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Mary Patricia “Pat” Gehr | Obituary

Mary Patricia “Pat” Gehr, 90, died February 8, 2022 at Brewster Place Retirement Community. Pat was born on May 26, 1931 to Mary Rose and John Floyd Jenkins.

Pat grew up in Miami County. As a child, she read everything she could get her hands on, adopted every stray animal she could find, and spent a lot of time keeping her younger brothers in check. Despite the hardships of the Great Depression, his mother saved enough money to send him to the Ursuline Academy in Paola. It was there that she was taken under the wing of an intuitive nun who could see that being a secretary, as was the aspiration of most girls at the time, was definitely not for her. Pat. Inspired by Sister, Pat decided she wanted a career that was challenging and empowered to help people, so she became a nurse.

Pat graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing in 1952. She spent her early years as an industrial nurse for the Fluor Corporation before settling on her true calling: psychiatric nursing. She worked at Osawatomie State Hospital, then after moving to Topeka she worked as a nurse supervisor for Topeka State Hospital and at the Menninger Clinic (yes, at the same time because ” why would you only have one job you love when you could have two?”) Pat was known to be a tough, no-nonsense boss, but she was also kind and genuinely cared about those who worked for her. Above all, however, she cared about the people they were there to serve.

As a young woman, Pat never wanted to get married, but when she met John Gehr, everything changed. John’s kindness and wit quickly won her over. They got married, had a daughter, Zoe, and spent 23 wonderful years together. They enjoyed their vacation home in Bella Vista, played golf, played cards with friends, and had great parties (really great parties).

After John’s death in 1982, Pat was introduced to another widower, Fred Morehead. They married in 1986, and a second big chapter began for the young girl who never really wanted to get married. Pat adopted Fred’s family as his own and enjoyed his growing family of children and grandchildren. Pat and Fred spent 26 years together, traveling a lot, canning fruits and vegetables from their garden and continuing to play cards. He died in 2012. Pat was a proud Democrat and loved debating politics with her two Republican husbands (she used to say that when Republican boys wanted to have fun, they married Democrat girls).

Pat’s passion for service was guided by his deep faith. She was a member of Most Pure Heart of Mary parish and served the church community in many ways. One of her greatest joys was working with Sister Ann and the ministry to the elderly, where she was able to share her skills as a nurse and her passion for helping those in need.

Pat’s life has been filled with adventure, love, laughter and service. Even after dementia robbed her of so much, she maintained a razor-sharp mind that always gave those around her a reason to smile. She will be missed by many.

Pat is survived by her children, Zoe Gehr, Topeka, Terri Taylor (Edward), Silver Lake, Tom Morehead, Topeka and Tim Morehead (Mami), San Diego; her brother, Bill Jenkins (Marilyn) of Iola; nine grandchildren, Emily Taylor, Erin Taylor, Rochelle Van der Merwe, Michelle Wilson, Dani Renner, Christina Grantham, Tim Morehead, Tommy Morehead and Tyler Morehead; and eleven great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her daughter, Kay Hesse and her brother, Gerald Jenkins.

Family will receive friends from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, February 21, 2022 at the Brewster Place Cultural Center for the Arts (Evergreens Building). The Rosary will be prayed at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, February 22, 2022 at Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church, where the Christian Burial Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Interment will follow in the West Lawns Memorial Gardens. Masks are required (nurse Pat would say “JUST TAKE THE JAB”).

Memorial contributions may be made to the ministry of the Aging at Most Pure Heart of Mary church and sent to the care of Kevin Brennan Family Funeral Home, 2801 SW Urish Road, Topeka, KS 66614. Condolences may be sent online at www.kevinbrennanfamily.com.