Patricia Gertrude Anne was welcomed into this world by her proud parents, Wilbur Edward and Josephine Carolyn (Benninger) Eby on Thursday, November 14, 1940. She was born in Chesley, where the family resided at the time, and joined older sister Joan (1937). Sadly, Wilbur and Josephine lost two sons, Robert, and Richard, between the girls, but went on to have two younger sons, Tom (1945) and Mike (1955). Wilbur worked for Knechtel Furniture in Hanover, so the family soon relocated to Hanover, where the children attended Holy Family School. Years later, they returned to Chesley where Pat completed her high school education at Chesley District High School. It was also during this time period that Pat first experienced Sauble Beach. It definitely left a lasting impression, but more on that later!
Following high school Pat began working as a nurse’s assistant (a.k.a. candy striper) at the Chesley Hospital. In 1960, Pat welcomed daughter, Cathy, with Kim (1961) and Michele (1962) following in short order. Three daughters in 21 months… can we say Pat was a little busy. The family later moved to the Kitchener area in the mid 1960’s where Pat worked for General Motors, once the girls were a little older. Her family was made complete with the arrival of David in 1968. The 1960’s were extremely difficult years for Pat, and she escaped her marriage and returned to Hanover with the children in 1969. She and the kids moved in with her parents where she spent the better part of the next two years getting back on her feet. As a single mother of four, things were not easy, and Pat also had to work to support her family. She began at the Movie Theatre in Hanover, working part-time, and the kids loved it, as they got to watch all the movies for free! 😉 Waitressing at Norm’s and Chow’s part-time followed as Pat always tried to work around the kids and their schedules.
Life forever changed – for the better, I might add, for Pat, and her family in 1978, when she reconnected with a man, she had known much of her life. His name was Douglas Roger Joseph Mercey. Their paths crossed yet again at the Union Hall in Hanover and in time they began dating. Doug quickly welcomed Pat and her four young children into his life. He loved them all unconditionally and immediately took on the role of a father figure to the children. On Friday, October 9, 1981, Doug and Pat were wed before the Justice of the Peace in Walkerton. The Mercey family settled into their new life and home together on 13th St. in Hanover. Many great memories were made in that home!
By this time, Pat had begun working in the Sacred Heart High School cafeteria in Walkerton, eventually becoming the manager. As you can understand, everything was made from scratch at the time and Pat, and her team, worked tirelessly to nourish many students through the years. To this day, when paths crossed with former students, they would still refer to her as “the lunch lady.” Pat was very proud in her role and loved all the children and I am told she was best known for her French fries! Pat formally retired in 2000, at the age of 65, after 20 years of service.
Although not much for travelling, Pat and Doug, joined Kim and Dennis on a trip to Las Vegas to celebrate both couples’ 10th anniversary. As a woman who loved Bingo and a little risk, Pat thoroughly enjoyed this experience. Back at home, Pat (and Doug) were often very active curling and bowling. They enjoyed countless bonspiels together, throughout the area, with friends. Pat also loved cards, with Bid Euchre and Solo being favourites. Her passion for cards didn’t end there. When the grandchildren and later great-grandchildren arrived, Pat was adamant that she taught them all how to play Uno and Skip-Bo! It also must be mentioned that Pat absolutely LOVED anything to do with Christmas. She enjoyed Christmas baking (but her family appreciated it more! 😊) and setting up her Christmas nativity village within her home. She was constantly adding to her display, and it provided her grandchildren and great-grandchildren countless hours of enjoyment. She also loved Christmas carols, but more importantly, this holiday brought all her family home, and Pat really treasured this time together. When she was no longer able to participate in sports, she took to watching more of them on television. She was an avid fan of the Blue Jays and Raptors, rarely missing a game, and also enjoyed tennis. Pat was known to enjoy a nice glass of white wine, which could only be topped by a delicious prime rib meal. Although not a big eater, she had a soft spot for desserts, and I am told could stuff her fair share away if needed! 😊 In retirement, Pat and Doug volunteered their time assisting with Meals on Wheels in the Hanover area, always happy to help wherever needed. I am told they made quite the team, Doug the driver and Pat the deliverer, AND social butterfly!
