Following a long, useful life, exemplified by hard work, devotion to friends and family and service to others, Patricia (Patches) Marlene MacKinnon (nee Costello) passed away peacefully, surrounded by family with her daughter Cindy at her side, at Sault Area Hospital on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, following a period of health challenges. She would have been 84 on January 30.
She will be missed dearly by son Michael Gravelle (Lorna), daughters Cindy Ougler (Jeffrey) and Corrie MacKinnon, grandchildren Nathan MacKinnon, Gregston Hunter, Tyneeka Hunter, Jeffton Hunter and Jeremiah Hunter, sister Precious Lavigne (Ray) and sister-in-law Joyce. Aunt Pat will also be missed by Kelly Mihaichuk-Ball (Harold), Susan Mihaichuk-Kroll (Brandy), Peter Mihaichuk (Amanda), Bill Costello (Christina), OJ Costello (Erin) and Katherine Costello. She will be especially missed by her canine companion, Muffin.
Pat is predeceased by her parents, Harry and Ezma Costello, brother, Gary Costello, and granddaughter, Ashley Gravelle.
Pat's athletic prowess was evident early, during her formative and teen years as a YMCA and varsity Sudbury Tech athlete in her hometown, and later, as a young adult, participating in more Sudbury Y activities, such as leadership training, basketball and badminton.
Those skills came in handy when she and her family moved to Sault Ste. Marie in 1968 and found another home at the Sault Ste. Marie YMCA, where she began, with the guidance of former CEO Gord Saunders, as a volunteer, always with her young children in tow. Pat's Sault YMCA role would blossom, as she gained employment there in various capacities, including building manager, a job she assumed very seriously, often earning her the nickname The General. Those who stepped out of line would be quickly reminded of their transgressions. Pat would remain Y building manager until 2010, finally retiring at the tender age of 74.
It was at the Y, and at General Insurance Brokers under owner Art Myles, that Pat gained a reputation for no-nonsense professionalism. And fun. All who knew her well could testify to her wonderful sense of humour.
Pat's Y leadership and volunteerism would not go unnoticed. In 2015, she received an Ontario Volunteer Service Award, saluting her 40-year Sault Y commitment in various roles, including providing swimming instruction and running ladies fitness classes, pre-school gym and swim programs. She was also a Y Service Club member, cleaned fitness equipment on Sunday mornings and, more recently, helped out with the YBC basketball program.
Despite her busy work schedule, Pat found ample time to spend with her children. Road trips included camping excursions to destinations in Ontario, Michigan and Ohio. Son Michael fondly remembers summers spent at a cottage in Bala, in the Muskokas.
Pat was also crafty. She knitted, crocheted, cross-stitched and sewed, lending the latter skill to creating dance costumes for daughter Corrie's recitals.
In her later years, Pat took many trips to Canada's East Coast, enjoying Cindy and Jeffrey's New Brunswick cottage, Shangri-La. While there, she sampled Maritime delicacies and toured many parts of the region, taking a special delight in wading knee-deep into the frigid Bay of Fundy.
A special volunteer activity in recent years was helping Cindy and Jeffrey collect Sault Star Santa Fund donations at The Station Mall, demonstrating a lifelong love of community service. Her bright smile and familiar face drew no shortage of contributors to the Santa Fund table.
The family would like to salute Sault Ste. Marie Emergency Medical Services and Sault Area Hospital staff on both 3A and 3C for their kindness and professionalism. A special thank you to Ginny Gulyas, Ruth Bertrand and Laurie and Shaun Brown, for their hospital visits, which brightened Pat's day immeasurably.
In lieu of flowers, donations to Sault Ste. Marie YMCA Strong Kids Campaign would be appreciated. Arrangements have been entrusted to O’Sullivan Funeral Home & Cremation Centre, 215 St. James St., Sault Ste. Marie, ON, P6A 1P7, (705) 759-8456.
According to Pat's wishes, there will be no visitation or funeral. A spring celebration of life will be held at the Sault Ste. Marie YMCA.
Those who knew and loved Pat will miss her beyond words, but will take comfort, and remain inspired, by her shining example of a life well lived.