By David F. Rooney
Homecoming has proven to be a bittersweet celebration for Anna Patchett and her family. While it brought her back home to Revelstoke from Maple Ridge it also evoked a few tears as she and other family members gathered at Mountain View Cemetery and, later, at the Revelstoke Golf Club where a bench was erected in the memory of her late husband, Ron.
“We didn’t realize how important Ron really was to the students he taught until the letters began pouring in,” she said in a brief interview by the bench that was erected in the teacher’s memory. “It was so touching.”
Anna said Ron, who died earlier this year after a nine-year struggle with Alzheimer’s, had been an extremely popular teacher and volleyball coach at RSS until he retired in 2000. That’s when he and Anna discovered that the retirement would not, after all, mark the beginning of Ron’s golden years.
It started with little things: moments of forgetfulness that seemed trivial on the surface but really foretold the onset of a terrible illness.
“We were lucky,” Anna said. “Ron was in good spirits to the end.”
Those good spirits must certainly have been buoyed by the love and support of the scores of young men and women that he taught over the years.
Through letters and get-togethers, such as one hosted by his former volleyball players when he was first diagnosed, Ron Patchett was blessed with the knowledge that he had made a significant contribution to the upbringing and education of many of Revelstoke’s finest young men and women.
“Ron always loved teaching and he loved his students,” Anna said. “They were all special to him.”
And so was he to them.