Stillwater News Press


January 1, 2013

Patricia Van Fleet

Patricia Van Fleet, 83, of Stillwater, passed from this life on Dec. 31, 2012, with her loving family at her side. Services have been entrusted to the care of Palmer Marler Funeral Home and will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Palmer Marler Funeral Home Chapel. Burial will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery in Tulsa at 2:30 p.m. Visitation will be held at the funeral home from noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday with the family available to greet friends from 6 to 8 p.m.

Patricia Estelle Thompson was born on June 23, 1929, in Waverly, N.Y. to Harold Arthur and Florence Leah (Shaffer) Thompson.  She attended schools in the area and graduated from Waverly High School. Following her graduation, she married Lewis William Van Fleet. The couple moved to Tulsa shortly after their wedding. Lew’s career took the Van Fleet family from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Arizona before returning to Oklahoma to stay in the late 1970’s.  Upon returning to Oklahoma, Pat spent more than 20 years working in retail sales for Dillards. After more than 50 years of marriage to her best friend and soul mate, Pat lost Lew in 1999.  

In 2006, Pat relocated to Stillwater to live with her daughter Diane Tipling and her family. Pat enjoyed spending time at the Life Adult Day Center at the First Christian Church in Stillwater. She was lovingly known as “Momma Pat” due to her friendly, welcoming demeanor and because she adopted many as her own.

Music was an important part of Pat’s life. In her younger years, she sang, played the piano, and was involved in many musical productions at church and in school. She also never missed an opportunity to support her children in their musical, athletic or scholastic endeavors. Pat loved to scrapbook and she was very artistic. She did canvas paintings, drawings and appreciated and collected artwork as well.  Pat loved to travel.  She was proud of the fact that she had been to Alaska many times to visit her daughter Vicki.

Pat Van Fleet loved life and did everything she could to make sure that her friends and family were happy and well- cared for.  She was very independent, easy going, and enjoyed meeting new people. She can best be described as a “hoot,” who always had a positive attitude and an optimistic outlook on life.  She never let sickness or difficulties get in the way of her remarkable life and she realized each day how blessed she had been to live the life she led. Pat was one of a kind and will truly be missed by her friends and family.

Pat was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Lew Van Fleet, and two sisters:  Esther Jones and Phyllis Munn.  She is survived by her four children,  Elaine Van Fleet and partner Don Burns, of Glenpoo, Vicki Van Fleet and husband Jack Gitchell, of Juneau, Alaska, Steven Van Fleet and wife Brenda, of Southport, Conn., and Diane Tipling and husband Jeff, of Stillwater, a sister, Sylvia Thompson, of Sayre, Pa., seven grandchildren:  Meghan Hurley, Katie Keiser and husband Marty, Kelly Daniel, Taylor Van Fleet, Sydney Van Fleet, Claire Tipling, Gwen Tipling and one great grandchild on the way.  

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Pat’s name to the Life Adult Day Center in care of Palmer Marler Funeral Home 5106 N. Washington, Stillwater, OK 74075.  Condolences may be sent to the family via an online guestbook at or on facebook at


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