It is with profound sadness that Bill Railton of Hood River, Ore., shares the news that his much-beloved wife, Patricia, passed away on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. She was surrounded by family and closest friends.
Patricia was born in Chico, Calif., on March 3, 1946, to Jean Barker and Clinton Wheat. She was a California girl through and through, raised with a delightful free spirit and inspiring joie de vivre that attracted acquaintances and strangers alike. Attending college at Chico State during the height of the Civil Rights and hippie movements assuredly influenced her graceful acceptance of people for who they were, not for the color of their skin, the clothes they wore or the pipes they smoked. She graduated from the University of Washington.
She married Barry Curran in 1970 and they had a son, Sean, of Everett, Wash. Patricia was the “other mother” to Heather and Shannon, Barry’s daughters. She and Barry divorced and remained close friends until his death in 2012.
Patricia Curran was a force in the shopping center industry for many years, first as director of marketing at Everett Mall in Everett, then as corporate marketing director for its headquarters in Hackensack, N.J. She was deeply involved in industry organizations Northwest Marketing and Management Association and the International Council of Shopping Centers. Patricia was a generous manager, cheerleader and nurturer, mentoring interns who became forever friends and employees who went on to stellar careers; an innovative director, always just ahead of the next trend, including robust temporary tenant programs and community activities such as trick-or-treating in the mall at a time where there was heightened security concern over candy tampering; and a collegial, collaborative competitor, readily sharing information and ideas with shopping centers locally and across the country.
A lifetime commitment to fitness led to her opening an aerobics studio at the mall, at which she supported colleagues, mall patrons and friends to commit to improved physical health and, most importantly, their emotional well-being.
It was during this time that she met Richard Emery, an avid sailor who shared her free spirit and provided the calm to her storm.
And then, through a personal ad in the Seattle Weekly — a precursor to today’s match.com — she met her true companion, Bill Railton. To watch Patricia blossom and fall in love during their early years was a tremendous honor. Finally, the person we could entrust to keep sacred the love and affection of someone so dear to so many. They loved each other fiercely, and both demonstrated tremendous courage, strength and resilience through Patricia’s battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Patricia and Bill married in 1990 and moved to Hood River in 1994, where they created an extraordinary life filled with all manner of adventures.
Patricia became a Pilates instructor; and at her studio, she welcomed and instructed countless people in their quest for strong cores and general fitness. But Patricia’s nurturing went beyond the physical: She helped people to become whole.
Patricia was a fast friend to anyone she met and loyal confidant to everyone she loved. Her legacy of solid friendships is staggering, and she will be missed by so many. The list is long and impossible to be inclusive, and it is important to note several of them. Her beloved Jackie Claessens and her dearest friend Sarah Fetzer were constant support to Patricia and Bill in the past year, and her lifelong friend Melva Storke joined them at Patricia’s side nearing the end.
In addition to her husband, Bill, and son, Sean, Patricia is survived by Sean’s wife, Janet, and their children, Mikaela and Ace; Heather Curran and her husband, John Kramer; Shannon Curran and her husband, Rick Munn, and their children, Sebastian and Sophia; Bill’s daughter, Avery Shinkle, her husband, Marc, and their son, Levi.
We will gather to celebrate Patricia’s life in Everett and Hood River.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Providence Hospice Hood River in Patricia Railton’s name.
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