I, like many other Soroptimists, am saddened to learn of the passing of Past International President Patricia “Patsy” Daniels, who passed away peacefully at home, on 21 October after a very short illness. I have not met Patsy, but I have heard so many wonderful things about her that I know she had Soroptimist principles and values in her heart.
Patsy was born in Newton, New Jersey in 1941, and her family moved to Biggs, California, when she was just 18 months old. Her father became the pastor of Biggs Methodist Community Church, and after a reassignment, the family moved to Clarksburg, and then to Yuba City where she graduated from high school. She graduated from Sacramento State University with a degree in education and began her career at Proctor Terrace Elementary School where she taught for ten years. She married her Husband William Daniels in 1963. Later, Patsy joined the family business, Daniels Chapel of the Roses Funeral Home. Although she may not have sought such a drastic change, this new role catapulted her into a whole new world of opportunities.
Patsy had a true servant’s heart and much of her adult life was focused on her desire to help others, particularly women and children who were trapped in difficult circumstances.
As a professional businesswoman, Patsy joined Soroptimist International of Santa Rosa, and quickly rose to the top leadership positions locally, regionally, and then became President of Soroptimist International in 1995. Her chosen theme for her biennium in office was “An Invitation to Excellence,” and this phrase perfectly illustrated her desire to invite others to see the destitute and disadvantaged and respond with genuine compassion and practical assistance.
During her tenure in office in the mid-1990’s, Patsy led many exceptional projects, but one of her most influential was an effort to rescue and rehabilitate victims of human trafficking in Thailand. She focused on skills training for vulnerable young women who would then be capable of supporting themselves and their families, removing the need for these women to sell themselves or to be sold by their parents.
The seventy-fifth Anniversary of Soroptimist International took place while Patsy was in office and what better way to commemorate her memory than by quoting her words which she wrote at that time. Relating on the many issues that had affected women over the previous 75 years. Patsy writes:
“Is it really so different? Women still make a lower average wage than men, women are still responsible for the home in addition to earning wages, women are still caretakers and caregivers to the young and the old. Powerful women voices are still bouncing off the glass ceiling all over the world. “Are we a relevant organisation? YES and perhaps even more important today in society that constantly shift and global issues that affect every citizen of the world. We need Soroptimist International for the added strength we gain through association with other women who are living lives similar to ours. We need Soroptimist International for the increased ability to be of service to those in need and the needs are greater all the time. Soroptimist International circles the globe hand and heart to make our world a better place in which to live. As we share together, care together, work together and play together, we will raise our united voices proclaiming to the world that Soroptimist International is and always has been A GLOBAL VOICE FOR WOMEN.”
Patsy is survived by her large family circle who will miss her greatly. On behalf of all Soroptimists across the world, I extend our sincere sympathy and condolences to them on their loss of a wonderful lady, affectionately known as “Mom”.
Maureen Maguire President, Soroptimist International 2022 – 2023