In Pat’s words, “Holy sh ** !! I can’t believe it’s over. I still had a lot of things I wanted to do in this life… well, next life. First, no long tired faces, lamentations or sad songs. My life was great. The ups and downs are what make us who we are. Now we just have to remember the good things … “
If you’re reading this, you know she’s now with the King of Rock, Elvis Presley.
Patricia Anne Martin (Pat, Mom, Grams, Nana, Patty Anne) was born on November 28, 1945 in Omaha, Neb. At the time, she didn’t know how lucky she was to be a prairie girl. She moved around a lot during her childhood, 22 times in fact, she attended school in Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming.
When she was 6, her life changed for the better – her sister, Vona Jean, was born. While they had their differences, with Vona stable as a beacon and Pat removing the glasses she despised to fight off the bully boys in the alley, they had a wonderful relationship and were very close. At the age of 15, Pat moved to the Nebraska State Game Preserve in Banner County. It was there that she helped with elk, bison, horse breaking and training, and participating in high school rodeos. In high school, she was a cheerleader, class officer, and “Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow” – she always had a good laugh with that one. She graduated from Banner County High School in 1964 and after graduation she and her family moved to the Pacific Northwest.
Pat began her college education by attending Everett Junior College, and in 1965 she moved to Lewiston to attend Lewis-Clark State College. Whether it was the loving influence of many childhood teachers or the 72-mile-a-day school bus trip while living on the reservation, Pat knew she wanted to dedicate her career to the education since the age of about 9.
In college, Pat married Butch Aiken and had Jeff and Jill. The marriage ended in divorce. Shortly after college, she began her teaching career in 1976 in Richfield, Idaho, teaching fourth grade and coaching high school girls’ basketball.
In 1977 Pat returned to the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley and married Ben Martin. In 1978, she began teaching at Culdesac as a fifth and sixth grade teacher and high school basketball coach. Then in 1980, back at the LCSC, Pat worked for a few years as an assistant director of athletics as well as an assistant coach of women’s basketball. During this time, Ben had the opportunity to go to work in Alaska. It turned out to be a life changing decision.
Pat was hired by the Lower Kuskokwin School District to teach high school English and social studies in an Eskimo Yupik village that she couldn’t pronounce let alone spell. She knew it was located somewhere on the Bering Sea and that they had five days to get there… let the adventure begin. And what an adventure it was. Pat taught in two native villages, Nunapitchuk and Kongiganak, and even coached the boys in basketball. Pat graduated from high school in Bethel, Alaska. Pat had many stories from his time in Alaska. From traveling through the tundra with the boys on snowmobiles to basketball games, traveling by helicopter when the weather did not allow other transportation and school canceled when temperatures hit 70 in below zero. Life on the tundra was tough, but the people were amazing and she made lifelong friends and memories. She recently completed her book on her stay in Alaska and was delighted to publish it.
Pat considered that she had had wonderful opportunities in her teaching career, both professionally and personally. She was among the top 10 finalists for the National Social Science Teacher of the Year Award in 1994, was honored as Alaska Elementary Social Science Teacher of the Year and, in 1996, received one of his two Fulbright scholarships. She traveled with teachers in London, Israel, Egypt and Japan, and went with her daughter Jill to Paris and London in 1998. She spent time with the Lower Kuskokwim School District office as a specialist in social studies programs and worked for National Geographic for five years. as a consultant teacher in the non-fiction department, traveling the country to organize workshops. Pat recounted his experiences without ever bragging or bragging, but to point out the incredible adventures that awaited him through the power of education and the acceptance of life and its differences. She believed the trip was the best teacher.
In 2000, Pat and Ben took early retirement and returned full time to the Pacific Northwest. Until then, they had followed their own rule of taking separate bush planes when traveling in case one had to “get off.” Aging parents and growing grandchildren brought them home, and his retirement years were spent with Ben, trying to keep up with their 12 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. She was a big fan of sports, but an even bigger fan of her grandchildren. She rarely missed an event or game and was always their No.1 fan. Part of her greatest joy came from helping raise her grandchildren, and it goes without saying that she, too, was their favorite.
