elevated GoWEC MEMORIAL CELEBRATING PAT’S LIFE
elevated GoWEC Patricia Mary Jacob (nee Collins), beloved by her husband Wolfgang, her two children, Monica and Andrew (late), and all her family and friends, died peacefully in Toronto, Canada, on December 28th. Although her death is a sorrowful occasion, we would rather celebrate here the extraordinary life of an accomplished Shakespearean actress (her desire as a teenager), artist (see her brilliant cartoon attached), and a “hoot” (to use the colloquial term for an eccentric with a wicked sense of humor).
elevated GoWEC We are descended from Irish stock so the idea of a “wake” as a celebration of a life well lived, is normal to us. Pat was the first child of Sadie and Arthur and was born in September 1935. The other siblings are living in England, Australia, and California.
elevated GoWEC When questioned about her wartime experiences in Sunbury-on-Thames, Pat recounted stories about the trips from the house, down the garden to the air-raid shelter. The sirens would sound when the German rocket-powered V1 “doodlebugs”, or later V2 rockets, were heading towards Sunbury. Some of these overshot their London targets and landed in the Sunbury/Feltham area. One “doodlebug” engine cut out immediately over the house, followed by the destruction of a house in the area west towards Heathrow.
elevated GoWEC Independent, with a sense of mischievous fun, Pat was the central figure in many an adventure that she used to enjoy recounting to her children. Deciding that she wanted a break from going to school every day, Pat came up with an ingenious plan to plant some dead fish in the ductwork in her school, St. Theresa’s Convent. She waited patiently for several days for the fish to rot and send noxious fumes into the school through the heating system. Unfortunately, her plan did not materialize, and all was soon forgotten. A few months later, her father (heavily involved with the school’s maintenance) came home one night complaining of finding some dried up, very smelly fish in the ductwork and was wondering how it could have gotten there.
elevated GoWEC Another time, just for fun, Pat let off some fireworks in her classroom between classes. Needless to say, it must have been very exciting, and resulted in a trip to the headmistress, a nun at the Convent.
elevated GoWEC Pat was a teenager when she dressed up as a gypsy, “borrowed” her mothers’ clothes pegs and a basket, and sold all of them to neighbors in Rooksmead Road, Sunbury-on-Thames. Needless to say, our mother found out about this and made Pat return all the money to each neighbor and retrieve the wooden clothes pegs. Ironically in those days, the wooden clothes pegs were made by hand by gypsies and sold door to door.
elevated GoWEC To hone her acting skills, Pat played various Shakespearean characters in plays put on at St. Theresa’s Convent, Sunbury-on-Thames. She always talked about these times with great enthusiasm.
elevated GoWEC A further glimpse at Pat’s life happened when she attended St. Paul’s College in Rugby in the Midlands of England. Letters received from Pat included a number of hilarious cartoons of nuns. The following photo clearly shows Pat’s perception of life in a nunnery, and her growing interest in an artistic life. She greatly enjoyed her life there, learning to be a good teacher, and making a life-long friend, Mary.
elevated GoWEC Pat emigrated to Canada in 1963, and a few years later, married her devoted husband Wolfgang, who had moved to Canada from Germany. Wolfgang also had a wicked sense of humor and liked to encourage “lively” conversations with Arthur, a confirmed Churchillian and very set in his ways, about the war. Enough said, but all was forgiven, especially when Monica and Andrew were born in Canada. Pat and Wolfgang always encouraged their children to pursue their strengths.
elevated GoWEC Monica later became an accomplished epee member of the Canadian fencing team, and emigrated to the United States in 2007. There she married Travis Exum, a Boeing engineer working in Seattle, and an epee champion in his own right. Their daughter, Lexie, has inherited the best aspects of her parents, and the humor and independence of her grandmother, and has emerged as a wonderful product of their marriage.
elevated GoWEC Andrew Jacob, the youngest of Pats’ children, was born in 1969 and was a musician, travelling the world playing music, including a period in Southern Ireland. He died in 2008 in England and is buried by his father in Toronto. Pat will also be buried in the family plot in Toronto.
elevated GoWEC Pat was a devout Catholic her entire life. The Pandemic robbed her of the experience of attending Mass, but she always showed a positive attitude to her life without complaint, even when sequestered in her home in Toronto.
elevated GoWEC Pat was an accomplished artist and sold many paintings in Toronto through a studio. She inherited this artistic flair from her mother, Sadie. Sadie Collins produced some wonderful oil paintings under the tutelage of Sir Alfred Munnings, and family members have his original letters to her. One of Sadie Collins’ paintings was accepted by the Tate Gallery for inclusion in an Exhibition. Her father, Arthur, was also artistic and sent several accomplished sketches in his letters to his children during the war, when he served overseas with the Royal Engineers.
elevated GoWEC Besides her artistic endeavors, Pat enjoyed a good book, especially an English detective novel. She was fascinated by history, and enjoyed visiting famous historical sites during her travels. Saturday mornings would find her busily deciphering the clues of her cryptic crosswords. Watching the “telly” became an event whenever she visited with her daughter. They would have a glass of wine, some tasty treats and would watch “Ghost Hunters” (as long as it wasn’t too scary), or their favorite Jane Austen production. She loved to get into the garden to coax along the beautiful flowers that she planted. Her treat was “fish and chips” and, of course, several cups of tea a day!
elevated GoWEC Pat is survived by her daughter Monica, son-in-law Travis, granddaughter Lexie, plus her sister Sue, brothers John and Andrew, cousin Richard, and several nieces and nephews. Unfortunately, the extended family will be unable to attend the funeral due to restrictions on non-immediate-family attendance. They will get to watch the funeral on live streaming and have a glass of Irish Whiskey in her honor.
elevated GoWEC Pat will be sorely missed. Rest in peace.