Patricia Anne Atwater, 86

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 10:15pm

Patricia Anne Atwater, the mother of six children and former University of Missouri School of Journalism professor, died Tuesday, Oct. 9 in Towson, Maryland. She was 86.

Her daughter, Jennifer Atwater, said the cause was complications from dementia. Mrs. Atwater, a 1969 graduate of Georgetown University, had many careers, but her favorite began later in life when she worked as a newspaper copy editor at The Anchorage Times in Anchorage, Alaska. Always a master grammarian, Mrs. Atwater loved catching errors and writing the perfect headline. She then transferred those skills and love of editing to teaching journalism students at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. She retired from that job in 2003 when she wanted to move closer to her children and grandchildren.

Patricia Anne Levington was born January 19, 1932, in Philadelphia. Her family moved to Arlington, Virginia when she was a young girl. Her father, Alfred Joseph Levington, worked in real estate and her mother, Rose (McKenna) Levington, worked as a secretary. Patricia graduated from Immaculata High School in Washington, DC. The school remained dear to her heart throughout her life. In 1955, Patricia Levington married James David Atwater, a journalist at Time magazine. Mr. Atwater’s career along with Mrs. Atwater’s readiness for adventure led them to live in five different states and even move abroad to London in 1970 with six children in tow. While in London, Mrs. Atwater earned her master’s degree in history from the University of London. Mrs. Atwater will be remembered for her sharp mind, superb organizational skills and an unfailing willingness to serve and help others.

“Her true passion was life’s social interactions,” said Stephen Atwater, her oldest son. “Whether it was in New York, Missouri or London she quickly and easily found her social stride and when it was time for her to leave, left people wishing she would stay.” 

She is survived by three sons: Stephen G. Atwater and his wife Barbara of Anchorage, Alaska, Christopher P. Atwater and his wife Anne of Ossining, New York, Andrew D. Atwater of Duarte, California; three daughters: Mary E. Rankin and her husband Bill of Asheboro, North Carolina, Katharine T. Butcher and her husband Shea of Block Island, Rhode Island, Jennifer S. Atwater and her husband John Anglim of Lutherville, Maryland. She is also survived by nine grandchildren and countless numbers of “seventh children” who know who they are. She was preceded in death by her husband, parents and sister. 

Funeral services will be held Friday, Nov. 2 at 10 a.m. at the Immaculate ConceptionChurch in Irvington, New York. She will be buried on Block Island, Rhode Island. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be given to the Block Island chapter of The Nature Conservancy or the Mary D. Fund.