Pat Strayer

Date of Birth

November 18, 1922

Date of Death

November 29, 2013

City of Death

Santa Barbara

November 18, 1922-November 29, 2013

Our mom, Pat, gently passed away, at the age of 91. Pat was born in Erie, Pennsylvania to Francis and Marguerite Shufflin. She was valedictorian of her senior class, and left home at 17 to attend the University of Pittsburgh. After obtaining a degree in nursing, Pat moved to Detroit where she met her husband, Harold, while both were singing in the church choir. Their first year of marriage was quite an adventure, with Harold studying architecture under Frank Lloyd Wright in Scottsdale, Arizona, while Pat worked at the Elizabeth Arden Salon in Phoenix, tending to the rich and famous. Ultimately Harold decided teaching was his passion, and Pat and Harold settled in Manchester, Michigan, the birthplace of their three children, Mark, Brian and Beth.

But dreams of warmer winters brought them to Santa Barbara in 1957, where they settled on the Mesa. Harold took a position at Santa Barbara High School and Pat worked weekends as a nurse at St. Francis Hospital. When the Head Start program was launched nationwide in 1965, Pat became its first director in Santa Barbara. In 1968 she became the school nurse of San Marcos High School. With her wise, gentle and intuitive nature, it is fitting that she chose nursing as a profession, and school nursing and Pat were the perfect match. Not surprisingly, her office was a very popular hangout for otherwise healthy kids seeking her sage advice. In the mid-1970s she transferred to Santa Barbara High School, ultimately retiring in 1980. Harold and Pat were long-time enthusiastic members of the Unitarian Church, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary there in 1997 before family and friends.

To know Pat was to love her. She had a wonderfully optimistic view of the world, and lived her life with affection, empathy, and genuine interest in everyone around her. She will be dearly missed.

Pat was predeceased by her husband, Harold, in 2004. She is survived by her children, Mark Strayer of Santa Barbara, Beth Handweiler and her husband Marty of Irvine, and Brian Strayer and his wife Lynn Mari of Ventura, her much-loved grandchildren, Danny, Jenna and Jordan, her sweet sister Jeanne, as well as her beloved “Granny Gang.”

Special thanks to our mom’s dear and caring friend Lee, to the caregivers and nurses at Vista Del Monte, and to her very special Nurse Darlene and the staff at Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care.

A memorial service in Pat’s honor will be held at the Unitarian Church on Saturday, January 25th, at 2:00 p.m.

The family may be contacted via email


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