June 27, 1917 - July 17, 2023
In loving memory ~
* Stepping along the big fashion runway in the sky, Pat left this earth just 3 weeks past her 106th birthday.
Born at Barton on Irwell, Lancashire, Elsie was the first of 3 children of George and Nellie Gatley.
She had an idyllic childhood between the wars, growing up with brothers Jack and Peter at Canal Bank House in nearby Leigh.
She attended Leigh Girls' Grammar School and, in 1934 a class trip to Paris sparked in her a lifelong fascination with fashion and couture. She firmly believed in the importance of being well-turned out and to this end she sewed most of her own clothes.
Elsie (who now preferred the nickname Pat) found employment as a secretary for a small engineering firm which made, at first, household appliances, later, armaments.
In 1942, Pat married naval man Roland Blackburn but soon had to endure a long separation as he was posted to Bombay, India.
Re-united after the war, the young couple made their first home in Inverness, Scotland where their son Stephen was born. Roly was developing his career as a freelance journalist and they moved again to Formby near Liverpool.
They were feeling the pull of wider horizons however so in 1952 the family of three took the plunge and emigrated to Canada. It was an epic journey by ocean liner and train to the distant shores of Vancouver Island.
Nanaimo was their first home, where Pat's secretarial skills landed her a job at Harmac pulp mill. Roly was expanding his writer's network and they soon made a move to Victoria.
Pat became Roly's full-time typist and proofreader.
They built the first of several new houses in Central Saanich. Their social life was rich, many and boisterous were the parties at which Roly pounded the piano and Pat served gourmet food while dressed to the nines in her home-sewn European fashions.
Cruise line promotional articles got them invited on voyages to the Med, Caribbean and Orient. They built their dream home on the waterfront in East Sooke.
Sadly, Roly died suddenly in 1984 and Pat painfully learned to "get by with a little help from her friends". She still relished her role as "the hostess with the mostest" and continued to entertain her friends and neighbours.
Her last big move was to Courtenay to close ranks with Stephen and family. She set the stylistic bar high around town where she became known as "the lady with the suits"
Now, to grandkids Russ and Chandi, and to Lynne's extended Grant family, she was Granny Pat. At the century mark, her Crown Isle friends feted her as she proudly displayed her letter from the Queen.
Pat lived independently in her home till age 104. In her two subsequent care homes, she impressed the staff and residents with her sense of style, dressing for every occasion no matter how trivial.
Pat was pre-deceased by her brothers Peter and Jack and survived by her son Stephen [Lynne] grandchildren Russell and Chandi, and great-grandsons Miller and Boone.
No service is planned but a small "celebration of life" gathering will be held in mid-August.
In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation to a charity of your choice in Pat's memory.
Condolences may be offered at
www.telfordtoneffboyd.ca Toneff Funeral Services