With her zest for life, laughter and love for people and animals, Pat Stone embodies her Irish heritage. At Via Christi Village, she is affectionately termed their "angel volunteer."
Her energy is boundless, as she calls bingo, helps with the Chamber breakfast and other marketing events, pops the popcorn for the Saturday night movies, plays videos for special occasions in the evenings, provides book reviews for her fellow residents and other groups all over Wichita, starts the video for Armchair Travels, helps with exercise classes and even told fortunes during a Halloween bash - an activity that required her to get a book and bone up on the meaning of the cards.
"She really should be a paid employee of the Activity Department," says Activity Director Lana Wyckoff. "We love her!" Lana noted Pat is also very good at helping others without being asked.
"For example, our normal volunteer who helps start Saturday movies has had a very ill spouse and she took over his job until he is able again. We didn't even know she was taking care of the movie for several weeks - we thought he was still doing it."
Pat volunteers time in the village's new bell choir and encourages other residents to participate as well. She assists the marketing department at special events and is always willing to show her apartment to prospective residents. She "starred" the a 30-second marketing commercial on television.
Her service in the community at large is also impressive, as she has been active in numerous social and civic causes. She has held state and national offices in the Daughters of the American Revolution, Flores Del Sol, Daughters of the American Colonists, Sons and Daughters of the Pilgrims. She is also an active member of St. John's Episcopal Church, where she held numerous offices.
Civic activities included Family Consultation Services, United Way, Women's Auxiliary of the Salvation Army, volunteer and president of the Women's Auxiliary at St. Francis Regional Medical Center, and president of her college alumni sorority, Chi Omega.
A Wichita native, Pat became the first school psychologist to be hired in the Wichita school system. She holds a bachelor's in English from the University of Nebraska, a master's in psychology from Emporia State University, and was working on a doctorate in clinical psychology at KU when she married David Stone.
"David and I had a marvelous marriage," Pat exclaims, showcasing her enthusiasm. The couple traveled the world, from balloon launches at Albuquerque to the Holy Land, Egypt, the Orient, New Zealand, Australia and Europe. Pat has visited Europe seven times. One trip, of course, took her back to her roots in Ireland.
After David's death in 1990, Pat took stock of her situation, looking at it with her typical humor. "Keeping up a house is difficult when you are single," she explains. "You need to make plans while you still have all your marbles."
Pat began looking at retirement communities. Her pick was an apartment at Via Christi Village on Georgetown, where she brought her dog. Georgetown provided her with a ground floor apartment close to an outside door so she could easily walk her pet.
"I've always had a dog," Pat says. Word of her love for pets spread, and for the past several years she has served as a house sitter, pet lover and caregiver for animals whose owners are traveling. For these extracurricular jobs, Via Christi Village on Georgetown serves as an excellent base. She never has to worry about her own home while off caring for someone else's. Pat believes that God has a purpose in life for each of us. Her philosophy is to laugh a lot, serve her fellow man, and to remain forever young at heart.