Patricia Anne Flatley Simmons departed this life on Tuesday, April 25, 2023. Patricia was born July 23, 1938, in Erie, PA, to Thomas and Dorothy Flatley. She was preceded in death by her husband, Gerald Simmons; sisters, Mary Sherosky and Elizabeth Flatley, and brothers, Thomas and Mick. Patricia is survived by her daughter, Maureen Simmons; son-in-law, Robert Mills; daughter, Kathleen Wright; son-in-law, Steve Wright; son, Gerald Simmons; daughter-in-law, Dianne Simmons; daughter, Jessica Simmons; son-in-law, Aaron Anderson; grandchildren, Megan Arellano, Jamey Estrada, Julia Estrada, Kathryn Simmons, Jesse Wright, Amanda Simmons, and Jacob Simmons; great- grandchildren, Joshua Archuleta, Eric Turner and Aubrey Tipton; her sisters-in-law, Patricia Flatley and Nancy Flatley, many nieces, nephews and close friends.
Patricia met Gerald "Jerry" Simmons, her future husband, in 1960 in Erie, PA. They fell in love, married in 1961, and had four children, Maureen, Kathleen, Gerald, and Jessica. Patricia was a dedicated, generous, kind, and loving parent. She was active in her community and the causes she believed in. She was an early supporter of the La Leche League, fought for women's equality, and led many nonprofit fundraisers for her children's schools.
In 1972, the family moved from Erie to Corrales, New Mexico. Patricia graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Albuquerque with a bachelor's degree in University Studies with an emphasis on Classical Literature and History. She was proud to successfully audit many classes and graduated Summa Cum Laude. She was a member of the Delta Epsilon Sigma Honor Society and invited to join Mensa International, an honor reserved for the brightest among us.
In her professional and personal life, Patricia built community wherever she went. She was inclusive and easily made deep friendships. She enjoyed international travel to Japan and Ireland. Her intelligence, sense of humor, wit and sincere care for people delighted everyone she knew.
Patricia's professional work was a display of her commitment to improving people's lives, especially those most vulnerable. She was the Juvenile Justice Coordinator for the New Mexico Council on Crime and Delinquency. Later, at the request of Alice King, Governor King's wife, Patricia served as the Coordinator of New Mexico for the White House Conference on Children and Youth. She served as the Deputy Director/State Director for the New Mexico Youth Work Alliance, served as the Executive Director of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Central New Mexico, was the first Co-Director of the Center for Action and Contemplation (Franciscan renewal center) working alongside Father Richard Rohr. She was also caregiver and advocate for her close friend, Helen Renwick as she bravely navigated ALS. Patricia also served as Executive Director and Resource Manager for Friends in Time, a nonprofit dedicated to serving persons with ALS and MS. She was Executive Director for Health Action New Mexico and Development Director for the New Mexico Wildlife Association.
Patricia received many honors, awards and writing grants in her lifetime, including the Simon Scanlon Writing Award, a Franciscan Fund writing grant, a Thanks be to Grandma Winifred Foundation writing grant, and scholarship to attend a Writers Workshop in Taos. She was also a member of the Governor's Task Force on Sex Crimes, received the Outstanding Services Award from the New Mexico Council on Crime and Delinquency and was the recipient and Governors Award for Outstanding New Mexico Women and a published author.
Patricia's community activities included working with the Franciscan Peace and Justice Group, serving as an advocate for Persons Living with Disabilities, reviewing cases as advocate for abused and neglected children. Patricia was a Sister of St. Francis, Rochester, MN Cojourner sharing their prayer ministries and justice activities in the spirit of Francis and Clare of Assisi. She was dedicated to her spirituality and spent time on spiritual retreats in Scottsdale and Big Sur.
Patricia's natural sense of humor and quick wit was shared with everyone she met, and this endeared her to many and helped foster community wherever she was. Although she faced health challenges in her final year, she did so bravely and with humor. In her final weeks she was surrounded by her family and friends and passed peacefully on April 25, 2023. She will be deeply missed by all those who knew her.
A Celebration of Patricia's Life will be held on Saturday, June 10, 2023, at 2:00 p.m., at the First Unitarian Church, 3701 Carlisle Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM.
In lieu of flowers the family encourages contributions in Patricia's memory be made to the Parkinson and Movement Disorder Alliance (www.pmdalliance.org/give) or the New Mexico Chapter of ALS (www.als.org/new-mexico.org )
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
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