Born in 1930 in Bartlesville Oklahoma to Robert and Loretta (Shields) Steele of Patterson New Jersey. Pat spent her childhood traveling between Oklahoma, California and Rhode Island. Her Father, a chauffeur and auto mechanic for a wealthy oil executive, brought his family with him everywhere they went. Pat remembered riding horses at the ranch, and gigantic breakers on the beach from hurricanes in Rhode Island. She always drew and wanted to be an artist.
Her early twenties found her in Denver attending art school when she met and married John Sitar of Lucerne Pennsylvania a budget analyst at the Naval oil reserve. They soon moved to Arlington Virginia where their four daughters were born; Theresa, Diane, Jean, and Hallie. Pat embraced the life of a suburban housewife and mother and always had a house full of kids. Her's and the neighbor's for whom she was a scout leader in brownies and girl scouts where she used the moniker 'Woody the owl'. She was also active in her local catholic parish. Wanting excitement she and a neighbor would occasionally hop in the car and follow the sound of a fire truck to see where the action was. Later she was secretary to Sr. Carrie Schindler, the CCD coordinator at St. Anne's parish.
By the early seventies her marriage was on the rocks and she discovered the Church of the Savior. She attended "The School of Christian Living" in 1974 and soon was employed as secretary to Gordon Crosby and Elizabeth O'Connor. Later she was secretary for Jubilee Housing where she was the hub of activity for the office. She also was a member of the Kilborn House intentional community, a sort of group house where the members tried to live in a way consistent with their Christian calling.
By 1985 she became concerned that not enough was being done to address the needs of the children living in the Jubilee Housing buildings, She always before had been a behind the scenes person, supporting but never leading. Finally with encouragement from Gordon Cosby, Bill Branner and Alan Goetcheus she sounded her call for an organization to directly address the needs of the children. Barbara Moore responded to the call and together they formed Good Shepherd Ministries. They built Good Shepherd in to an organization with four centers and a staff of 10 with dozens of volunteers serving a hundred children on a daily basis.
In 1998 at age 67 cardiovascular problems emerged and Pat required a triple heart by-pass operation. Before she could recover from that more vascular problems resulted in the loss of her legs below the knee. She retired from the directorship of Good Shepherd, and moved to an apartment at Sarah's Circle. She took up her art work again. She taught art classes for seniors and children . She prepared work for an art show which raised funds for Good Shepherd. Her bravery and cheerfulness in the face of her disability made her a hero through out the community.
In 1999 she received the James and Patty Rouse Award. Rhonda Buckley the director of Good Shepherd's Music Center decided to spin that center off as a separate, partnering organization, to address the artistic needs of children and adults in the community. She named the new organization the Patricia M Sitar Center for the Arts.
By the Fall of 2001 Pat's cardiovascular disease had spread to her kidneys and had caused an aortic anuerism. She was no longer able to keep up with her former activities. On Nov 7, 2001 she she died quickly and painlessly, probably from the rupture of her aortic anuerism. Over two hundred and fifty people attended her memorial service. It was a testament to the many lives she had touched by the people she had loved and who had loved her.
The rich and colorful personality of Patricia M. Sitar was created under the expansive, open skies of Oklahoma. Married to John Sitar in Denver, Colorado, she brought her expansive nature across the U.S. to Arlington, Virginia in 1953, raising a family of four daughters, in the Washington metropolitan area that she loved because it fed her active and creative spirit.
She was reborn into a new life, this time into the Life of Christ, at Saint Anne's Parrish as secretary and CCD coordinator under Sister Carrie Schindler, her long time friend. She then began to flourish at the Church of the Saviour working as secretary to Gordon Cosby and Elizabeth O'Connor, attending the School of Christian Living, and becoming increasingly active in the church's many ministries. Her response in answering a Call to aid and benefit Adams Morgan's 'at risk' children by founding Good Shepard Ministries with Barbara Moore, serving many neighborhood children on a daily basis.
As a talented and accomplished artist in her own right, she understood the enormous benefits of art in improving the quality of individual lives and that of the community. This evolved, with much support and encouragement from her Church of the Saviour ministry families into the development of the Sitar Center of the Arts. In 1999 she received the James and Patty Rouse Award for these accomplishments.
At the age of 67 she retired from the directorship of Good Shepherd and moved Sarah's Circle due to health problems. Pat continued to give to the community; taught art classes to seniors and children. She also raised funds for Good Shepherd through art shows and sales of her paintings.
In spite of increasing disabilities, her brave and cheerful nature drew heavily upon the Life of what she called her True Family, which strengthened and inspired her special art of living.
Here is a link to her Obituary in the Washington Post. It was titled: Ministry Founder, Patricia M Sitar
If you have something you would like to share in this memorial to Pat, email me and I will include it.