Patricia Ruth Duffin Skud1927–2023

Patricia Ruth Duffin Skud died quietly in her sleep in Bellevue, Washington, November 9, 2023.

She was born December 29, 1927 in Geneseo, Illinois Pat grew up in Wakefield Michigan, daughter of Francis Wilson Duffin a teacher and coach at Wakefield High School and Kathryn Elizabeth Montgomery Duffin, who taught in Ironwood Township Schools. In school she played flute in the band and was a majorette. As child she had the first of many cats that were always a part of her life.

In 1949, Pat graduated from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, where she studied speech and theater, and taught school before marrying Bernard Einar Skud of Ironwood, Michigan, on August 20, 1950 in the Wakefield Methodist Church. Pat and Bernie then drove a car called Betsy to Seattle, Washington where Bernie worked for the Fish and Wildlife Service and Pat for Reichhold Chemicals and in the Chemistry Department at the University of Washington, acquired a cat named Muggins, and began to raise a family, living in various places including Capitol Hill, Ravenna, and Northgate. While living in a Green Lake apartment they found bridge-playing friends who remained close for life. Pat sometimes joined Bernie on his trips to Southeast Alaska.

In 1956 Pat and Bernie moved across the country to Boothbay Harbor, Maine, where Bernie continued his career as a marine biologist and Patty raised two young sons. They brought a black and red Nash and after a stay in a cabin by the mill pond in East Boothbay moved to Townsend Avenue by the Rotary Club. Thursday nights they were entertained by the singing at the Rotary Club and through the Couples Club and bridge-playing, found friends for life. There was a black cat and Pat always remembered trips to Boston and Filene’s basement.

In 1958 Pat and Bernie moved to Galveston, Texas, where Pat volunteered at the Methodist church and added a third son and a cat named Prissy. One summer was spent in Washington, D.C. but after two years Pat escaped the Texas heat and humidity when they returned, via a trip across the South, in a blissfully air-conditioned white Rambler, to Maine.

Back in Boothbay Harbor, Pat and Bernie lived at the end of McKown Point by the laboratory where Bernie worked. Pat helped organize the Friends of the Library, annual book fairs to raise money for the library, and was especially pleased with the addition of a children’s wing at the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library. She was also active at the Boothbay Country Club, the Methodist Church, where she served as Treasurer, a supporter of the Boothbay Playhouse, and sometimes a substitute teacher and prize speaking coach. Pat picked blueberries for pies and learned to make honey without bees. There were trips to visit the family and childhood friends in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. There was also, after farming out kids to friends, a trip to Italy. Mungojerrie, a Maine coon cat, and Hershey, a Labrador retriever, were important parts of the family.

In 1970, Pat and Bernie moved back to Washington State, residing in Bellevue. Pat drove a VW 412 to work at Hickory Farms, and attended Husky football games, and enjoyed the attractions, including theater, of urban life. Cat, Bug-Off, and puppy, Toffee, were added to the family.

In 1978, Pat and Bernie moved back to the east coast, first to the Washington D.C. area, and then returned to New England where they lived in Peace Dale, Rhode Island and were joined there by Pat’s mother. Pat joined a bowling league and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. She and Bernie took a trip that she called her very best vacation, to South Africa and stopped in Rio de Janeiro on the way and Greece on the way back.

In 1986, Pat and Bernie moved with her mother to Vancouver, Canada, where Bernie was with the International North Pacific Fish Commission and the University of British Columbia. Pat volunteered at a hospital and entertained many visitors from the USA, particularly during the 1986 World’s Fair.

In 1991, Pat and Bern retired to Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, in Washington state. Pat immediately joined the Methodist church, participated in bible classes, and became a bell-ringer. She volunteered with the Whidbey Island County Museum and the hospital in Coupeville and helped promote reading with the Island County library. Cats Rusty, Mollie , and Allie were adopted in turn. Pat loved meeting with her PEO sisters, helping women advance through education. (Pat also was delighted to be introduced by a PEO sister to high-bush blueberries, a more pleasant picking experience than the low-bush berries of New England.) She studied French, writing and took Elder Hostel trips to Oregon, France, and England. And she could be seen around town in her faux-woody Oldsmobile station wagon. In later years her weekly visit to the hairdresser was a highlight.

Pat is survived by three sons, Timothy of Alexandria, Virginia, Ferd of Anchorage, Alaska, Eric and wife Ann of Redmond, Washington. She was predeceased in death by her parents and husband of sixty years. Her sons would like to thank her church community, PEO friends, and her many friends in Oak Harbor and particularly her caregivers and trusted friend Westley Young, Jackie Coon, Myong Walrath, Emelyn Collantes and Crystel Manzella for adding so much to her life in her later years.

Memorial services will be held at Oak Harbor First United Methodist Church in Oak Harbor Washington on December 2 at 11 AM. Memorial contributions may be made to Oak Harbor Library, Sno-Isle Libraries or to your local Library.