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Davis, Patricia Carol

by Constance Davis

Patte was born in Juneau in 1928. Her musical education started at home at an early age. When she was about ten years old, Patte was fortunate to have a professional cellist live across the street. Patte and her sister, Shirley, decided to take cello lessons. Later, the school orchestra gained a much needed cello section.

Patte was very active in high school, not only with music but also with the photo and rifle clubs, cheerleading, student council and the J-Bird editorial staff. She directed a Christmas pageant at church which aroused her interest in working with children and eventually led to her decision to get a Masterís degree in Music Education. During this period, Patte also learned the art of tinting under her fatherís tutelage.

After graduation from high school, Patte studied for three years at the Chicago Musical College, and included art classes at the Chicago Art School. She met James Bidwell at the college. Later they married and worked in Juneau. A son was born to them but only lived a few months. Also, the marriage was short-lived, and Patte decided to go to New York City to continue her work on the cello. Patte earned her BM degree in two years time.

Back in Juneau, she obtained a summer job with the Fish & Wildlife Service and planned a September concert with her sister, Sylvia. She scheduled a return to New York City to enter Columbia University where she wanted to earn a Masterís Degree in Music Education. During the last week of August, the FWS biologists were going to Sitka for a fisheries hearing and asked Patte if she would like to come as Secretary.

Patte thought it would be an opportunity to see the orthopedic doctor at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital because she was often in back pain. They traveled in the FWS plane, a Grumman Goose. On the way back to Juneau, they took an extra few minutes to view salmon escapement near Seymour Canal on Admiralty Island. Suddenly, the plane crashed. Patte died with four others. One employee survived It was the first FWS accident in fifteen years of flying. The final conclusion was that somehow the engines were not getting enough fuel and stopped. If there had been any warning, the pilot would have sought water for a landing.

Patte was 25 years of age. She died on September 1, 1954 and is buried next to her parents and baby son in the Evergreen Cemetery.

Patricia Carol Davis

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