For over 54 years the sound of the Mission Bells have graced the home and garden of Patricia Peteler, known to family and friends as “Pat.” At the break of dawn on September 10th, Pat peacefully passed away into her “ever after” in that very home. She was surrounded by her faithful dog Bronzey; her magical cats, Honey and Star; her beloved brother Bob’s cat Jaime; and her longtime family friend Caroline. She was 98 years young.
Pat was born in Monrovia, California, on July 9,1922, to Robert and Marjorie Peteler. Throughout her childhood, she resided in Glendale with her parents and her older brother Bob, with whom she was always very close. During her childhood she spent many an afternoon at the family business, “Oldsmobile of Pasadena.” During these afternoons, her inquisitive personality led her to go for daily walks to the antique store. It was here that her lifelong fascination and love of antiques began. So much so, that when she saw “Mr. Pickwick” (a character doll) in the store, she put him on “layaway” and saved her weekly allowance to purchase him. She cherished that doll and kept him throughout her life.
As a young woman Pat developed a passion for theater, which led her to attend Pasadena Junior College. It was there that she flourished and also performed at The Pasadena Playhouse. Her work at the Hollywood Actors Academy brought her acclaim as both an actress and a director. She studied there under the mentorship of Madame Maria Ouspenskaya, the famous Russian actress of her day. In one of Madame’s reviews of Pat, she stated that “Miss Peteler possesses an active mind which is capable of seeing the heart and soul of a character.” While excelling as an actress, Pat’s true joy in life was to mentor others so they could shine.
Soon Pat transferred to UCLA, where she completed her BA degree in English. Continuing her theater work, she went on to earn her MA from the University of North Carolina and then her Doctorate degree in Theater and Speech at the University of Utah. After completing her formal academic training, Pat spent most of her career as a professor, including positions at Mercer University, Westminster College, Utah University and the University of Arizona. Along with teaching and performing, she also authored 6 plays that were presented on stage.
As much as Pat loved teaching and theater, it was her devotion to and love of family that prompted her to relocate to Camarillo to care for her father, who passed away in 1966. Her dear brother Bob provided encouragement and guidance during this time, and also found the stone house, behind the stone walls, historically known as the “Carriage House,” to which Pat and her mom relocated.
As an enlightened and progressive woman of her time, Pat was an active member of Santa Barbara’s League of Women Voters , serving on the board and as the historian for over 12 years. She became a devoted denizen of Santa Barbara and combined her love of theater and teaching by giving presentations on the City’s landmarks and their historical backgrounds. She also engaged in her love of antiques as an active member of the Santa Barbara Back Fence Club.
Some memories Pat’s family and friends have
-Shewas warm hearted and cherished life’s precious moment with family and friends.
-She was so much fun to talk to with her wonderful sense of humor and such incredible wit!
-Beautiful connection with and love for animals and nature
-Always in a hat with a necklace
-Caring, loving and kind
-Her personality was pleasing and gracious
-She possed a quick and spirited imagination
-She was enlightened while also being very down to earth
-Patient, humble and open minded
-Young at heart and loved unconditionally
Four generations were at her bedside to serenade and applaud her life and wisdom. Her last days on Earth were filled with love, music and garden flowers surrounding her. And a special thank you to father Dan Lackie of the Old Mission Santa Barbara, for encompassing the circle of love and giving Pat her final blessing.
Such a well lived life of so many accomplishments! But most of all, Pat you will be remembered for your beautiful heart and soul.
A private Interment will take place at Santa Barbara Cemetery. Friends are welcome to a celebration of life on November 20th behind the walls of stone.
Donations in Pat’s memory can be made to the Humane Society of the United States.