Patricia Jeanne (Steele) Skillings

DULUTH — Patricia Jeanne (Steele) Skillings passed away peacefully at age 92 on September 6, 2020 at the Franciscan Health Center in Duluth, Minnesota.

Pat was born on November 14, 1927 in Sacramento, CA, daughter of Irene (Contois) and Oliver “Bud” Steele. She grew up in St. Paul and attended Catholic elementary schools and graduated from St. Paul Central High School. She earned her degree in Education from the University of Minnesota.

Pat’s first teaching job was in a one-room school in Kanaranzi, Minnesota. She married Robert “Bob” Skillings in 1952. Early in their married life they joined the Catholic Worker Movement started by Dorothy Day where they shared in a commitment to peace, nonviolence, racial justice and the cause of the poor. Committed to education and the Catholic Church, they chose teaching careers in parochial schools in Bismarck, ND, Redwood Falls, and finally moving to New Ulm in 1967 where Pat taught Special Education and fifth grade, while continuing to raise their six children.

Pat enjoyed music, theater and dance. As a young girl she took dance and drama classes and learned to be a first-rate story-teller. Even a few months before her death, despite her dependence on her wheelchair, Pat enjoyed the dancing activities at the nursing home.

Throughout her life, Pat was a deeply spiritual person, which she passed on to her children. A true Seeker, she read and studied widely, while nurturing her deep faith in God.

Pat was preceded in death by her parents, granddaughter Tricia Skillings (1991), and her husband (2007). She is survived by daughters Mary Skillings (David Jensen) and Rebecca Ballard (Dave) of Duluth; sons Robert Jr. (Colleen) and T. Oliver (Jodi Anderson) of New Ulm; Daniel (Connie) of Bogota, Colombia; and David of Fremont, CA; her sister Nan Skelton (Peter Leach) of St. Paul; 18 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

Due to COVID-19 international travel restrictions a memorial Mass and burial will be held at a later date. Memorials are preferred to New Ulm Area Catholic Schools.