PATRICIA BEATRICE CROMELLPatricia "Pat" Beatrice Cromell passed away at Garden Court Chateau in Grand Rapids, Minn.
Patricia "Pat" Beatrice Cromell passed away at Garden Court Chateau in Grand Rapids, Minn., on June 29, 2012.
Pat was born in Chatham, Mich., on Aug. 25, 1923, to the late John H. and Verna M. (Bauman) Gatiss.
She grew up on Chocolay Street in Munising, Mich., as one of eight children, four sisters and three brothers, and graduated from Mather High School in Munising in 1941.
After graduation Pat worked briefly as a secretary to the District Timekeeper, WPA, in Marquette, Mich. After Pearl Harbor, she worked the night shift at National Enameling and Stamping Company (NESCO), making 20 millimeter shells for the war effort. On Feb. 24, 1944, Pat enlisted in the Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). She went to boot camp at Hunter College in the Bronx, NY. From boot camp, she trained as a Yeoman at the U.S. Naval Training Station in Stillwater, Okla. After completing training, Pat worked as Chief in Charge of the Personnel Office at Service Schools Command at Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill. She was a Chief Yeoman on active duty until Aug. 30, 1947.
On June 10, 1047, at the First Methodist Church, in Munising, Mich., she married her high school sweetheart, a man she had known for her entire life, William Herbert Cromell. They both wore their dark blue Navy uniforms. Later, they would have three children and when they moved to Itasca County, in Minnesota, both become deeply involved in the life of their community and their church.
Pat worked for Independent School District No. 316 from 1961 to 1985, starting as a volunteer Supervisor for the P.T.A. sponsored school lunch program. She retired in 1985 as District Supervisor of School Food Service for Independent School District No. 316. She also served as LaPrairie City Clerk-Treasurer for 20 years. For years of dedicated service by both Pat and her husband Bill, the City Council named a street "Cromell Drive."
During the years her three children were growing up, Pat participated in and encouraged all of their activities. She was a Vandyke P.T.A. member, a Cub Scout leader, a Midway 4-H Club leader, and a Sunday school teacher. Pat was also a long-time member of the United Methodist Church and over the years held office and participated in many church programs as an active member of the United Methodist Women. Pat and Bill spent quality time with their grandchildren, making sure they learned to love the little lake cabin and taking them on excursions to see the sights of Northern Minnesota - from the International Wolf Center to the Hill Annex Mine State Park.
She loved music and singing and dancing. She could ice skate and roller skate with exquisite grace, and even as the mother of three, could do beautifully complex dives off the high dive at Blandin Beach. She was a member of the Grand Rapids Players, once appearing in Teahouse of the August Moon. She was a Mello-Dee and a Mississippi Timber Clogger, a member of Tapperettes and Sweet Adelines and also sang and danced in Showboat. Later in life Pat served for 10 years as a member of the Grand Rapids Library Board. Well into her 80's, Pat was proud to be a tap dancing instructor at the Itasca County Family YMCA.
She loved gardening. She and Bill grew beautiful roses and other flowers and she was able to furnish many beautiful bouquets for the church and to share with others. She was also an excellent cook and baker. Her family will remember her Sunday and holiday dinners and, of course, her free and happy spirit.
World War II continued to play a part in Bill and Pat's life. Pat was a life member of the American Legion, the WAVES National and the National Chiefs P.O. As a couple, Bill and Pat travelled to many squadron reunions and other national gatherings including the 50 year reunion at Pearl Harbor.
Pat was preceded in death by her husband Bill who passed away April 14, 2012; her parents and her siblings John (Jack) Gatiss, Mary (Sis) Gatiss and Sally Gatiss Ross.
She is survived by her three children, Patricia S. (Mark J.) Piasecki of South Bend, Ind., William J. (Valerie) Cromell of Coleraine, Minn., and Cathy L. Cromell of Phoenix, Ariz; their grandchildren Patricia M. Piasecki of Chicago, Ill., Katherine A. Cromell of Fargo, N.D.; and Skylar D. Jensen of Coleraine, Minn; siblings Robert (Lois) Gatiss of Munising, Mich., Molly Gatiss Stephens of Mapleton, Ga., Donald Gatiss of Munising, Mich., and Suzette Gatiss Bennett of Mason City, Iowa.
JOINT MEMORIAL SERVICE: for Pat and Bill will be held later this summer with burial to take place with full Military honors at Itasca Calvary Cemetery. Memorials may be sent to Friends of the Forest History Center, 2609 County Road 76, Grand Rapids, MN 55744 or to Grand Rapids Area Library, 140 NE 2d Street, Grand Rapids, MN 55744. Arrangements by Peterson Funeral Chapel, Coleraine, MN. Family and friends may leave e-mail condolences at www.petersonfuneralchapelofcoleraine.com .
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