Patricia Ann Gareau, 63, of Dunlap passed away at 10:35 a.m. on Monday, March 2, 2020, at the OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice Home in Peoria, surrounded by her family, after a 14-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
Pat was born on February 20, 1957, in Kewanee to Thomas and Pauline Wicker. They preceded her in death. She married Brian Gareau on August 31, 1984, in Peoria.
She is survived by her loving husband, Brian, who walked with her side-by-side for more than 35 years. Her most proud legacy is her family: daughter, Brandi (Jeff) Clark; son, Benjamin (Stephanie) Gareau; daughter, Kelsey (Allen) Sepich; and her 6 grandchildren, Evan and Camden Clark, Reagan, Addison and Barrett Gareau and Nolan Sepich. She left them a foundation of faith, love, forgiveness and compassion.
Pat graduated from Wyoming High School in 1975 and immediately went on to cosmetology school and worked for 13 years as a hair dresser before taking a break from her career to be a stay-at-home mom. Later, she went on to complete an associate's degree from Lehigh Community College in Pennsylvania and completed a multi-year course of study at Garrett – Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL.
She went on to serve many congregations as a licensed local pastor in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of the United Methodist Church. Since her retirement, she continued to serve as a volunteer member of the care team of Crossroads United Methodist Church, visiting members in hospitals and nursing homes, as well as visiting shut-ins in their homes. The key word being "service." Pat touched so many lives during difficult and painful times and was known for being kind, caring, compassionate and a source of calm to those she visited. That gift carried through all the way to the last days of her life as she continued to have a profound impact on all those who cared for her in the last 6 weeks of her life at the Hospice Home.
Pat enjoyed reading, knitting, sewing and, in recent years, had picked up quilting. She and Brian enjoyed both national and international travel, especially over the last several years since their retirement. She loved the water and it was her dream to live where she could see water from her house. That dream became a reality in 2017 when Pat and Brian built a home with a pond right outside their back door. Some of her best times were on their many trips to Pensacola Beach with her children and grandchildren, who called her "Nana," and at Lake Redstone in Wisconsin, with friends who became family.
Per her wishes, cremation rites have been accorded. A memorial service will be held on Friday, March 6, 2020, at 5 p.m. at Crossroads United Methodist Church in Washington. Visitation will be held 2 hours prior to the service, beginning at 3 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, Pat has asked that memorials be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (www.pancan.org) or Crossroads United Methodist Church.