September 25, 1931 - July 27, 2021
Pat was born in Cambridge, Nebraska on September 25, 1931. At birth she was adopted by George and Ella Minnick. She grew up on the family farm until her parents moved them into town so Pat could attend the local junior high and high school. While at Cambridge High, Pat sang in the glee club. She also played trumpet in the school band. Pat graduated from high school in 1949. At home, while her father George played the fiddle, Pat accompanied him on the piano.
After finishing high school, Pat attended two years at Kearney State Teachers’ College preparing to be a schoolteacher. She wasn’t able to complete the program at that time. She moved from there to Lincoln, Nebraska to become a telephone operator and lived with friends from Cambridge. While there she reconnected wit n Cambridge, Nebraska on Sh Robert (Bob) Payton. They had known one another since childhood but never dated. After a whirlwind courtship, they were married in Vermillion, South Dakota on October 17, 1952.
Bob served in the Air Force since before they were married. His military career took the family around the US and to other countries. Daughter Linda was born in 1953 and daughter Barbara in 1954. Son John was born in 1956 shortly before the family moved to Italy in 1957. They moved to Libya where son George was born in 1958 while Bob was stationed there.
Pat and family lived in Phoenix, Arizona from 1962-64 when Bob was transferred to Luke AFB in Phoenix. From there they moved to Germany from 1964-67. Pat put her educational training to good use, teaching nursery school at the base school while they lived in Germany.
After leaving Germany in August of 1967, Pat moved the children to Cambridge so they could start the ’67-’68 school year. Bob stayed behind in Germany to finish his final military assignment before retiring that fall. The family had enjoyed living in Phoenix before living in Germany, so they relocated there in May of 1968. Pat spent the rest of her life in Phoenix until her passing.
Before her divorce from Bob in 1974, she trained to be a home health aide so that she could minister to the elderly in the greater Phoenix area. Serving others gave her a great sense of joy and satisfaction in life. She once commented that if she got to live life over again, she would train as a nurse. Pat worked as an aide until she retired in the late 1990’s.
Books were a big part of Pat’s life. She was an avid reader and a lifelong learner. She often kept the current book she was reading on her nightstand. In the early 90’s, at 70 years old, Pat learned how to write emails on the computer so that she could correspond with son George and family, who served as missionaries overseas. Pat kept track of family and friends on Facebook. She kept up with current events in the US and around the world. During her final weeks, she was still video chatting with family who lived in Arizona and out of state!
In her heart, Pat was always a spiritual seeker. She had attended various churches on and off. Although Pat had been a Christian since her youth, her life changed in the late 1980’s when she joined Freeway Chapel. She came to a new deeper understanding of what it meant to be a Christian. She felt as if she had become a Christian for the first time, and rededicated her life to following Christ. From that point on, she regularly attended women’s Bible studies and weekly prayer meetings. Pat became a prayer warrior. She prayed for her children and grandchildren, for friends at church and for anyone else that she knew of who needed God’s help. While at Freeway Chapel, she enrolled in their Bible Institute, taught by Dr. Ann McCraw. She loved learning about the Bible so much that she spent the next several years taking Bible courses until she completed her BA in Bible Theology.
In 2003 on her birthday, she moved with daughter Linda and her family to Scottsdale AZ. Later, she began attending Scottsdale Worship Center. She continued to attend weekly services, prayer meetings and Bible studies there, which were all a part of her Christian experience until the Covid crisis in 2020.
Everyone who met Pat knew her as a kind, caring person who always had an encouraging word for them. Pat loved helping other people in need as best she could. In addition to God and the Bible, Pat’s greatest love was for her family. She took every opportunity to tell others what her kids were up to. And her heart seemed to get bigger every time a new baby was born into the family. She made sure to spread the news to her kids when she heard that one of the girls was pregnant. Pat sat on pins and needles when due dates got nearer, praying until the little one was safely delivered, then she added the new child to her prayer list. There was always room for one more!
Pat passed away peacefully at home on July 27, 2021 in Scottsdale AZ. She was preceded in death by her parents George and Ella Minnick. She is survived by half-sisters: Flossie Fornal of Cardiff NJ, and Allene Trant of Omaha NE; four children and their spouses: Linda (Victor) Hernandez of Scottsdale AZ, Barbie (Del) Mills of Concho AZ, John (Lorie) Payton of Las Vegas NV, and George (Wendy) Payton of Dallas TX; a slew of grandkids (19) and an even bigger slew of great-grandkids (41). And there are three more on the way! She is the mother of a great legacy, a woman of faith, and she was deeply loved by all.
Graveside service will be at the Fairview Cemetery, Cambridge NE on Friday, August 6th at 10:00 am. Memorial service will be held in Scottsdale AZ on Saturday, September 18, 2021, at Scottsdale Worship Center.
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