Cleo Patricia Whitsell passed away peacefully on May 15, 2015 with her son John by her side. She was born on April 23, 1932, the third daughter of Sylvia McKelvey and Beryl Price, in Durango, Colorado. As a young girl, her father sold his successful plumbing business in Durango and moved the family to Pocatello, Idaho where she grew up. In Pocatello, she was an excellent student winning academic awards and appearing in the local newspaper. She also became an accomplished musician on the piano. She would employ this skill throughout her life as an organist and piano teacher for her grandchildren. In junior high, she met John Louis Whitsell, her future husband. They became high school sweethearts. Pat started a degree in Pharmacy, which was interrupted when John and Pat decided to wed. They wed two years out of high school and were happily married for 58 years before John Whitsell passed away in 2009. They had seven children. John and Pat (as she was known) spent the next 40 some years moving around the country. John had joined the US Air Force during the Korean conflict. He moved the family between El Paso, TX and Colorado Springs. Once out of the Air Force, John and Pat made their home in El Paso. By this time, John and Pat had three children. After getting a Math degree, John Whitsell decided to become an Episcopalian priest. So the family moved to Berkeley, California, so he could attend Berkeley School of Divinity. While in California, John and Pat had three more children, losing one young son to SIDS. Once out of school, John Whitsell was assigned to start a parish in Albuquerque, New Mexico, so the family moved again. Pat was always very active in the parish with Sunday school and occasionally playing the organ. While in Albuquerque, John joined the US Navy Reserve. After getting the parish up and running, John and Pat moved to Las Vegas, New Mexico where he was the parish priest at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. John and Pat had their seventh and last child in Las Vegas, New Mexico. At this time, John decided to go active duty, so Pat and the family moved to San Diego. During John’s almost thirty years in the Navy, Pat and the family moved nearly every two years. Aside from San Diego, John and Pat were stationed in Corpus Christi, Great Lakes, Virginia Beach, Millington, Lemoore and Holy Loch, Scotland. Once retired, John and Pat made their permanent home in East Texas in Kilgore. It was at this time that John and Pat converted to Catholicism and John became a Catholic priest. Pat assisted John to establish a new parish, Our Lady, Queen of Angels in Overton, Texas. She became the organist and taught catechism. After John’s passing, Pat moved to Keller, TX to be closer to her children. Pat loved playing the organ in the local parish and teaching catechism. She also gave piano lessons to her granddaughter who lived nearby. She was an avid seamstress in her younger days, sewing all her children’s clothes. She loved having the grandkids over to the house to bake cakes and cookies. Pat also continued her own mother’s tradition of collecting teacups. Cleo Patricia Whitsell is survived by five of her children and their spouses, Paula Whitsell (husband Michael Gorski), John Beryl Whitsell (wife Suzanne), Roxanne Gonzales (husband Casey), Patrick P. Whitsell (wife Renee) and Melissa Jones (husband Steve). Pat is also survived by 14 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren and 3 great great grandchildren. She was predeceased by two of her children, Edward (infant), James Bennett Whitsell and his wife, Catherine Gallegos Whitsell, as well as the love of her life, John L. Whitsell. Cleo Patricia Whitsell leaves behind many tender and loving memories and will be sorely missed. Her rosary, funeral mass and interment is scheduled for May 26, 2015 beginning at 12:30pm to be held in the mausoleum chapel at Rosewood Park Cemetery, located at 1844 FM 1844, Longview, Texas.
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