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Oak Harbor's Wilma Patrick, hospital drive leader, passes
Whidbey Island lost part of its history Saturday, April 28.
Oak Harbor resident Wilma Patrick, a driving forces behind the creation of Whidbey General Hospital and wife of late Judge Howard Patrick, passed away. She was 92 years old.
Wilma continued to be involved with the hospital, her church and community even as she became a lively nonagenarian. She is mourned by her many friends and supporters on the island.
“The loss of her steadfast support and leadership will be deeply felt by our hospital community and the Whidbey Island community writ large,” hospital spokesperson Trish Rose said. “She was a great, great lady ... and I miss her already.”
Wilma was among a group of women who started the Polly Harpole Guild, named after a woman who ran a birthing home, more than 50 years ago with the goal of building the island’s first hospital. Through a great deal of persistence, the guild’s efforts paid off with the opening of the hospital at a Coupeville site in 1970.
Wilma continued to be involved with the guild up until her death. It still has about 50 members and raises about $10,000 a year for scholarships and equipment purchases at the hospital.
“We’ve worked closely together on many hospital activities. One thing I can say about Wilma was that she delivered,” Rose said. “Sometimes she was the lead, sometimes she was a contributing team member, but regardless of her role, she put the same ‘no excuse’ effort to every project.”
Island County Superior Court Judge Alan Hancock said he got to know Wilma when he ran for Judge Patrick’s position with Island County Superior Court in 1988. Patrick was the first judge of the Island and San Juan County judicial district, but was required to retire because of the state constitution’s mandatory retirement age for judges.
“He was a mentor of mine, and I got know Wilma as the campaign moved ahead. After I was elected, she continued to be a valuable source of support for me,” Hancock said.
Wilma was also a loyal member St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and was involved in other charitable causes.
“Her life of service was exemplary, and something we should all try to emulate,” Hancock said.
“I have nothing but the fondest memories of Wilma and will miss her very much,” he added.
A memorial services will be held Saturday, May 5, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Oak Harbor at 1 p.m. Contact Wallin Funeral Home for more information.