DE PERE—Patricia Finder-Stone, 90, De Pere, died Tuesday, June 11 at Unity Hospice after a brief illness. She was a wife, mom, grandma, registered nurse, educator, veteran, community activist, and adventure traveler. Her life was one of involvement and passion for causes to which she was committed.
She was born January 27, 1929 in Platteville, Wis. to Marcella (Roseleip) and Arthur C. Finder, raised in Rock Springs, and graduated from Platteville High School after which she attended Columbia School of Nursing, Milwaukee. She was briefly employed as a psychiatric nurse at Cook County Hospital in Chicago but subsequently decided, with the Korean War in progress, to join the United States Air Force. Among her assignments, she proudly served at the Northeast Air Command in Narssarsuak, Greenland, an assignment she fondly remembers, not only for the nursing but also those off-duty hours spent hiking the glaciers or flying in formation over the fjords in Air Force planes. One of her memorable experiences was an invitation to dine aboard the ship of King Fredrik of Denmark, which later prompted her to get involved in the development of the museum at Narssarsuak.
Upon leaving the military, she married her dearest friend from her hometown area, Mark H. Stone. After living in Cazenovia, Two Rivers, and Mayville, Wis., they moved to Ashwaubenon where they raised their four children, later moving to De Pere as they neared retirement. Mark, a well-known and highly respected area school administrator, preceded her in death in 1997 after 43 years of marriage.
Pat returned to school to become an honors graduate of both UW-Green Bay (Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology/Gerontology) and UW-Madison (Master’s degree in Education/Bioethics). She received a National Endowment for the Humanities award for Interdisciplinary Ethics Study at Marquette University, and contributed chapters to its ethics publications. She was a Fellow in the Leadership Program of the Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C.
Patricia practiced her profession in many settings throughout her lifetime. In addition to her Air Force service, she taught nursing many years at the Bellin College of Nursing and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. The love and respect which she shared with her students was a significant part of her life. She was recognized by both NWTC and the State Technical College Association as Teacher of the Year.
Pat was well known and deeply involved in health care issues. As such, she was a frequent consultant and lecturer throughout the state on issues relating to public policy, ethics, cancer, aging, loss and grief, and health care.
Pat received numerous awards for her activities, including the American Cancer Society National St. George Award, the William Heraly McDonald Award and JCPenney Golden Rule Award for community service and the Zonta Award for science and technology. Her selection as a UW-Green Bay Distinguished Alumnus was an honor that she cherished, as was her selection as Badger of the Year for the Wisconsin Alumni Association – Brown County Chapter.
An active member of the Wisconsin Nurses Association, she chaired the Public Policy Council, served on its Ethics Commission and was honored as Legislative Nurse of the Year. She was a board member and past president of the Northeastern Wisconsin District Nurses Association, chairing its legislative committee for many years.
In addition to her nursing activities, Pat was an active community volunteer. Memorable leadership roles included Saint Mary’s and St. Vincent’s Hospital Advisory Board (as well as its legislative and ethics committee); Brown County Aging and Disability Resource Center Board (Chair), Bay Area Community Council (past President), ASPIRO (past President and legislative chair); Bay Area Community Health Programs, United Way of Brown County, Start Smart, Brown County Board of Health, De Pere Board of Health, Brown County Unified Board, Northeastern Wisconsin Health Systems Agency, Brown County Visiting Nurses Association, Planned Parenthood, and Greater Green Bay Community Foundation.
She was well known for her involvement with the League of Women Voters of Greater Green Bay, where she served as President, Board Member, and Action Chair for years. She also served on the State Board of the League of Women Voters and chaired its Legislative Committee for many years. She was a past president and public policy chair of the American Association of University Women-Green Bay Area Branch and chaired its state Voter Education Committee.
Pat worked diligently to focus on issues. She was the lead plaintiff in the highly publicized “caucus scandal” to promote accountability in state government and took pride in being a governor appointee (by both Republican and Democratic governors) to the Wisconsin Health Policy Council, Wisconsin Tobacco Control Board, Wisconsin Supreme Court Commission on Judicial Ethics and Elections, Governor’s Health Care Workforce Shortage Committee. Governor’s Pharmacy Reimbursement Commission, Wisconsin Department of Health & Human Services Healthy Wisconsin 2010, Governor’s Health Quality and Safety Council, and the Wisconsin Board on Aging and Long-Term Care.
Woven throughout her personal and professional life was her mission to educate people about the negative effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure. Her appointment by the Governor to the Wisconsin Tobacco Control Board followed years of involvement with both the Wisconsin and Brown County Tobacco-Free Coalitions. She also served on the American Cancer Society Midwest Division Advocacy Council and Tobacco Strategy Team as well as volunteered for leadership positions within the ACS.
Throughout her life Pat had high respect for all involved in military service – from her father’s service in WWI, to three of her children’s service as well as that of two grandchildren. She held longtime memberships in the American Legion-Madeline LaCanne Women’s Post #539, AMVETS, and MOAA (Military Officers Assn. of America).
She was passionate about issues related to human rights and was a member of the Coalition to Promote Respect, Vision of Race Unity, Common Cause, Wisconsin Council of Human Concerns, and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Her interest in issues related to aging was reflected by her service on the boards of the Brown County Aging Resource Center, Bay Area Agency on Aging, Wisconsin Board on Aging & Long-Term Care, Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups.
She also served on the State Governmental Affairs Committee, the State Coordinating Council, and the Executive Council of AARP-WI before being appointed to two terms as AARP-WI State President. She was also appointed by Congressman Mark Green as delegate to the White House Conference on Aging in 2005 and later invited to Washington, DC to testify before Senator Herb Kohl’s Committee on Aging.
In addition to her activist pursuits in the community, she was a worldwide adventure traveler, having visited the Soviet Union as well as Eastern Europe during the Cold War, China, Tibet, Japan, Korea, Panama, Costa Rica, South America, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Antarctica, Cuba, the middle East, India, South Africa, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Thailand, Morocco, Polynesia, and all 50 states.
Survivors include daughters, Teresa (Leslie) Gulyas, De Pere, Wis.; and Susan (Andrew) Crane, Big Canoe, Ga.; sons, Capt. Mark (Julia) Stone, USN-Ret, Grayslake, Ill.; and Matthew (Jocelyn) Stone, Fairbanks, Ark.; grandchildren Ted, Katie, and Lt. David Gulyas, USN, Robert and Emily Crane; and Will and Alina Stone. Pat’s children and her grandchildren were the treasures of both Pat and her late husband Mark who preceded her in death, as did her only sister Mary Farber.
Family and friends may visit at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 220 S Michigan St, De Pere, beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 15, 2019. A Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 11:00 a.m. with Father Paul Demuth officiating. Full Military Honors will follow the Mass. Burial will take place at a later date at Veterans Cemetery in King, Wis.
RYAN FUNERAL HOME, De Pere is assisting the family. Please visit www.ryanfh.com to send online condolences.
In memory of Pat, get active in the community, vote regularly, smile often, listen to your kids, work toward compromise, protect our environment, forgive mistakes, hug each other, and love a lot.
Ryan Funeral Home
305 N. Tenth Street
De Pere, Wisconsin 54115