Sauble Beach was definitely Pat’s true paradise. From childhood memories with her parents and siblings to day trips with her children, the memories made at the beach began early and continued for the remainder of her life. This is where she taught all of her children how to swim, and these memorable snapshots were often made complete by enjoying a big box of fries at the end of the day. In later years, she and Doug rented a cottage at Sauble where further memories were made. Sauble Beach was also where her soft spot for miniature golf became apparent. She would spend the entire year saving her loonies, and thus filling a Pringles container. Once at the beach, she would treat everyone, and often multiple times, to a round of mini golf at the famous Putterama. In fact, I am told on more than one occasion she tried to convince the owners to sell it to her… Lol! Needless to say, Pat was at peace when she was at the beach, and this time was only made better by sharing it with her family and friends.
Pat’s faith also played an important role throughout her life. She was a proud and lifelong member of Holy Family Parish in Hanover. The church was always a safe and comforting place for Pat and provided her with much support and guidance through the challenging times in her life. In more recent years, she became active with the C.W.L. and treasured the time socializing and building relationships within this setting. In recent years, when physically unable to attend Masses in person, Pat and Doug could be found worshipping together in the comforts of their living room on the television. She was a true disciple of God and her purpose in life never wavered.
In 2015, Pat and Doug downsized, calling 17th Ave. home. They enjoyed making new friends and quietly settled in amongst their neighbours. Together they made the best of every day and enjoyed retirement together. Then the pandemic hit, and everyone’s life was turned upside down. Like most of us, the pandemic brought many challenges, and the isolation was difficult for both of them. Sadly, Doug passed away rather suddenly in October of 2021, and Pat’s world was once again turned upside down. Her mobility and independence were reduced, and Pat’s challenges and health slowly worsened. Although limited physically, her loving, and strong-willed demeanour never waivered and she loved visiting with friends and family alike. In recent months, Pat’s condition has worsened, and she passed away at Hanover & District Hospital on Friday, June 23, 2023, in her 83rd year.
Loving mother of Cathy (Andy) Harron, Kim (Dennis) Wettlaufer, all of Hanover, Michele Cassidy of Owen Sound, and David (Kelly) Mercey of Welland. Cherished grandmother of Brandy (Shane) Lester, Jennifer (Jeff) Green, Todd Cassidy, Derek (Claire) Wettlaufer, Daniel (Jose) Cassidy, Branden Mercey, Jarred Mercey, Rehgyn Mercey, Jakob Harron (Sadie), Sheldon Winter (Dani), as well as the great-grandmother of Tyson, Emerson, Tava, Reid, Jaxx, Emma, and Frank. Pat will be dearly missed by her brothers Tom Eby of Hanover, and Mike (Arlene) Eby of Calgary, and sisters-in-law Joan Dekruyf and Janet Ottman. She was predeceased by her husband Douglas (2021), sister Joan (Jim) Anstett, brothers Robert, and Richard, both in infancy and her parents Wilbur and Josephine (Benninger) Eby.
Visitation will be held at Holy Family Catholic Church, Hanover on Wednesday, June 28, 2023, from 10 a.m. until the time of the Funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Cremation will follow with private, family inurnment in the Hanover Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to Holy Family building fund (please make cheques payable to Holy Family Catholic Church) would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.
Pat’s family would also like to extend a sincere thank you to Dr. Labelle, and all the nurses and staff at the Hanover & District Hospital for their wonderful care and support of both Pat and their family. They would also like to recognize dear family friends Marg and Dave, Melita, and Jean for all their support through the years. Your kindness and generosity will never be forgotten. Thank you!