Patricia Thornquist Hannagan Edison, age 94, of Grand Rapids passed away on Friday, April 15, 2022, after a short illness. Pat was preceded in death by her husband of fifty years, William (Bill) H. Edison, in 2000.
Born in Grand Rapids, Pat was a nearly lifelong resident and supporter of East Grand Rapids. It was in high school at East that Pat discovered her passion for volunteerism by leading an effort to sell War Bonds during WWII. At the University of Michigan, Pat majored in English and Journalism and was a member of the Delta Gamma sorority. She graduated in 1949 as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the oldest academic honor society in the United States. Pat was also a member of Phi Kappa Phi, an honor society that recognizes superior scholarship. These prestigious distinctions demonstrated her exceptional academic achievements and keen intellect, as well as foreshadowed her dynamic career in leadership and philanthropy.
Her late husband Bill described Pat as a “professional volunteer.” Pat served as a member of various boards in Grand Rapids including Aquinas College, Butterworth Hospital, the Porter Hills Foundation, and the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. Pat led the Grand Rapids Community Foundation as its first female Executive Director from 1980 – 1986. She was acting Executive Director of the Frey Foundation from 1988 – 1990. Pat’s other commitments included serving as President of Junior League of Grand Rapids and President of the East Grand Rapids Public Schools Board of Education. She also served as a member of the City of East Grand Rapids Planning Commission from 1976 – 1980.
A member of Grace Episcopal Church throughout her adult life, and a member of the Vestry from 1979 – 1981, Pat was a woman of profound and deep faith, which comforted her throughout her entire life and especially in her final days. Pat also enjoyed longtime membership at Kent Country Club, where she loved to meet friends for an afternoon of bridge and (occasionally) a round of golf with Bill. Curious by nature and an avid reader, Pat embodied the definition of a “lifelong learner,” which even extended to embracing current technology to adapt to physical challenges during what she called her “battle against old age.”
Pat was the kind of person we all strive to be. She personified graciousness, elegance, thoughtfulness, generosity of heart, positivity, intentionality, and perseverance. Simply put, Pat was beautiful inside and out. She loved her family and friends dearly, and she loved the community to which she was devoted. But most of all she loved Bill whom she met at age 17 and with whom she formed a remarkable partnership and love story. Pat will be deeply missed.
Pat’s legacy continues through the lives of her three devoted children John (Louise “Punky”) Edison, Barbara (Michael) Pemberton, and Stephen (Monica) Edison; seven adoring grandchildren Patty (Vincent) Racco, Michael Edison (partner Meaghan Cotter), David (Katie) Edison, Kyle (Stacey) Moore, Julie (Eric) French, Maggie Edison and Grace Edison; and thirteen wonderful great-grandchildren Cira, Mia and Nadia Racco, Bailey, Liam and Lila Edison, Avery, Rylee, Maddie and Charlie Edison, Lillian Moore, and Eli and Henry French. Pat also leaves behind sister-in-law Mrs. John S. (Penny) Edison, and many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to extend special thanks to the staff at Porter Hills, and especially Paige Hendrickson, Linda Gaffin, and Kris Bennett for their exceptional friendship and care.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, April 23 at 11:00 am at Grace Episcopal Church (1815 Hall Street, SE Grand Rapids). The family will receive friends at the church beginning at 10:00 am.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Porter Hills Foundation or Grace Episcopal Church.
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Grand Rapids Community Foundation
185 Oakes St. S.W., Grand Rapids MI 49503
Grace Episcopal Church
1815 Hall St. SE, Grand Rapids MI 49506
Porter Hills Foundation Benevolent Fund
4450 Cascade Rd. S.E., Grand Rapids MI 49546