Patricia Ann Ater
A Memorial Service of Celebration for longtime Lamar resident Patricia A. Ater was held at 3:00 PM, Saturday, September 18, 2010 at the Lamar First Baptist Church . Co-Officiating the services for Mrs. Ater was Reverend Dave Davis of the Lamar First Baptist Church and Reverend Rory Gillespie of the Lamar First Presbyterian Church. All were invited to stay after the services to enjoy dinner together.
A private family interment will be held at Fairmount Cemetery prior to the service. There will be no public visitation.
Mrs. Ater was born on November 24, 1933 at Shippe , Nebraska to Cleyo W. and Estelle Catherine (Brinkley) Sanders and passed away at Juniper Village at Lamar on September 10, 2010 at the age of 76 with her family by her side.
She is preceded in death by her son Sam Ater on April 10, 2004 and her parents.
Pat is survived by her husband Don Ater of the family home in Lamar. Her daughter Leslie and husband Roger Stagner of Lamar. She is also survived by her grandchildren Annessa and Bronson Stagner, her sister Connie (Fred) Reith of Chico, California, brother-in-law Bill and June Ater of Burleson, TX, nephews, nieces as well as numerous friends and her many students of Miss Pat’s Preschool.
Memorial Contributions may be made to the Lamar First Baptist Church and/or the First Presbyterian Church either direct or through the Peacock Funeral Home.
Patricia Ater (Life Story)
I was born in Shippe , Nebraska , November 24, 1933. Besides my parents, I had one five year old sister, Connie Mae, to greet me. Even though I chose a bad time financially to make my appearance, the three of them have always made me feel wanted and loved. My Dad ran a small grocery store and went on to become meat supervisor for J. M. Miracle, Snodrass Food Co. and others that I don't recall. We lived in Garden City, Kansas, where I had my tonsils out, Elkhart, Kansas, where I began school life, Indianola, Nebraska, where I continued my Grade School education, Norton, Kansas, where I endured all the joy and heartaches of Junior High and Oberlin, Kansas, where I graduated from High School in 1951. After vowing that I would never become a teacher I attended Fort Hays State Teachers College at Hays, Kansas.
While growing up my Mother saw to it that I had voice and piano lessons. I learned to play the flute in band. My Mother, sister and I worked hours memorizing readings. We were asked many times to give these as programs for special events. It was good for me as I was very shy in front of people.
My husband, Don, and I met on a blind date arranged by my older sister and his older brother. We dated for two years, wrote letters for an additional two years while Don was in the service. When two large boxes of beautiful china arrived from Japan my Dad said he began to suspect that Don may have some definite plans. After his tour of duty in Korea and his discharge, we were married on July 28, 1953.
Our first two years of married life Don worked as assistant manager of a local grocery store while I taught public school kindergarten.
In 1955, we left Oberlin for Greeley, Colorado, for Don to further his college education. I worked for Dr. Russell, a pediatrician in Greeley. We lived in the basement of a Sorority House so Don was the only man in the whole house. He suffered a little loss of popularity when our lovely little daughter, Leslie Ann was born December 2, 1956. She was delight to us both and we found a new joy that we didn't think possible. Don graduated with his Bachelor’s Degree in May 1958 and began work on his Masters that summer. Leslie Ann had not enjoyed good health at all. It was with reluctance that I left the Pediatrician that had always cared for her to move to Las Animas, Colorado. Don taught Business and Distributive Education at the High School. The change of climate actually proved to be a great help to Leslie Ann. During those two years Don did not feel he had found his niche in education. Our move to Lamar in August 1960 was a happy one when he assumed the duties of Business Administrator of Lamar School District Re2.
Our chocolate-eyed son made his appearance two months early in May 1961 making our family complete. After a three months struggle he rapidly became a normal, active boy.
I thoroughly enjoyed my two children. I loved being a Mother.
Although little Sammy, being premature in birth, developed normally, my "what ifs" prompted my interest in the children and young adults at Melvin School. I began teaching there in 1963. For two years I very much enjoyed this work. However, I wanted a Nursery School experience for Sammy, so I started Miss Pat's Pre School in the family room of our home in the early Spring of 1966. Then in the Fall of 1967, with enrollment taking up more space than the family room would allow, the School was opened at the property on 7th street. It was the first licensed preschool in SE Colorado.
The enrollment grew. The Pre School building again needed to be larger. Don and I had built the school building on Walnut Street. Many, many friends have been made because of Miss Pat's Pre-School. I am still enjoying the blessings of all who passed through the doors, whether parent or child or one of my priceless teachers. I owned Miss Pat's Pre School for almost 20 years.
After retiring from the Preschool, I continued being with children as I had the Story Hour at the Lamar Public Library and taught Sunday school at the First Baptist Church.
I was asked to organize a Pre School that would be housed in the First Baptist Church in Lamar. The First Baptist Church Preschool was a tremendous success. Many children benefitted from the experience. Later, our government caught sight that preschool education was such an asset to a child's development. Preschool then became more readily available through public schooling. I was honored to be asked to serve on the Governor's Board for Pre-School Education.
I have enjoyed PEO, Zonta, Fortnightly Book Club, and Clio Club, delivering Meals on Wheels Helping out at my church has always been a bright spot. I have served as Deaconess, Chairman of the Board of Christian Education, and Sunday School Teacher for many years.
Leslie Ann and Roger Stagner were married in 1977. We have had so many wonderful times together. It truly is as they say that you gain a "son". How true in this instance. How blessed am I.
I hold so dear to my heart my grandchildren, Annessa and Bronson. We have enjoyed playing and being silly to talking of the future and praying together. Being called "Granny" has been one of the best things. I remember wishing to be a Grandma even when I was little girl. I thought Grandmas always have little children around, and I liked that idea!
The years seemed to pass quickly. Don retired after being the Assistant Superintendent of the Lamar School District. He and I began intently caring for both our Mothers soon after the deaths of both our Dads. Those were busy years. Both our Mothers died in 2001. We felt good helping them live a quality life.
In 2003 Don and I celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary. It was such fun to visit with friends and family. Sometimes it feels like only yesterday we were married.
The next year our chocolate-eyed son, Sam died. He had been living in Pueblo. My heart broke when I heard the news.
My health wasn't very good around this time, and after a couple surgeries, the Drs. diagnosed me with Lewy Body Disease. It is a type of Parkinson’s but is more severe and advances at a much quicker rate. They told me this disease would take away my ability to walk or even move and many motor skills even such as swallowing or breathing that we all take for granted. When I feel afraid, I think about how much God loves me and how many friends he has blessed me with.
When I was a girl, I had asked Jesus into my life to be my Savior. I have always wanted to live my life in such a way that others can see just how strong and wonderful Jesus really is. I look forward to my already prepared home in Heaven.
My faith keeps me encouraged each day. And Don, the precious love of my life, continues to be my faithful and loving caregiver for which I am so grateful.
Now that my days are so very different than they were, I am willing to walk this path of uncertainty because if it in some way will bring glory to God... I want that.