Patricia Ann (Taylor) Tabak went on to her next role as a guardian angel on Friday, January 13, 2023. Missing her more than words could ever say are her husband and life-long partner in love and in crime, Matthew William, her three daughters, Michele Ann Tabak, Joan Marie Tabak (Curtis Mohwinkel) and Elizabeth Tabak Batteh (John Batteh).
Pat was born April 18, 1944, in Niagara Falls, New York to Joseph and Cecelia Taylor, the third child after Joseph (Irene) Taylor and Arthur (Regina) Taylor. After graduating from high school, she attended the University of Buffalo before returning to work. She was working at General Tire when she met the man who would walk with her hand-in-hand in marriage and in life. She created an office pool for the World Series games of which Matt bought all the squares and asked her out on a date. Their life journey started just months later on May 30, 1964, when they vowed to love each other for life. Dad always called her his “Sophie”. “For better, or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward until death do us part”– our parents lived these vows every second of every day of their lives together. It was not uncommon to see them holding hands whenever they were together or sneaking in kisses.
Family was everything to Pat and she stayed home in the early years to bring up three daughters who were blessed to inherit her humor, inner strength and values. We may not have always agreed with mom, however, we did always listen despite what she may have thought. She taught us to be a survivor, never play victim. To face every obstacle head on. And to always remember that we could become anything we wanted if we did the work and put in the time. She also taught us that she could embarrass us by dropping us off to school with a robe on and curlers in her hair if we back talked on a cold winter morning.
Once her daughters grew up, Pat started working. She was a perfect school district employee, from bus attendant for children with special needs, to a teacher’s helper, to school secretary at the high school. She could always talk to anyone and help them know they mattered, and she was really listening to help. Quite often, we would run into a former student that she had helped years before. Now adults, they remembered mom and would run over, hug her and thank her for being their friend when they needed it most. It wasn’t unusual for her to get an email from a student that she helped during a difficult time in their life years earlier months or years later to thank her. She had an amazing ability to connect with people and help them through some of the most difficult times of their life.
Her home cooked meals were legendary, although she sometimes forgot to bake the rolls at Thanksgiving (a few times) or used the Easter tablecloth for Christmas dinner- both incidents her children would never let her forget. The dinner table was family time and was treasured. She also baked from scratch – a trait that only two of the daughters inherited- that would be the envy of any baker.
Her humor helped us navigate so many difficult times throughout our lives. Many Halloweens, she would full-on dress-up in costume for the kids at school- from a witch to a hobo to a clown- she was always “all in” with her costumes from head to toe and makeup too. Her infamous “look” put us all in our place without need for words- and all three daughters inherited the valued “look”. While she rarely drank most of her life, during a particularly difficult family game night of Michigan Rummy that she was losing, she made herself a drink announcing that she was starting to enjoy adult beverages. After numerous surgeries to repair a congenital heart defect, a smashed knee, etc., she proudly adopted the name “Franken-Mom” referring to her many scars. She wore her surgery scars with pride- they didn’t break her or define her- they just were there, as reminders of all the obstacles she overcame. Even during her final communion while at the hospital, she asked why she couldn’t have wine.
She was blessed with grandchildren, Katherine, David, Kirsten and Marcus as well as three great-grandchildren, Ava, Carter and Nash. Her time spent with them brought joy and laughter to everyone, but especially to her. She treasured them and loved them beyond imagination.
Pat was the wife, mom, grandma and great-grandma that everyone deserves and should have in their life, if you were so blessed. She gave the best hugs- because she was hugging you with not only her arms, but also with her heart. She gave really good advice, despite what the teenager in me wanted to believe. She was the best friend/ mom could ever be to us and the best friend to her husband of 58 wonderful years.
Pat was the kind of friend everyone should have in their life. She had many friends from kindergarten she kept in touch with and valued her whole life. Her cousins were amongst her closest friends- and her closest friends were like family. A second mom to many of our friends, Pat always had an open door for anyone who needed time, space, a bite to eat or an ear to listen.
Pat had wished for her body to be donated to help others as she believed her body was just a carrier and if she could help another, she would. While we will miss her voice and her smile, she will live forever in our memories and in our stories of her we will continue to share with others.
The family would like to thank the incredible team at Rennes Rehab during her many stays. For the team at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital that cared for her for the last weeks of her life, we are eternally grateful to you all for your boundless support, care and love for not only Pat, but also for the extraordinary care of our family the last week that allowed us to spend unlimited time with her.
In life and in death, Pat always found a way to donate, pay it forward or help someone smile. In lieu of flowers, the family has set up two memorials, one with American Heart Association Heartfelt Tribute and one with St. Jude’s Hospital https://fundraising.stjude.org/site/TR/GiftFunds/GiftFunds?px=7845231&pg=personal&fr_id=39300 .
Visitation will be held for Patricia from 4-6 PM on Monday, January 23, 2023 at Wichmann Funeral Home, 537 N. Superior St., Appleton, WI 54911, with a Vigil Service offiated at 6 PM by Rev. Mr. Lincoln Wood.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated for Patricia at 11 AM on Tuesday, January 24, 2023 at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 1810 N. McDonald St., Appleton, WI 54911 by Rev. Fr. Larry Seidl. Friends and family may visit at church from 9-11 to the time of the mass. Committal of Patricia's cremated remains will take place at a later date.
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