Pat was born into a a prairie family in 1950; number two in a line of of five children. Her unscheduled appearance a month early resulted in much subsequent teasing about always being in such a hurry! Pat loved her idyllic childhood on the family farm in Lafleche, Saskatchewan where, to her patient mother’s chagrin, she was far more a “tomboy” than a lady. During these formative years Pat spent more time outside with her four horses then she ever did in the house learning the domestic duties of the farm. Somewhere around this early road though she did learn to bake amazingly tasty peanut butter cookies. A contribution now sorely missed by visiting pilots.
Pat moved from Lafleche to attend the University in Regina, where she obtained her teacher’s certificate in 1970. Pat found that, much to her delight, she was a natural teacher and truly loved every second she spent with “her kids”. Pat went on to teach for 20 years in several prairie towns eventually ending up in the bustling metropolis of Moose Jaw. Residents from Saskatchewan know this town as the home of the assembly plant for all future Air Force pilots. One in particular, by the name of Monsieur Richard, upon graduation promptly dropped off the line into awaiting arms of one Mademioselle Patricia. They married in 1988 and moved at the whim of the Canadian Forces from one coast to the other until 1994 when Richard retired and they settled in the Comox Valley.
Soon after, the then fledgling “fly on a shoe string” helicopter outfit known as West Coast hired the Lapointes as a team to open the Bella Coola base; Richard the pilot and Pat the dispatcher. They built the base from scratch, turning the soil, building the hangar, and courting customers inside and outside of the valley. It’s over this period that Pat’s commitment to superb customer service was seen on many occasions. It was not unheard of for Pat to sneak an extra bag of her now famous peanut butter cookies into the pockets of her fishing clients before they left the hangar with Richard for their Dean River adventure.
After a long and dedicated “second career” manning the reception desk at the Bella Coola base, Pat retired in April of 2016. She now spends many enjoyable hours happily puttering in her vegetable beds and perennial borders at their picturesque home in Courtenay. From time to time, when the schedule allows it, Pat enjoys accompanying Richard back to Bella Coola to reconnect with her friends and West Coast family.
To Pat, from all her grown up (and not so grown up) kids, after 20 years of challenging and dedicated service, we thank you and will miss you. And yes Pat, from the pilots, of course, we will miss your sensational cookies, but more importantly, we’ll miss your warm welcoming voice on the radio as we descend down the valley toward the hangar telling us in no uncertain terms exactly which pad you want us to land on!