A Life Lived: Patti Treadway provided a raincoat when life’s storms came

Published 10:44 am Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Patti Treadway could do almost anything she set her mind to do, but she chose to teach young children and that is where she left her mark in this life. Patti, who passed away July 8 at the age of 69, taught kindergarten and Head Start at Happy Valley Elementary School for 35 years.
Her sister Meredith said, “Patti loved her students and worked tirelessly to provide them with an environment that was both educational and inspirational. She wanted them to not only learn, but to enjoy their school experience. She wanted every day to be their best day.”
A fellow teacher wrote: “Two of our children were fortunate to have Patti for their kindergarten teacher. Our oldest was terrified of the fire alarm, and I remember how incredibly kind and patient Patti was to her. She sat with her at lunch and encouraged her through this fear/phobia. I don’t think I’ve seen an educator so fair. All children, regardless of skill or socio-economic level, were important to her.”
A former student shared: “I will always remember her gentle nature and how she could make a five-year-old feel important and worthwhile. She was a very special person.”
In addition to Patti’s love for teaching she was very talented and artistic. Meredith said her sister enjoyed creating and teaching scrapbooking, and she made beautiful scrapbooks for her family and friends.
Patti, in addition to a teaching degree, also had a bachelor’s degree in interior design and from time to time enjoyed assisting family and friends with interior and design projects. “She had an uncanny ability to see color and better utilize space in a room or design project,” Meredith said.
And, that’s not all Patti could do and did. She enjoyed reading and wrote beautiful short stories. She was also a good storyteller. “She read books nonstop from an early age,” shared Meredith.
“I got in trouble in school for talking. Patti got into trouble for always having a book to read. She had one tucked away in every textbook, or under her desk. She always had a book under the table at dinner, under the bedcovers, in the car, and at the beach, and even at ballgames,” explained Meredith.
“I choose to remember my sister’s kindness, not just to the polite and well-behaved, but to everyone, especially the hurt or those unseen,” Patti’s sister shared, noting there had never been a Merri without a Patti. “She was my best and longest friend. We went together like peanut butter and jelly,” Meredith noted.
Patti was also athletic; she was a cheerleader and a good tennis player. She was also a youth sponsor at church and taught Sunday School and loved to go places with the church group.
Patti was also a caregiver. Meredith shared that her sister cared for their mother during her illness with Alzheimer’s. “I didn’t live in Elizabethton at the time. Patti took care of mother and their home. She retired early to do so,” Meredith shared.
Perhaps a line or two from the poem “The Raincoat” by Ada Limon best describes not only Meredith’s relationship with her sister, but Patti’s relationship with so many of her friends and former students: “My god, I thought, my whole life I’ve been under her raincoat thinking it was somehow a marvel that I never got wet.”
Hopefully, we all have a Patti Treadway in our lives — someone who shelters us from the rain and storms of lives and soothes our hurts and makes us comfortable.

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