Pat enjoyed quilting, making many community service quilts, including those for Quilts of Valor. The quilt has allowed her to form lifelong friendships, and her granddaughter, Bailie, has blackmail stories of her days with “Bobbin Babes” at Quilt Camp. Pat also loved everything related to sports. She enjoyed watching Gonzaga Basketball, the NAIA World Series, the Little League World Series as well as the Women’s College Softball World Series. She religiously followed the Seattle Mariners and could always be found with her little purple radio no matter what sporting event she was already attending.
Pat and Ben have created a fun gathering place. Whether it was at Coeur d’Alene Lake for so many summers, or at their Second Street home in Asotin, where they lived for nearly 30 years. We could always count on cookies and gravy or hot toddlers, depending on which parade we were watching. Their home will always be remembered for the Elvis-obsessed bathroom, the Jacuzzi tub, the cookie jar always filled with Oreos, the once-purple rug, various wall hangings and hand-made decorations, the most steep leading to the sewing room with enough fabric to outlast us all, and the bridge where so many fair weekends have been spent.
Grandma Pat was one of a kind. When her grandchildren were young, she wore a shirt that said, “Don’t make me open a tin can. Enough said. She will be remembered for her humor, kindness, strong will, adventurous stories, quick wit and ability to tell you what it is like. Many will agree that she is one of their all-time favorite people.
Unfortunately, on Saturday September 25, 2021, Grandma Pat’s can was not big enough. She passed away peacefully at Tri-State Memorial Hospital in Clarkston. We are reassured to know that she was able to spend her last days close to home and with her family nearby.
Pat said she had very few regrets in her life and had tried to face them and fix them. She said regrets can make a person who they are. She always had a to-do list, but sadly, time passed before she could accomplish everything on her to-do list. Over the past few years, she had to overcome many complications from failing health, but believed that every day was a gift and she tried to adjust to her days as much as possible.
It doesn’t seem fair that she is no longer “going around” her sewing room until the early hours of the morning or that she is standing in the kitchen in one of her housecoats when you are doing it. go through the back door. She will be missed so much by so many people. She was a woman admired and admired. It’s impossible to describe in words the influence she had not only for her students, but also for her family and friends, and how grateful we are for her love and all the good times. Lucky for us, we have countless memories to keep in his absence. The love of sports, school activities, education and adventure will live on in all of her children. It won’t be easy, but she always told us not to be sad and to take her to sea when the time comes, bringing the Elvis up like we did.
Pat leaves behind adoring family and friends, a wedding most people admire, a fabric “stash” that Grandpa doesn’t even know about yet, wild Alaskan stories, and around 57 pairs. from Birkenstocks.
“I didn’t give you the gift of life. Life gave me the gift of you. I can’t promise to be here for the rest of your life, but I can promise to love you for the rest of mine.
Pat is survived by her husband of 44 years, Ben Martin; daughter, Jill (Ron) Schaefer; sons, Todd Martin and Darren Beach; and daughter-in-law Rachel Jameton; grandchildren Ty (Jasmine) Aiken, Kelsey (Austin) Durfee, Bailie Copeland (Keeton Benedict), Keith Copeland, Cole Copeland (Savannah Wright) and Leah Copeland. Halle, Trace, Hannah and Buck Aiken. Nick Zimmerman and Dustin (Hailee) Chabrier. Pat is also survived by six great-granddaughters and two great-grandsons; sister Vona (Don) Litchfield and nephew Neil and family.
Pat was predeceased by her parents, Keith and Helen Campbell, her son Jeff Aiken, her son Kelly Martin and her nephew Kirk Litchfield.
As Pat didn’t want to have a funeral service, but wanted everyone to write something down on paper to put in a book for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, a celebration of life will take place later. We can’t wait to hear those stories then. Commemorations and donations can be sent on Pat’s behalf to the Backpack for Kids program, as it was something Pat did herself and was very important to her.