Patricia Ann Rampino
November 20, 1955 - September 30, 2003
Patricia Ann Rampino (née Shaw) passed away on September 30, 2003. Patricia was born on November 20, 1955 in Richardson, Texas. She was proceeded in death by her husband Tony Rampino and her mother Delores Shaw. She is survived by her father, Kenneth Shaw, Sr., sons Roy Locke and Jon Locke, brother Ken Shaw, Jr. and wife, Susan, and grandmother, Thelma Taylor. A memorial service was held on Friday, October 2, 2003 at Metrocrest Funeral Home. In Lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the King Rufus Young Library, 177 S. Madison, Giddings, Texas 78942. 979-542-2716.
I've been in shock since arriving at work this morning and listening the news on my voice mail that one of my closest and dearest friends has departed. I knew Pat from our days in high school together, working on the school newspaper, The Pony Express. She was kind of quiet back then, a bit shy, and had the most wonderful, offbeat sense of humor.
It wasn't until much later, 1998 to be precise, that we really hit it off and shared one of the most wonderful friendships that two people have ever known. It started off innocently enough, a simple query to one of those alumni pages established for J J Pearce High School. Hi, how are you doing. How's life been treating you. Before long we were emailing often -- me from my house in Flower Mound, and her from her office at Texas A&M Commerce. Wild conversations about every topic imaginable. Later, when she moved back to Richardson, we had the occasional lunch together where we swapped music, philosophy, and hopes and dreams leavened frequently with truly bad puns.
I'm looking at that dash between the dates and remembering what a truly remarkable woman it represents. Pat saw parts of me that few have ever seen, and she still chose to stick around. Always quick with an encouraging word but comfortable enough with our friendship to read me the riot act when I was wrong. She was one of those few that I knew that I could count on when disaster struck.
I fancy myself a bit of a carpenter, a bit of a mechanic, fair at plumbing and a hack at painting. Pat could do all of those -- for real. And behind that thick Texas accent was one of the keenest minds that I've ever encountered. Yeah, it's been said that she didn't know her way around a kitchen too well, but that's why man invented frozen dinners and microwave ovens.
What her obituary fails to convey was how devoted a daughter, sister, wife and mother she was. And friend. Her worries about her father and her sons. Her hopes for their future. The anguish she felt seeing her youngest take his first steps into adulthood, knowing it was best to let him find his own way instead of attempting to fix everything for him. Behind that tough girl exterior was a heart as big as Texas -- she was always there at a moment's notice to help someone in need.
Pat's memorial service was simple and tidy, just like the woman she was. On the drive over to the funeral home, I steeled myself against the emotional tide that had been rising all morning. "Stay in control, you will be around strangers" I kept telling myself. I arrived and paid my respects to her father, who I was meeting for the first time. Inside, I talked to the biology teacher that Pat and I had in high school, Nella Hewlitt. Pat and I had always talked about meeting her for lunch, but never found the time to do it. Next I met Janie, Pat's friend who gave me the terrible news this morning. I was actually doing alright at this point.
Then I saw Becky, a friend of ours from high school, and I saw her red, wet eyes. Aw hell, the dam burst as Becky and I just held each other until the crying stopped. The family allowed Becky and I a moment to be alone with Pat. She looked peaceful and serene.
The service was a mixture of laughter and sadness with glimpses into the life that we had gathered to celebrate. It was gratifying to know that Pat will be resting with her husband Tony at Arlington National Cemetery. The service concluded with the playing of Barracuda by Heart, sigh... How my friend loved her music...
So this ain't the end -
I saw you again today
I Had to turn my heart away
Smiled like the Sun -
Kisses for everyone
And tales - it never fails!
At times like this, it is my habit to beat myself up with guilt about all the things that were left unsaid. Not so with Pat -- I finally got it right. She knew just how much I loved and cared about her. During the hell that she had to endure this past year I was able to be there for her, as she had been there for me in the past. I talked to Pat last week on the telephone, our usual Wednesday night gabfest. Cares and worries, but looking forward to the future in anticipation of better days. And in my mind I can hear her, clear as a bell, as she said goodbye:
You keep out of trouble kiddo, OK? Talk to you soon...
Oh Pat, I'm going to miss you so much.
Posted by mjwoods at October 3, 2003 11:17 PM