owned and managed today by her son, Clark. Patricia was very active in pioneering civic organizations, and her leadership was evident in many of the city's earliest groups and offices. She was co-founder and board member of the Desert Museum, Palm Springs Historical Society, Palm Springs Women's Press Club and past president of the National League of American Pen Women. She spent a time as Palm Springs Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, Ambassador of the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce, and brought the PTA to Palm Springs School District. She received the Athena Award as Business Woman of the Year and was given the national "Phoenix" Award for Conservation and Education. Patricia was preceded in death by her husband, Chester Moorten; and survived by her son, Clark Moorten and his wife Carolyn Moorten of Palm Springs; as well as four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, family suggests contributions to Angel View and the Parkinson's Disease Foundation. A celebration of life will be announced at a later date.
Published by The Desert Sun from Jul. 16 to Jul. 21, 2010.
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10 Entries
My condolences to the Moorten family. I had the luck and the pleasure of working for Pat and Chester, a.k.a. "Cactus Slim," when I first moved to Palm Springs in 1971. I got to know them both very well. I will always remember them fondly as two of the most unique individuals I have ever had the pleasure to know. Through them both I got to know each of the many desert plants in their Moorten Botanical Garden as well as the local flora throughout the valley.
Jim Rothblatt
July 31, 2010
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
janel thompson
July 23, 2010
Dear Clark & Carolyn,
your mother's love, and life, will live on... a precious gift to all who will forever be touched by the living spirit of her work.
Tony Berardi
July 22, 2010
Mrs. Moorten was one of Palm Springs' treasures. She will be missed by all. My condolences to Clark and his family.
Janet Cook
July 20, 2010
Mrs. Mooten was a true lady who loved the desert. Spending time talking with her in the garden was a delight! My sister, Julie, introduced her to me on one of my first desert visits. I will never forget that marvelous experience.
Linda See Mirosavich, Columbia, SC
July 18, 2010
We were married at the Botanical Gardens 2/23/85, it was the perfect setting.Many of our family came from the midwest and were so impressed with the grounds. Patricia helped us out so much with the preparations. I will never forget her and that special day. She was such an asset to the community. She will be missed.
Cheryl & Darryl Blair
July 18, 2010
Clark, as Block Cpt of Crestview Drive, I'd like to express my personal & the Mesa community's sorrow & regret for the loss of your mom @ 90 yrs old! She had a wonderful life & was a true pioneer of not only th Mesa but of Palm Springs & its many cultural landmarks which we enjoy today. Please accept our condolences & hope you celebrate her life with friends & family and remember all the joy & great memories she brought into this world....we look forward to seeing you more often at your Botanical Gardens.

Tom Donahue (Palm Springs)
Tom Donahue
July 16, 2010
Dear Clark & Carolyn

We love you and we loved your mother. She was a very unique and special friend.
We feel very blessed to have known her and appericate her many contributions to make Palm Springs a better place to live.
God bless you,

Virginia Pietila & Bob Moore


Virginia Pietila
July 16, 2010
I remember preparing for my "final" wedding at the Garden, with assistance from Pat; she was a wonderful, bright woman. Clark and family, I am so sorry for your loss.
Beth Cleary
July 16, 2010
Mrs Moorten was a true icon in the Palm Springs community. A woman way ahead of her time in her in understanding of the desert. I remember how she helped me pick the perfect plants to create a beautiful desert landscape for my home and all the times for many years thereafter she helped me add to my cactus collection. She showed me the beauty of the desert and there was more to it than thorny cactus and sand. I will always remember her for her charm and grace and how she shared her love of the desert with me.
David Pappas
July 16, 2010
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