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Pat Ingham ’69

April 10, 2020, in Tallahassee, Florida, from Alzheimer’s.

Pat was born in Oakland, California, to David Laurie McGregor from Scotland and Lillian Nickel of Fargo, North Dakota. She had her mother’s auburn hair and her father’s gutsy “try-anything” nature. After graduating from Gresham High School, she went on to the University of Oregon, where she met and married Charles Dwigans. They had two children, Donna and Robert.

 After Pat and Charles divorced, she learned to drive and later to fly gliders. She went from being a full-time mother and seamstress to  being a junior high school teacher. To better support her children, she came to Reed and earned a master’s in psychology with a second emphasis in ancient history.

With the lift of an eyebrow, Pat could quiet a room of rambunctious seventh graders. “I was often exhausted,” she said of her years as a teacher, “but never bored. All children would rather grow up to be chimpanzees, but the job of adults is to civilize them sufficiently that they could enjoy tea with the Queen of England.”

One of her favorite geography lessons was making pizza in the shape of Italy with her students. “Once you have eaten Italy,” she said, “you’ll never forget how to find it on a map.”

An accomplished artist, Pat painted oil portraits and made kiln-fired enamel jewelry using techniques developed by early Egyptians. These were showcased at various galleries, and she was a member of the Northwest Chapter of the Florida Society of Goldsmiths, the Tallahassee Watercolor Society, and the Tallahassee Polymer Clay Art Guild. When something broke, her preschool grandson would say, “It’s okay, Grandma Pat can just make another one out of polymer clay.”

She married Erland Jenson in 1978, and when she retired from teaching in Canby, Oregon, they moved to Crawfordville, Florida. “I was born to be retired,” she said, taking up computer design embroidery and other art forms. When Erland died in 2003, Pat thought the best part of her life was over. Determined to make new friends among the other ladies at the Tallahassee Senior Center, she was surprised when Kenneth Ingham Jr. held a chair for her at the Valentine’s Day function. They had two weddings, one at the home of Ken’s daughter and the second at Lake Talquin Park, where Pat wore her trademark blue jeans and pearls. At the age of 75, she realized she had finally found her best friend. These, she declared, were the happiest years of her life. She died at home with Kenneth holding her hand and her daughter Donna nearby.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2020

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