Patricia Ashley Elmer Appel passed away Monday, September 30, 2019 at the age of 100, one day short of her 101st birthday. Pat was born October 1, 1918 to Manuel (Pat) Conrad and June Ashley Elmer in Lawrence, KS. She was predeceased by her sister Dr. Anne June Elmer Strong and brother Dr. Glaister Ashley Elmer.
On August 9, 1941 Pat married Ralph Lach Appel; they were married over 61 years until Ralph passed away in 2002. Pat had two much loved sons, Roy Elmer Appel (2014), grandchildren Marilee Appel and Richard Appel and great grandchildren Ryan Appel and Nicole Appel of Somerset, PA. and Robert Ashley Appel (2018), wife Kathleen Appel and granddaughter Ashley Appel of Winter Garden, FL. and niece Georgeanne Beck of Broomfield, CO..
At the age of eight Pat’s family moved to Pittsburgh, PA, where she was a 1936 graduate of Edgewood High School. In 1940 she graduated with honors from the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in English, Advertising and Sociology. In 1941 Pat received her M.B.A. in Retail Training at the University of Pittsburgh where her father was head of the Sociology Department. Pat was the associate editor of the year book, a member of Motor Board, Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, president of the Student Women’s Government Association and received the Junior Spoon Award as outstanding Junior Woman in 1939 (most popular among her fellow-students).
In 1941 Pat married Ralph Lach Appel and they had a wonderful marriage for 61 years until his death in 2002. During World War II she worked at various jobs including managing a laundry, as civilian head of the officers pay section at Camp Reynolds, PA and ended the final years of WWII as administrative assistant at the Petroleum Industry War Council in Washington, DC where Ralph was stationed at the Pentagon. After the war Pat and Ralph returned to the Pittsburgh area where she kept busy with volunteer work as a member of the American Red Cross, University of Pittsburgh Alumni Board, and the Board of Federation of Women’s Club. While she lived in McMurray, PA, Pat helped organize and worked in the public library, and helped organize and set up the library at the New Pleasant Valley grade school where her sons attended school. She was past president of the South Hills Woman’s Club; Zeta Tau Alpha Alumni Association; and a charter member of the McMurray PTA. Pat was active in the McMurray Art League and in her 50s she began seriously pursuing her love of painting. She painted until the age of 100, gifting many family members and friends with her beautiful work. In 1970 Pat took 2nd place at the Washington, PA County Fair with her entry of “Outer Banks” and contributed her painting of the 2011 Space Shuttle Launch to an exhibit at the Southwest branch of the Orange County Library System.
Pat began volunteering at Cape Canaveral Hospital in 1982 where she served more than 100 hours over 25 years with the Cocoa Beach Hospital Auxiliary and was chosen as Star Volunteer – 2nd Quarter 2007. She served her Cocoa Beach community as a member of the Shilah Temple No. 151; Daughters of the Nile, Melbourne, FL; Cocoa Beach Seaside Lioness Club, was a member of the Azan Yacht Club, the Cocoa Beach Garden Club, the Brevard Symphony Central Guild and volunteered at the Cocoa Beach Library. Pat was a lifelong member of the Presbyterian Church, most recently as a member of Riverside Presbyterian Church in Cocoa Beach where she was a member of the Hannah Circle and Riverside Presbyterian Choir.
Pat’s dedication to her community ranged from planting trees to saving newly born Sea Turtles. She was a caretaker of family; taking her father when he was in his 90s to an Elmer family reunion in Wisconsin; caring for her mother-in-law for over 10 years and caring for her family well into her 90s. Pat loved flowers and graced her home with a beautiful flower garden. She was a voracious reader, reading several books a week and took great joy when the neighborhood children would visit to paint with “Miss Pat”.
A memorial service will be held at Riverside Presbyterian Church, Cocoa Beach, on November 23, 2019 at 11:00 a.m.
Pat will be greatly missed by family and friends. May she rest in peace. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to one of the Riverside Presbyterian Church’s missions.