Passings: Pat Whaley

Pat Whaley, 77, served Santa Fe College for 25 years. She started working at the college in 1987. Throughout the years, she worked part- and full-time positions as a clerk, unit aid, and telephone operator. She left for a short period of time but returned again in 1997, and worked full-time until last month.

Her supervisor, Cheryl Farrell, shared this story:

“My first encounter with Pat was on Sept. 3, 2002 — my first day working at the college. As I entered the lobby of the Administration building, a sweet, demure woman greeted me with the most gentile Southern voice. She was sitting behind a reception desk that just about swallowed her. Pat, along with another telephone operator, answered all the main number calls received by the college and also greeted students and community members as they passed through the building. She was always a cheerful greeter, and even though she was timid, she enjoyed sitting in the middle of a very active spot on campus.”

In 2008, Santa Fe decided to grow the two-person reception area into a full-service, 10-employee call center, under Cheryl’s direction. Pat was one of the founding team members, Cheryl said.

Dr. Sasser’s message last Friday informing the college of Pat’s passing mentioned her service to our institution, her friendship, and the many thousands of visitors that Pat greeted every day on the phones. He also mentioned how well-known and respected she was for her service and helping others.

“Throughout the day I received many calls and messages from Pat’s colleagues sending condolences and reflections,” Cheryl said.

Pat was known as thoughtful, caring, predictable, sharing, and ever the professional. Even though she was the “quiet one” at the Call Center, she loved parties. She courageously came into work day after day despite being ill.

Cheryl writes: “When visiting Pat at Hospice, Lawana, one of her team members in the Call Center, asked Pat whether she needed anything. She told me that Pat looked around the room at all of her children and family members and answered that she had everything she needed right there.”

Pat’s funeral service starts at 11 a.m. today at Forest Meadows, 725 NW 23rd Ave., 378-2528. Donations to Haven Hospice Care Center in loving memory of Pat Whaley will be appreciated.

Obituary in the Gainesville Sun includes a link to an online guest book