PATRICIA ANN HEENEY REICH Dec. 10, 1936 – Feb. 27, 2017
Patricia Ann Heeney Reich (Pat) was born December 10, 1936 in South Haven, KS to David Geeslin Heeney and Mary Ellen Burger. She lived a full life of spunk and sass and peacefully passed February 27, 2017 in Albuquerque, NM where she has resided since December 2014.
Born and raised in the farm country of southeast Kansas, Pat grew up with her two siblings and her cousins from both sides of the family; relationships she always treasured!
Pat’s musical interests formed at an early age, with an aptitude for playing the clarinet and the piano. Pat’s piano playing was heartfelt and she even had a way of covering up any missed notes played, usually with a knowing smile and a laugh. She was also a singer in every aspect of her life (choir, in the car, at the grocery store, etc.) and enjoyed a career as a professional piano player both in Oklahoma and in Albuquerque, NM. She was a strong alto in the White Rock United Methodist choir and the Los Alamos Choral Society and her voice carried throughout Bandelier Ave. whether it was time spent at one of her many piano parties at the house, at Christmas time to sing carols to the neighbors, or listening to any record in her vast collection of jazz, musicals, and big band classics. Pat loved playing piano for holiday and memorial services around the Los Alamos and Santa Fe communities, as well as for “paid gigs” with her buddies of My Blue Heaven Jazz Band.
Pat was the devoted, crazy-loving mother of three children. Motherhood came early to Pat, who tackled all the challenges of single parenthood in the 1950s with grace, charm, and wit. As she raised her children, Pat quickly became the “mom” of her children’s friends, sharing her baking and sewing talents with any who wanted and who shared her fancy clothes for “dress up”, as well as being the kind of Mom who many still consider as a friend. She was also a treasured mentor and source of guidance for many; whether that person was an employee, a neighbor, or family member. Pat loved spending the day on her patio reading the paper or a good book, or she could be found in her favorite chair after a day spent in the garden and walking to and fro in the neighborhood. One of her favorite haunts was the White Rock Senior Center for intense games of bridge and friendly banter. She was an astute cribbage player, a beloved family game, in which she had no qualms in taking any points her opponent didn’t count. She never refused a good cup of coffee, a good finger (or two) of whiskey, or a good joke!
Pat’s professional career first blossomed as an employee of Montgomery Ward in Oklahoma City, OK. Her savvy knowledge of numbers and customer service skills got her promoted to a new store being built in Albuquerque, NM at the Winrock Mall. By day, Pat was an accomplished bookkeeper and at night, a semi-professional piano bar player “back when Eubank was nothing but a dirt race track.” In Albuquerque, Pat befriended Mom Bern who, together with her four children and Jeff, raised the boys together forming a true sisterhood and redefined the meaning of family. It was in Albuquerque that she met and fell in love with her husband, Bruce, whom she married June 11, 1966. Over the years, the family moved to Minnesota, New York, and Kentucky as Bruce’s educational and professional pursuits guided them. In each locale, Pat volunteered with local charities while caring for her two daughters and developing life-long friendships with many she met.
Pat and her family first arrived in Los Alamos in 1978 and she immediately fell in love with the area and spoke often of her absolute joy of living in the mountains of New Mexico. She soon was employed at Los Alamos National Bank where she enjoyed a 20-year career in the bookkeeping department; ascending to an Assistant Vice Presidency and earning a Bachelor degree in Banking. Pat met and worked with many exceptional people during her professional tenure, ensuring that no trip around town was without seeing or greeting someone she knew. Bruce and Pat enjoyed 29 years of wedded life and love, travel and adventure, until his passing in 1995.
Pat is survived by her siblings, Mary Lou Boettcher of Mesa, AZ and John David Heeney of Batavia, OH (Mary); her children: Jeff Laird (Maria) of Albuquerque, NM; Laura Reich of Carmichael, CA; and Kate Reich (Warren) of Alexandria, VA. Pat adored her two grandchildren, Justin Laird and Samantha Reich, who also survive her along with her beloved nieces and nephews (Matt, Brenda, Sandra, Carol, and Ellen), 15 grandnieces and grandnephews, a great grandniece and great grandnephew, as well as the Burger and Heeney cousins of whom she was so fond of.
The family of Pat Reich thanks with tremendous affection the staff of Brookdale at Juan Tabo Place and AmberCare for their superb attention and care for her. We also endlessly thank her dear friends Mary McInerny, Barbara Digby, and Pat Summons for being her excellent friends and champions; always!
Cremation has taken place. A celebration of Pat’s life is scheduled for Saturday, March 11, 2017 at the First United Methodist Church, Los Alamos NM beginning at 2 p.m. followed by a reception in the Friendship Center. In lieu of flowers and to honor Pat’s memory, please consider donating in her name to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association at https://donatenow.heart.org/, or whistle or hum a tune that reminds you of her!
The family of Patricia A. Reich has entrusted the care of their loved one to the DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory of the Espanola Valley. 505.747.7477 www.devargasfuneral.com.