The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Obituaries

December 30, 2013

Mary Patricia Godfrey Gerard

LIGONIER — GERARD – Mary Patricia “Pat” Godfrey, 93, Ligonier, died Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013, at her home. Born April 28, 1920, in Bolivar, daughter of the late Robert and Mary Margaret Robinson Godfrey. Mrs. Godfrey’s family owned and operated Garfield Fire Clay Co. of Bolivar and Robinson. Patty’s early education was at Hallesen Place, Ebensburg, a private academy commonly known as “Miss Gallaher’s School” because it was established and administered by noted educator and early state legislator Sarah M. Gallaher. She then attended Bolivar schools, graduating in 1937. Subsequently entering Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in education. She pursued additional studies at Penn State University, Carnegie Mellon, Glassboro State College and Jersey City State College. A woman who never considered herself much of a student, as a teacher, she became the quintessential teacher, mentor and guide. She truly loved helping her students to develop their talents, and she inspired them to reach for the stars, to be their very best. They sensed that she truly cared. Upon graduation, Mrs. Gerard spent three years in the Burrell Joint Schools (1949-1952) in New Kensington. While teaching art in junior high school, she developed plans for and supervised the teaching of art as seen in elementary schools. In the fall of 1952, she began a 30-year career teaching fine arts in Atlantic City (N.J.) High School. She taught all types of art, from the basics to advanced work. Many of her students were accepted into the finest art colleges in the U.S. And many of her students have gone on to outstanding careers in some field of art. Mrs. Gerard cared about her students, loved helping them develop their talents, and always encouraged them to dream-and to try to realize those dreams. “Can’t” wasn’t in her vocabulary. She became adept at using Lovejoy’s College Guide to help her students find the right art school and, if needed, apply for student aid – a skill she applied with success when her nonartist daughter was looking for the right school and decidedly needed a scholarship. It gave Mrs. Gerard joy to hear from her students who stayed in touch through the years as friends. She rejoiced in their successes and, when things weren’t going well, offered a friendly ear, a kind word and encouragement. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her beloved uncles and aunts, and numerous cousins, all of whom she dearly missed. Survived by daughter, Pandora (Richard) McNatt, Ligonier; and cousins, Sandra Robinson Lowe, Daytona Beach, Fla.; Cynthia (Chamberlain) Lancaster, Mesa, Wash.; Peter Chamberlain, Commerce, Texas; Judith Robinson Bain, White Bear Lake, Minn.; and Andrea Robinson Hanlon. Friends will be received from 2 to 5 p.m. Thursday at J. Paul McCracken Funeral Chapel Inc., 144 E. Main St., Ligonier, where her life will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday. Interment will follow at Bolivar Westview Cemetery. To sign the online register book or to send condolences to the family, please visit www.jpaulmccrackenfuneralchapel.com.

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