Patricia Koertge

Patricia Koertge

Patricia Ann Koertge: February 29, 1952- March 27, 2020 Rumford - Pat was born on Leap Year Day, 1952 to Anita Segersten Koertge and George W. Koertge of Nyack, NY. On her first birthday in 1953, she sang “Happy Birthday” in tune! Six months later she contracted Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Half of those hit died, and the other half were often institutionalized with extensive brain injuries, unable to walk or talk. Pat struggled to learn both. When her sister Barbara was 6 and Pat 3, Barbara began to teach her many things including how to tie her shoes. Barbara and Pat rewired her brain together, repurposing brain cells to compensate for those that were damaged. She learned phonics at age 7, and she taught herself to read and write when she was 16! For years Pat was able to hide the fact that she couldn't recognize faces or places, yet she wrote to a bus company, suggesting a more efficient route and they adapted it. She was not developmentally able to put herself in someone else's shoes, yet she she was a strong advocate for her workshop peers. Her letter to the editor caused a traffic light to be installed to save her peers who had to cross a busy highway. She was generous and chose thoughtful presents for anyone who had a birthday. She was gifted in math and could tell you what day of the week your birthday would be on in, say, 23 years. It was all too easy to see what was wrong with Pat, but those who looked closer, such as her adoptive family at Keep House, got to see a magnificent person who struggled proudly through life, giving and receiving love and amazing insight into how the human spirit can soar. She loved to teach, and she felt compelled to hide her struggles. As she was dying, Barbara told her that, when she saw a bright light, she should go to it. Pat, not having spoken anything intelligible in many hours said clearly, “I know.” That's just what she said in the life she led: “I know.” She passed on in the early hours of March 27th, with her sister Barbara and her loving staff with her. She was predeceased by her parents, and her brother Bill and sister Linda. She is survived by her sister Barbara Meldrum, her nephews Nils and Leif Devine, and Noah Meldrum; by her cousin Susan Richards and her cousin Richard McIntyre; and by her large adoptive family from Keep House and HOPE. Private interment will be in Nyack, NY. Memories may be shared in her Book of Memories at www.wilesrc.com. Cremation care has been provided by the Wiles Remembrance Center of Farmington.
February 29, 1952 - March 28, 202002/29/195203/28/2020
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