Tributes

Patricia ‘Patsy’ Jacqueline Buchanan

March 12, 1933 – July 28, 2022

Patricia “Patsy” Jacqueline Buchanan was born March 12, 1933 to Jack Finn and Margaret (Patterson) Finn in New York City, N.Y. She had two sisters: Jaqueline Barbin and Ginger Holman, and two brothers: John and Michael Finn. Each of them have preceded her in death. Patsy passed away on July 28, 2022, at the age of 89, surrounded by her children.

In 1936, Patsy’s parents no longer had the means to support their family. Rather than give them up to social services, they decided to parse the children out to relatives, with the intent to gather the family back together in better times. This was not to be. Margaret contracted tuberculosis and passed in 1938. Jack never again had the means to support his family.

Patsy was raised by her paternal uncle, Ronald Finn, and his wife Helen. She attended Thomas Jefferson High School in Port Arthur, Texas, where no doubt she picked up a slight and charming Texan accent that she kept the rest of her life.

In 1950, she married Albert Dupre at the age of 17. She gave birth to her first daughter, Cynthia in 1951. The marriage did not last and Patsy moved to New Orleans to live with her sister Jacqueline.

She then met George Albert Isaksen and married him in June of 1952. He was the love of her life. With him they had seven children: Rod Isaksen, Catherine McKinnon, George “Buddy” Isaksen, Bessie Bollag, Derek Isaksen, Kirk Isaksen, and Tamah Gardner.

Patsy had become the wife of a sailor, with the challenges endemic to a military family such as long separations, low pay and frequent moves. But these were eclipsed by ecstatic reunions and shore duty.

Patsy worked hard all of her life, keeping her kids well trained and tidy, an immaculate home and providing a second income by waiting tables for long hours. Her employers uniformly appreciated her conscientiousness, creativity, perspicacity, vocabulary and her kind, genial personality.

She was an active member of the Free Methodist Church since 1967.

In 1969, George retired from the Navy as a Lieutenant Commander, and the family fled the bay area to idyllic Cottage Grove, Ore. Here, they raised chickens, battled with a cow for her milk, maintained a family of sheep and enjoyed riding a pair of horses. They were very active in the Free Methodist church, where they gained great celebrity by attending church redolent with evidence of a recent scuffle with a skunk.

In 1972, the youngest daughter, Tamah (Gardner) was born. She suffered from a severe form of spina bifida.

In 1974, Pat and George moved to Eugene, Ore. They purchased a small cafe that Patsy managed and worked in with her friends from church.

Patsy also obtained a real estate license and would move in and out of that role, as well as waitressing for nearly 20 more years.

In order for George to retain employment during the economic downturn in the 1980s and to be close to a military base so that Tamah’s medical needs could be addressed they moved to Olympia, Wash. 

They ended up in Florida where Patsy’s first daughter, Cynthia, lived. After several moves, George was able to find fulfilling work as an electronics instructor for the navy, while Patsy pursued her real estate career as well as providing care for Tamah and for George’s mother, Bessie.

In 1994, George succumbed to lung cancer, but not before officiating his youngest children’s marriages.

Patricia traveled and enjoyed the company of the retired community, and hosted her grandchildren for the next few years. She was an accomplished artist and continued to produce beautiful oil paintings, as well as branching out into painting china as well as continuing her love for sewing and embroidery.

In 2000, Patsy married Clarence Buchanan, one of a group of friends who enjoyed the nightlife and music together. With Clarence and occasionally other friends she traveled abroad, took cruises, as well as visiting domestic attractions and her children.

In 2013, it became apparent that Clarence was losing his battle with Parkinson’s Disease and that Patsy was needing more help, so some of her children persuaded her to move to the West Coast. After two years in San Jose, Clarence also passed away.

Patsy decided to move back to Eugene where she would be in close proximity to three of her children. After a brief stay in an independent living facility, she purchased a house and enjoyed making it her own with various improvements and hosting family.

However, she moved once again to another independent living facility. There, she enjoyed meeting a great number of people of her age and with similar interests. Until Covid.

For more than a year she felt alone and sequestered, missing her friends and activities. Before restrictions were lifted she had begun to yearn for heaven. She did her best to stay connected with friends and family but had become weaker and more fatigued and unstable on her feet.

On July 28, she made her final move. She fell and passed away from an injury to her head.

She is greatly missed by her children and many grandchildren, friends and relatives,who loved her many qualities. Not the least of these were her kindness, generosity, wit and fiercely independent nature.