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Patricia Jean (Pelc) Uecker
June 7, 1935 ~ June 23, 2022 (age 87) 87 Years Old
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Patricia Jean (Pelc) Uecker, 87, of Quitman, AR, passed away peacefully at home on Thursday, June 23rd, 2022.
Pat, born on June 7, 1935 in Berwyn, IL, was the younger of two children born to Bessie (Sirotek) Pelc and Charles Pelc, Czechoslovakian immigrants. She attended Piper Elementary School and later Morton West High School, making lifelong friends. Pat had a special gift for drama, and played the lead in their senior class play, Our Miss Brooks. After high school, she studied at Miami University of Ohio and graduated with the class of ’57 with a degree in communications.
Pat loved to play tennis, and it was there that she met her “match.” In Chicago on summer break, she and a girlfriend agreed to a doubles match with a handsome South Dakota boy and his buddy. We don’t know who won the match, but Len definitely won Pat’s heart. He returned to work in Alaska, and they corresponded by letter and cassette tape during her senior year. She visited Alaska over spring break and accepted Len’s ring in the land of glaciers. Pat and Leonard Uecker were married in Illinois on July 19th, 1957.
The newlyweds started their adventure with a long road trip from Chicago to Alaska Territory. Along the way, city girl Pat was introduced to a South Dakota shivaree, and then survived a night in a tar-paper shack along the Alcan highway. After a few years, they returned to Chicago to raise their family.
Pat was a substitute teacher, Girl Scout leader, and church accompanist. She had a soft spot for animals and talked to garden snakes, frogs, and other critters. She was a loving, kind, and supportive mom whom her daughters always looked up to, admiring her grace in handling the health challenges she faced, especially over the last few years.
Pat and Len moved to Plainfield, IL and eventually retired to Arkansas. There Pat was involved at Faith Lutheran Church in Fairfield Bay. Her status as a cancer survivor gave her a special tenderness toward those in the same situation, and she encouraged others with a warm smile and an understanding word as a Cancer Care volunteer at Baptist Health Medical Center in Heber Springs for 20 years. She also enjoyed 20 years of song and friendship, contributing her musical talents singing with Edensong.
Pat is survived by daughters Susan (Stuart) Roberts, Linda Hoover, and Lori (Ron) Vandulek; grandchildren Hannah, Liliana, Magnolia (Mitchell), Jonathan, Holly (SJ), Jack, Cooper, and Drake; great-grandson David; 7 loving nieces and nephews and their families, precious lifelong friends, and kitties Scooter and Lovey. We are all blessed to have known and loved her.
She was preceded in death by Leonard, her beloved husband of 62 years; her parents, brother Charlie, and his wife Norma.
There will be a memorial service celebrating her life in Fairfield Bay, AR, and a graveside service in Raymond, South Dakota in July.
Donations may be made in honor of Patricia to: EdenSong Chorale, Inc., PO Box 874, Heber Springs, AR 72543