Patricia Ann Rolison, passed away peacefully of natural causes at her home in Milwaukie, with family, February 22, 2021.
She was born, August 24, 1924, in Wallace, Idaho, to Glenn William and Winifred Gwendolyn Rarey. She was Baptized at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic church in Burke, Idaho. Until the age of six, she and her older sister, Marge, were raised in Burke, a mining town so small that the railroad track ran through the lobby of the hotel and boarding house. Her father, and two uncles, were miners at the Hecla lead and silver mine. Shortly after, the family moved to Spokane, Washington. As a child of the Great Depression, she sold homemade potato chips door to door, for 5 cents a bag. For her hard work, her reward was getting to go see a movie. During these hard times, simple treasures such as homemade ice cream or a hand me down bicycle were cherished memories.
Pat attended Lewis & Clark High School in Spokane, Washington. While in high school, she ran for class Secretary Treasurer, was the lead majorette, and a member of the Civil Air Patrol. She also worked at the family restaurant, Rarey’s Diner.
After graduating, Pat worked in the machine shop at Geiger Field, in Spokane, a training airfield for B-17 Flying Fortress units. Due to her small stature, she was personally selected by a supervisor to climb into the wing of a plane to re-attach bolts near the tip. She learned after the fact, the reason they held onto her ankles was to prevent her from getting stuck. Even though she did her best, an even smaller person had to be found to complete the task.
She entered St. Luke’s Hospital’s accelerated nursing program in Spokane. Nursing students got paid $50 per month, which required 4 hours of school and 4 hours of on-the-job training per day. Usually, the 4 hours of work turned into 6 or 7 hours of work. As a scrub nurse during surgeries, she was required to provide the surgeon with the necessary equipment and tools. In addition, she was responsible for making sure all operating tools were sterilized and accounted for.
In the early summer of 1946, she met the love of her life, James Axford Rolison, and were married November 9, 1946, in Spokane. In the early years of their marriage, they moved to Portland, Oregon, where they started their family of four children, Jim, Joe, Judy, and Janet. In 1958, Jim and Pat built their forever home in Milwaukie, Oregon.
Over the years, Pat was involved in several community organizations. She was a Cub Scout Den Mother, and a supportive parent of the Girl Scouts of America and 4-H organization. She was a devoted member of the women’s guilds at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Milwaukie, Oregon. She held the office of President of Portland’s Lloyd Lioness Club. Along with her husband, Jim, she belonged to the Portland Royal Rosarians. While a member of the Multnomah Athletic Club, Pat sang soprano with the MelloMacs, led by Bruce Kelly. She had been treasurer, vice-chairman, and librarian for the group, but her big love was working on the annual Spring Festival. During her time as a City of Milwaukie election board member, she officiated election day voter check-ins at Hector Campbell Elementary. She was a vocal citizen of her neighborhood, and often attended local city council meetings into her 90’s. Pat was a volunteer with Loaves & Fishes, also known as Meals on Wheels, at the Milwaukie Senior Center for 25 years. Along with her husband, Jim, a former WWII prisoner of war, Pat was an avid supporter and advocate for benefits for veterans and their spouses. Even after Jim was Commander of the Willamette Valley Chapter of American Ex-Prisoners of War, Pat continued her duties as treasurer and secretary. As long-time members of the Milwaukie Elks Lodge, Pat and Jim looked forward to their bi-weekly visits to play their lucky KENO numbers, and socialize with their lodge friends.
She is survived by her sons, Jim (Virginia) and Joe (Terry); daughters, Judy and Janet (Joe); grandchildren, Jeremy, Julie, Mike (Wendy), Heather (Bill), David (Desi), Mikel (Misty), Katie, Matt (Nicole), Jason, Nicole (James), Nick and Ben (Alicia); 12 great-grandchildren; 11 nieces and nephews; cherished neighbors, and best friend, Willie.
A private Mass will be held with interment at Willamette National Cemetery. A Celebration Of Life will be held later this summer when Covid restrictions have lifted, please check back for updates.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be sent to St. Vincent de Paul at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Milwaukie, the Oregon Humane Society, or The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana (see additional information below).
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Patricia Ann Rolison, please visit our floral store.
St. Vincent de Paul - St. John the Baptist Conference
10955 SE 25th Ave, Milwaukie OR 97222
Oregon Humane Society
1067 NE Columbia Blvd. Portland, OR 97211-1411,
Tel: (503) 285-7722
National WWII Museum
945 Magazine Street, New Orleans LA 70130