Mary Patricia Umberger, known fondly to friends and family as “Pat,” passed away on May 23, 2017, at the age of 84. Born on April 1, 1933, in Owaneco, Illinois, Pat was a resident of San Francisco’s Russian Hill for more than five decades. Known as the “mayor” of her block on Union Street, Pat was fond of offering unsolicited advice to passers-by and was known to chase down tourists or anyone holding a map, to point them in the right direction. Her infectious and outgoing personality earned her scores of friends over the years, many of whom became like family.
Pat attended Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois and later moved to Saint Louis, then New York City, where she worked as an administrative assistant for the director of Sloan-Kettering Hospital. In 1961, Pat moved to San Francisco where she worked at Western Girl Temp Agency, performing her duties so adeptly, one coworker recalled that Pat could transcribe shorthand, listen to a baseball game and make a personal phone call simultaneously. Pat’s ability to type 128 words per minute also earned her the nickname “Lightning” with one boss. She later became a transcriber for the state of California’s Public Utilities Commission where she worked for more than twenty years.
Always with a book and a newspaper, Pat was a wellspring of knowledge and had a colorful and at times, biting sense of humor. At dinner parties, she held court and could muster witticisms and zingers at will. She never married or had children but imprinted her influence on the lives of her countless friends and acquaintances. In retirement, she had the occasion to travel to countries across the globe and she made friends everywhere she went.
Pat was preceded in death by her parents Thales L. and Lucille Morgan Umberger, her brother James L. Umberger, and her nephew Russell Umberger. She is survived by her brother William M. Umberger and her niece Gena Miller, both of Iowa, Louisiana, her nephew James M. Umberger and her niece Katie Burtle, both of Taylorville, Illinois, along with a number of grand-nephews and nieces.
She is also survived by a number of close friends including neighbors Dr. Michael and Monika Small and their daughters Nina and Maia, who stayed faithfully by Pat’s bedside during her final days. Pat’s family is grateful to the Smalls for their love and care of Pat, and to Doctors Bertrand Y. Tuan and Lester B. Jacobson at California Pacific Medical Center.
A memorial service will be held at Iowa Methodist Church in Iowa, Louisiana. Remembrances can be made to Saint Anthony’s Foundation in San Francisco.