SEYMOUR – Indiana officials are honoring former Indiana First Lady Patricia (Pat) Whitcomb, who died earlier this week in Seymour at the age of 91.
She served as First Lady during her husband, Ed Whitcomb’s tenure as governor for four years beginning in 1969.
Gov. Eric Holcomb, who ordered flags to be flown at half-staff, issued a statement Wednesday, June 30.
He recalled that she loved to travel and made it a point to visit all 92 counties in Indiana, twice, a statement from Holcomb said.
“I loved that she learned how to greet people in many different languages so she could communicate with the world as she loved meeting new people from all corners always defining our signature Hoosier Hospitality,” he said.
“Pat Whitcomb served Hoosiers during her time as First Lady with honor and grace. Janet and I extend our condolences to the Whitcomb family.”
According to the governor’s directive, flags should be flown at half-staff from now until sunset on Monday, July 12. He also asks businesses and residents to lower their flags to half-staff.
Below are details from parts of the family’s obituary:
A graduate of Greenfield High School and Ward Belmont College in Nashville, Tenn., Pat joined the Fashion Board at L.S. Ayres upon graduation. Modeling in the Tea Room, she caught the eye of young State Senator Ed Whitcomb. After a three-month courtship, they married.
That began a journey that would take them to all 92 counties in Indiana several times and to all corners of the world. Eager to engage with people everywhere she went, Pat learned courtesy phrases in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Japanese, Tagalog and German. From their lovely home in Seymour, Indiana, Pat made everything she touched beautiful and meaningful.
She was active in her community. She regularly volunteered at the Thrift Shop, operated by her sorority, Psi Iota Zi. The same horticultural skills that she used to landscape the grounds of their home earned her the presidency of the All-Thumbs Garden Club. A leader of her daughter’s Brownie troop and as a Sunday School teacher, Pat was a role model of grace and intelligence.
The consummate partner, Pat helped Ed build his law career, his political base, and was responsible for getting his first book published. All the while, she managed the household of five children and their numerous pets with the help of her mother-in-law, Louise; Anna Habenicht, their live-in housekeeper; and Nancy Endicott Parker, a college student who supervised the children when Pat and Ed were on the campaign trail and serving the state as Governor and First Lady.
Life after politics took Pat into the business world with her mother and brother. They operated a successful Honey Baked Hams franchise in Toluca Lake, Calif. During that time, she and Ed divorced, and Pat lived in Toluca Lake until the late 1980s. She then moved back to Indiana where she continued her passion for the arts, gardening and being with her children and grandchildren.
Pat is survived by her children: Trish Whitcomb (Russ Sipes), Ann (John) Guggenheim, Shelley Whitcomb, Alice Carfagno, and John (Terri) Whitcomb and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are pending with the Winklepeck and Brock Funeral Home, Brownstown, Indiana. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Community Diner of Seymour at the First Methodist Church in Seymour.