Patricia Anne Conner passed away peacefully on the afternoon of November 12, 2020. She Was 88.
She was born Patricia Anne Maring on May Day 1932, in Seattle, WA, to Glenn and Muriel Maring. She grew up in Yakima, WA, and was very fond in adulthood of relating the identity of her childhood librarian, the famed children’s author Beverly Cleary. She received a degree in English from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA, and had a long career teaching the subject to adoring students at Bakersfield College, in California. In 1954 she married Robert McGowan, and with him raised four children, until his tragic death in 1971.
In 1990, Patricia began the second chapter of her life when she married geologist Don Conner, and moved with him from California to his family’s lakefront property outside of Bemidji, MN. They lived happily there for more than twenty years, and were able to travel extensively in retirement, visiting Europe, Australia and South America. Don passed away in 2019.
Patricia took great comfort in her faith, and was a longtime member of St. Bartholomew’s Church in Bemidji. She was also a published poet, and regularly attended the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesboro, TN. Before moving to Bemidji, she was also a regular attendee at the Ashland, OR Shakespeare Festival.
She is survived by two sisters, Jan Acker, and Francine Maring; her children Christopher McGowan and wife Hannah, of Kansas City, KS; Phyllicia McGowan, of Portland, OR; John McGowan-Hartmann and wife Shana Hartmann, of New Orleans, LA; and Jennifer Phillips and husband Ray, of Longview, TX; and several grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her brother Robert Maring, and her grandchildren Timanna Bennett, and Ashley McGowan. A memorial celebration is being planned for sometime in 2021, in Bemidji.
“Into the Absolute”, by Patricia Conner
If you die before me
you will become a mountain
heavy and tranquil
I will walk along your trails
sit upon your boulders
climb to the top
It will be more lonely than wide blue sky
If I die before you
I will become a whisper of wind
sighing through pine trees
a ripple of water
caught in the moonlight
a quiet dawn
It will be more lonely than nightfall
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