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Patricia Yeager Washburn ’58

September 18, 2022, in Northglenn, Colorado.

Though she was born in California, Pat was proud of her family’s connections to Colorado. Her mother, Eleanor, was the daughter of Ethel and Joe Mills, who built and ran the historic Crags Lodge in Estes Park. Her father, Dorr, was one of Rocky Mountain National Park’s first rangers. They instilled their daughter with a love of nature, which Pat passed on to her children and thousands of visitors who came to Rocky Mountain National Park, where she served as an enthusiastic part-time docent at the Rocky Mountain Conservancy into her late 70s.

She studied at Reed College, where she met her first husband, Arthur Washburn ’57. Pat finished her bachelor’s degree at Colorado College and received an MA in religion from Iliff School of Theology. She became an adjunct faculty member in the justice and peace studies program at Iliff and said, “I credit Reed with ‘radicalizing’ me to have a heart for the marginalized, and leading me to be a peace educator.”

In the ’70s, Pat was the director of religious education, both at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Denver and later at Denver’s First Unitarian Church. She cofounded the Shalom Community, a residential support community in Denver, which continues to this day as the Karis Community. In her later years, she served as a lay pastoral associate at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Estes Park, and as chaplain at Good Samaritan Retirement Village in Estes Park. She served on the board of the Estes Park Museum and was awarded its Pioneer Award in 2018 for her passionate efforts to keep Estes Park history alive.

Pat worked for the National Peace Academy Campaign in Washington, D.C., and developed and taught a conflict resolution and peace studies program at Earlham School of Religion. She developed peace, conflict resolution, and social justice materials for the Episcopal Church and the American Friends Service Committee, and traveled the world to work with other peacemakers. Her work for peace was not just theoretical. In 1990, she wrote the Department of the Treasury to inform them that she would no longer be paying taxes as a form of protest to the size of the military budget. A formal peace tax resister, she testified before Congress in support of a peace tax fund that would allow citizens to designate their taxes to nonmilitary purposes. As a result, the IRS seized her car and attempted to garnish her wages. For the rest of her career, she worked part-time hours to attempt to keep her salary below a taxable level. She was supported by her employers and friends, who helped her find creative ways to continue to live in Estes Park, where she had a wide social circle. With their assistance, she was able to live in and serve her beloved mountain town until the penultimate year of her life.

Pat loved music and singing, and performed in choirs and as a soloist. Married three times (Arthur Washburn, Thomas Washburn, Bryan Michener), she is survived by her sister, Sally; her sons, Christopher and Peter Orbison Washburn ’87; and her daughters, Polly and Coretta.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2023

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