Patricia Anzovino
Patricia Anzovino

Obituary of Patricia Anzovino

On the evening of October 10 2020, Patricia O'Reilly Anzovino joined deceased family and friends. She leaves her children, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, sister, brothers, nieces, nephews, brother and sisters-in-law, their families, and many lifelong friends... knowing "we will all meet again". Born Patricia O'Reilly on the 17th of March, she was raised on the family farm on Lake Scugog in Kawartha Lakes. At the age of 19, she moved to Fort Erie to begin teaching school at Our Lady of Victory. In Fort Erie, she met and married her beloved husband, Patrick Anzovino, and together raised their family. Throughout her 33 years as an educator with the Niagara Catholic District School Board, Patricia taught at Our Lady of Victory, St. Philomena and Our Lady of Grace schools. Many of these years were spent team teaching kindergarten with her lifelong friend Charlene Heckman. Teaching was a work of "heart" for Patricia and many of her former students recall her kindness and sense of fun- including field trips to Marcie Woods, the "two old women in the shoe" Christmas float and the annual St. Paddy's Day Celebration at St. Philomena to name a few. In 1991, the teacher became the student and a proud graduate of Brock University - juggling family, career, school and community service. For some 50 years, Patricia was an active volunteer committed to the Fort Erie community and the Greater Niagara Region. She served on some thirty local, regional, provincial and national boards to advance social justice, equity and environmental concerns. She was appointed Order in Council to the Niagara Parks Commission and the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority. Patricia was chair of Canada Trust Friends of the Environment for seven years. Patricia had the pleasure of working on several international development projects in Central America and the honour of unveiling Canada's new fifty dollar polymer bill with Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge in Calgary Alberta. In recognition of her many years of volunteer work and community activism she was the recipient of numerous awards. In 2002, Minister of Human Resources and Development Canada, Jane Stewart, presented Patricia with the Therese Casgrain National Volunteer Award. Patricia was also the recipient of the Flare Magazine Lifetime Achievement Volunteer Award. Lois Barker presented Patricia with the first Fort Erie YMCA Peace Medal. She was also the recipient of the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship, the Older Persons Volunteer of the Year Award, Women's Place Woman of the Year Award and the Ontario Long Term Care Association's Lifetime Achievement Award. Patricia was an active and devoted member of St. Michael's Church and a member of a prayer group who founded Casa El Norte refugee shelter in Fort Erie and worked tirelessly to support refugees seeking safety and protection in Canada. Some of the most important friendships of her life were forged here with the Heckmans, the Hannigans, the Mindorffs, the McDowells, the Lapps, Michael Hammon, Lorraine Clemens, the Jones, the Surtels, the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur and the Sisters of St. Joseph. In 2018, a CBC Radio One documentary "Just To Have Had You" featured the story of Patricia and Dr. Placide Rubabaza's remarkable journey of friendship and mutual kindness. Placide says he saw in Patricia "a sense of humanity that is called ubuntu. Ubuntu is this philosophical term that embodies kindness, love, goodness to another person and when that is shown to you, it grows deep in you and you can only return that sense of ubuntu." In 2019, this documentary was the recipient of the New York Festivals and United Nations Department of Public Information Gold Award and the Gabriel Award and was named as one of the top 20 interviews of Michael Enright's radio career. Dementia claimed a vibrant, energetic woman yet her sense of humour and gentleness remained steadfast till the end. Patricia was always humbled by and grateful for the many blessings in her life and so it is fitting that she departed for Heaven on Thanksgiving Day. A private family funeral and Mass of Christian burial has taken place. In the spirit of who Patricia was as a person, a donation can be made online to Casa el Norte (https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/casa-el-norte-refugee-assistance-program/) or a random act of kindness in her memory would be appreciated. Condolences may be left at www.bennerfuneralservices.ca
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