Patricia “Pat” Agnes Mastromonaco of Vineyard Haven died peacefully, surrounded by her family, on October 18, 2011 at Eagle Pond Rehabilitation and Living Center in South Dennis, following a long illness. She was 80.
Pat was known for her quick wit and sense of humor, her independent, feisty spirit, and her steel determination, despite all the odds she faced in her illness.
Pat was born to William Edward Roche III and Ruth Thompsen Roche on February 24, 1931, in the Bronx, New York. She was the middle child of the family’s three daughters.
Growing up with a large extended family, Pat had many fond memories of her childhood. She was especially devoted to her maternal grandmother, Hilma Anderson Thompsen, who had come to America from Sweden with her twin sister.
As a young woman, Pat enjoyed her independence employed as a map-maker on Wall Street. In 1951 she married Dominick Anthony Mastromonaco III. In 1959 Dominick and Pat moved their growing family from the Bronx to Dobbs Ferry, New York, in Westchester County.
Pat was very busy raising her five children, doing everything from sewing costumes for school plays to helping at Little League games and always baking up her famous treats.
Through the years Pat stayed in close contact with her two sisters and their families, enjoying Broadway plays, gatherings for holidays, and summer vacations.
Pat and her family with all their pets especially cherished their beautiful summers at the family’s log cabin on Smallwood Lake in the Catskill Mountains. (This being the site of the infamous Woodstock Festival, Pat was one of the first moms to experience the arrival of the hippie generation.)
Since she was a child, Pat kept a special place in her heart for any and all animals, rescuing many strays and keeping them as pets, to her husband’s dismay and her children’s delight. A natural born writer, Pat wrote many poems and stories about her children and her pets.
Pat had compassion for the sick and suffering, always reaching out to help the down and out. For many years she assisted in setting up programs and safe houses for alcoholic men and women in Westchester and Sullivan counties. Most notably Pat was a leading light with her dear friend, Marge, in founding a support group for alcoholic women incarcerated at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, the only maximum security prison for women in New York State. She received many letters and cards from the inmates she came to know, which Pat treasured all of her life.
After raising her children, Pat decided to fulfill her dream to live full time, in the family’s summer home, where she could live a peaceful life and enjoy the beauty of the Catskill Mountains. In the early 1980s while walking their dogs around Smallwood Lake, Pat and her good friend, Barbara Nolan, discovered raw sewage in the lake. Now, there was no slowing down for Pat as she and Barbara and many others spent years struggling with state officials to clean up the lake and repair the treatment plant that had been discharging high levels of sewage into one of the lake’s tributaries. Finally winning their cause, Pat was relieved that Smallwood Lake was being restored before more fish and wildlife died, and that the inhabitants of the little hamlet had begun to feel safe swimming in their beloved lake again.
In 1987 Pat moved to Martha’s Vineyard to be near all of her children and grandchildren. She spent many glorious summer days on State Beach in get-togethers with her daughters and many other young mothers as their children played tirelessly against the backdrop of sea and dunes. She also spent many wonderful times with her sons and their families. As the matriarch of her family, they were blessed to have spent the past 24 years with her nearby.
Profoundly influenced by the works of Catherine Marshall (whose famous husband was twice appointed as U.S. Senate Chaplain) Pat developed a strong Christian faith. Sometimes when going through a particularly difficult trial, Pat would laugh and say, “I wish God would go and love someone else.” Pat’s faith in a loving and personal God, who was always close by, sustained her through the unexpected death of her 26-year-old son. As she grew weary near the ebb of her life, Pat was never afraid of dying. She believed that she was just a pilgrim passing through this life, and that her real home was being prepared for her in Heaven. Pat loved hearing the Bible read to her when she could no longer read it herself, and during her last days, through struggling breaths, and with some guidance, she would recite the 23rd Psalm.
She will be greatly missed by her children, grandchildren, and extended family.
Pat was predeceased by her parents; her husband, Dominick; her son, Leonard; and her sister, Ruth “Riki” Adelberg, and her nephew, Stephen Adelberg.
She is survived by her children and grandchildren: Linda Guilford and her husband, Mark, of Vineyard Haven and granddaughter Ruth “Ruthie” Guilford; son Dominick Mastromonaco IV and his wife, Brenda, and grandson Josiah Mastromonaco of Oak Bluffs; daughter Donna Paulson of Vineyard Haven, and grandchildren Naomi, Sarah, Joshua, and Tyler Paulson; and son, Kenneth Matromonaco and his wife, Martina, of West Tisbury, and grandchildren, Jamie and Kayla Mastromonaco.
She is also survived by her sister, Joyce Rubenstein of Brookline, and nieces and nephews, Denise Gibson, Keri Archambeault, Chloe Adelberg, Seth Rubenstein, Bryan Rubenstein; cousin, Joseph O’Hannigan, and many others in her extended family.
A service celebrating Pat’s life will be held on Saturday, November 5, 2011, at 1 pm at Vineyard Assembly of God, State Road, in Vineyard Haven. The service will be officiated by her son-in-law, the Rev. Dr. Mark D. Guilford, pastor of Martha’s Vineyard Bible Church. (For more information call 508-693-4031.)
Those who would like to share thoughts, prayers, and memories are invited to visit the family’s online guestbook at: www.ccgfuneralhome.com.
Donations in Patricia’s memory may be made to Martha’s Vineyard Helping Homeless Animals, 25 June Avenue, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 or The Vineyard House, PO Box 4599, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6).