Patricia Mary Whiteman 1944-2021

I first met Pat in 1986 and we taught together at the High School until she retired from there.

So many happy memories.

In those days we had a tiny staffroom and we would sit together almost knee to knee, shivering in the cold. My first knowledge of her, apart from her smile and her sunny disposition, was her of her “notes” and “Harry’s tea”.  Her notes kept her teaching on track -she was very organised-and Harry’s tea was the sacred end to her teaching day. These were the two axes of Pat’s dedication, her twin loves; teaching and her husband.

Later we moved to a bigger staffroom and mixed more. Now teaching science in the 90s and 00s could be stressful. We had long sylabuses and were always under time pressure to get the teaching done in time and there were complex concepts we had to get across. Pat knew these pressures all too well.

As a result, let me say, tactfully, that at times our staffroom could become something of a hothouse. Well it was Pat, more than anyone who cooled the atmosphere down, who de-stressed us and made our working life more tolerable. This is no small matter; it takes a special person to do this. How did she do it?  It was her sincerity, her warmth and her “we are all in this together, let’s make the best of it” spirit hat kept us grounded and of course everyone felt a personal loyalty to Pat. I personally am incredibly grateful to Pat for making my working life better.

My next appreciation of Pat is of her bravery at confronting her cancer. She had much to be bitter about. For months she was misdiagnosed by Southgate Surgery, but when she was properly diagnosed she accepted her treatment and the disruption to her life with bravery and stoicism.  Such an example to us all.

So many happy memories and so much admiration -for a special person and of a life well lived.  Her life graced mine-one way traffic I’m sure-and I am grateful to her.




David Baker

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