Lois (Pat) Mumford
Pat Mumford passed away on February 13 at Oak Cottage Memory Care in Santa Barbara. Pat was born Lois Patricia Bretz in Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1922, a time when ice for the ice box was sold from a horse-drawn cart in the street, and “Banana Joe” sold fresh vegetables to the neighborhood the same way. There were six children in her family, all sleeping in the same room, boys separated from girls by a sheet that hung from the ceiling. Pat’s father Geordise worked as a bookkeeper in Omaha, and her mother Emma raised the family under modest means with an outhouse in the back and a hand pump for water in the kitchen. Water for baths in a big tub was heated in the kitchen and carried upstairs by hand. I can’t tell you why the baths were not taken downstairs! But they were all, by her own account, happy and content with their lot in life through the Great Depression.
Pat met her future husband Willard (Bill) Mumford in the marching band. She played piccolo, and he played coronet. Emma said she was happy for Pat to be dating “that handsome boy” from band. They planned a wedding in 1943, but Bill had enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was suddenly called up for service, so they had a quick ceremony at Pat’s home before Bill was sent off for pilot’s training. Pat followed Bill around the country as he was moved from one air base to another, finding odd jobs and rooms to rent to be near her new husband. While Bill flew “the hump” in Burma carrying supplies to China under very perilous conditions, Pat did secretarial work in Omaha.
When Bill returned from the war they settled in Lincoln, Nebraska where Bill finished college and their first son, Willard (Bill Jr) was born. They moved to Chicago where Bill worked as a food chemist and their second son, Bryan, was born. A year later their third son, Rennard (Brett) was born. The Mumford family moved around a lot as Bill was transferred and took new jobs while Pat raised her three sons. Her boys came of age in the late 1960s, which was a turbulent time, and Pat and Bill found themselves alone again living near Chicago in the 1970s. Pat took a job as an executive secretary at Motorola, having been well prepared in high school with typing and shorthand. She enjoyed this work at an interesting time in an important company. She was proud of the fact that “Marty” Cooper showed her the first handheld cellular mobile phone that he had just invented.
Bill and Pat retired first to San Jose, and then to Santa Maria where Bill had learned to fly in the 1940s. They bought a motor home and enjoyed travels around the United States, as well as cruises overseas. They had a good retirement until Bill took a fall and injured his shoulder on one of their excursions. It was an injury that he never fully recovered from, and it eventually led to his passing in 2001, leaving Pat a widow in Santa Maria. She soon moved to Encina Royale in Goleta to be near her son Bryan. She made a new life for herself there for the next 15 years, singing in the chorus and doing volunteer work in the community. In 2016 Pat grew weary of living alone and moved to Wood Glen Hall in Santa Barbara, where she stayed for the next five years. In February of 2021 she moved to the Oak Cottage Memory Care facility in Santa Barbara, where she lived until her passing a month after her 100th birthday.
Pat is survived by her three sons and their wives, five grandchildren, and four great grandchildren. Rest in peace Pat, it’s been a long road.