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Patricia Kraske

Patricia M. Kraske passed away on October 12, 2013, at the age of 85.

She was born April 15, 1928, to Reverend Raymond and Arabella Muthard, and grew up in Lyons Falls, New York. She married William “Bill” A. Kraske in 1948. Bill passed away in 2009. 

Pat was assistant to the dean of Lewis & Clark Law School for over 30 years. She loved her job and retired only at 78. 

A renowned hostess, Pat was an active volunteer, especially with the Junior League of Vancouver, British Columbia.

She is survived by a daughter, Pamela; a son, David; and the extended Kraske family.

Stephen Kanter, Lydia Loren, Patricia Kraske, and Jim Huffman at Pat's retirement party.Stephen Kanter, Lydia Loren, Patricia Kraske, and Jim Huffman at Pat's retirement party.

Dean Emeritus Jim Huffman Remembers a Dear Friend

One winter evening after yet another dinner event at the law school, I came upstairs to my office to collect my things and head for home.

Of course Pat had been at the event. In fact, and as usual, Pat was largely responsible for making sure the event went smoothly. She was at her desk on the phone. Her husband, Bill, was slumped on the couch outside my office door. I could tell from Pat’s side of the conversation that she was making arrangements to deliver leftover food to the women’s shelter downtown—the opposite direction from her home in Lake Oswego. When she got off the phone I told her she was amazing. Bill immediately interjected, “No, Jim, I’m amazing. I live with her.”

And what a pleasure that must have been. It was certainly a pleasure working with Pat throughout my time at Lewis & Clark, particularly during my 13 years as Pat’s assistant. In a very real sense, I’m not kidding. Pat knew the dean’s job better than anyone who ever occupied the office. I would have been lost without her.

I first met Pat when she arrived in the mid-1970s as assistant to Dean Fred Fagg. For the next three decades she served five deans with the well-honed skills of one trained at a Katharine Gibbs school, the unbending scruples of a preacher’s daughter, and the flair and style of Madison Avenue. Even Pat could not be everywhere, but wherever she was she made sure that every visitor, student, and employee felt welcome, and confident that their needs would be met.

Pat was a woman of infinite patience. She had to be. Law students are often anxious and faculty members are sometimes overbearing. In 13 years I never saw her lose her cool and calm demeanor in public or at her desk—not because she was not sometimes irritated, but because it would be bad manners to be anything but pleasant and respectful. (The truth is that every once in a while Pat would come into my office, close the door, and vent a little about someone who had been particularly rude or badly behaved. Or because she wanted to say something Republican.)

Pat was a stickler for form, no doubt a product of her Katie Gibbs training. I offered to appoint her “Maven of Form and Style” for the law school, but she declined. Pat was also a practical person who understood that time was passing and rules were changing.

I once bought Pat a sweater while on a trip to Scotland. She wore it, because she was a lady of good manners. But I always worried that it had been a mistake to purchase clothing for a woman of impeccable style. After that I stuck to homemade jam for her and a bottle of scotch for Bill. 

I don’t recall that Pat ever missed a day of work. In fact, Pat was committed 24/7 to doing whatever was needed—whether it was in the office or driving folks to the airport, delivering food to the women’s shelter, and picking up flowers for an evening’s event. But most of all she was committed to being part of a community dedicated to educating young people. In many ways Pat was the glue for that community for more than three decades.

We all lost a great friend with Pat’s passing, but we have more memories that we can count. It could be no other way with a woman who was tireless in living life to its fullest.

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