September 19, 2008
Devoted daughter, wonderful sister, gifted teacher and citizen of the world, Patricia J. Raaf, died Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008, at her home. She was surrounded with the love of family, friends and Father Tom Dentici. A vigil prayer service was scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, at the Snowmass Community Chapel. All are welcome to share favorite memories at this service. A funeral mass will be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. Monday, Sept. 22, at St. Marys Catholic Church in Aspen.
Patty’s great devotion led her to spend the last five years of her life caring for her parents, Jim and Angela Raaf of Snowmass Village, making great personal sacrifices so that her parents could continue living in the home they loved. Caring for her parents was the greatest joy of Patty’s life, and she did so with extraordinary dedication.
Patty also was a citizen of the world. Born in Santiago, Chile, on April 6, 1958, she lived there until moving to Ecuador in 1965. In 1967, she moved to La Paz, Bolivia. She graduated with a B.A. in Education from St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., in 1981 and continued her studies toward a master’s in special education in California. She taught children in the primary grades in California, Bolivia, Columbia, Mali, Ethiopia and Brazil. A supremely gifted teacher, Patty loved her students as though they were her own children.
She also loved, respected, and deeply understood the people and the cultures in which she lived and visited. In addition to English, she spoke Spanish, Aymara (an Andean Indian language), German, French and Portuguese.
Patty filled the lives of those around her with laughter, joy, high spirits and love. She was a spark at every gathering. You never knew what was going to come out of her mouth. Her smile filled a room; the gleam in her eye brightened it. She has an amazing network of friends in countries around the world. During her lengthy illness, Patty found great comfort in reading their messages on http://www.thestatus.com that tracked her health.
Throughout her illness, Patty faced a difficult situation with courage, stubbornness and abiding good humor. She always will remain an inspiration to her family, friends and students.
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Patty is survived by her parents, Jim and Angela Raaf, her sisters and brothers-in-law, Angie and Jochen Widdel, Barbara and Rainer Wolff, Maria Elena and Scott Medlock, her twin Pam and Ivan Prince, and Susie Raaf, as well as all of her nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, gifts can be sent in memory of Patricia Raaf to UNICEF, the Christian Children’s Fund, or the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.