Patricia Ann Gassett (Pat) of Wharton, passed peacefully on to sing in one of God’s Heavenly Choirs on Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 88 years old at home. Pat was born Sept. 25, 1931 in Beatrice, Nebraska, the last of seven children (six daughters and one son) of Harry Howland Hutchison and Regina Lily Nibbe Hutchison. Pat graduated valedictorian of her Burbank High School graduation class in Burbank, California in 1949. She was granted a music scholarship to Chapman Christian College as part of a woman’s trio as well as her violin performances. After two and one half years at Chapman College, she married Dean Harold Turner and had four sons. When her sons were ages 7, 8, 11, and 14 she returned to her alma mater, Chapman College, as a single mom and received her BA degree in 1968. Having had polio at age 15 her heart's desire was to be a speech therapist for handicapped children. On Feb. 23, 1968 she married L.D. Gassett and they combined her four sons with his two daughters and one son to raise a family of seven children. The family has grown to include 14 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Although none of the grandchildren lived close, Pat “Grandma” never missed sending birthday cookies and presents from wherever she and L.D. were living at the time.
As an engineer and project manager, L.D.'s job moved them from California to Illinois to Canada to California to Texas to Canada then finally back to Texas where L.D. retired at age 65. With each move before L.D.’s retirement Pat continued pursuit of her goal to qualify to teach speech therapy. She took courses at the University of Illinois, University of Alberta in Canada, and finished at Chapman University with her speech credential. She even took two history classes as WCJC to qualify her to teach in Texas. The last three years of her teaching experiences were as a part-time speech therapist at East Bernard Elementary School with Robert Osborne as principal. God had fulfilled her dream! Pat always gave God the credit for her talents and accomplishments. Pat loved music and loved to sing. Wherever L.D. and she lived, she joined the church choir. She was an active and faithful member of the First United Methodist Church of Wharton Choir from the time she moved to Wharton in 1976. She had a special gift for writing witty, humorous birthday songs for her fellow FUMC choir members. She directed children’s choirs in churches everywhere she lived. When she taught and directed music at St. Thomas School in Wharton she composed the music, directed and made scenery for several musical play performances. Pat kept physically active into her 80s, but had stopped playing tournament tennis with her beloved friend and tennis player, Wilma Goode, in her 60s. She preferred to work or teach part-time because God, family, her husband L.D., children and home were of primary importance. She liked to bake and L.D. loved her apple pie and German chocolate cake. She enjoyed baking very LARGE and also very small “letter” sugar cookies that she gave for personal birthdays and for special family, friends, and church celebrations. For years she baked a variety of cookies at Christmas time to give to friends, along with a box of “turtles” candies. She was very creative with decorating her home and doing crafts and special artistic projects with the grandchildren when they came to visit Turtle Creek in the summertime. How she cherished those summer visits! She relied on the Bible for daily guidance and was a faithful daily devotion reader of the Upper Room and Our Daily Bread as well as various religious radio and TV broadcasts.
In the 1980s she joined with her FUMC Wharton mission groups to help victims of Hurricane Andrew in Louisiana and victims of two Missouri floods. She was part of the Committee for DASH (Drug Abuse Stops Here) posting her red ribbon campaign all over Wharton. She also worked part-time in the office for the Area County Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (ACCADA). She had nearly enough classes and credits to qualify as a counselor for ACCADA but when L.D. was transferred to Canada she did not pursue that position when they returned to Texas.
Although most of her grown children did not live close by, her four sons, two step-daughters, one step-son, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren continued to be the joy of her life. She also shared her love with many other children through her teaching, therapy, and children’s choirs. Two of her sons, David and Wayne, were with her in Wharton helping care for her needs and taking care of the household until the end.
Pat was preceded in death by her parents, all of her siblings, and her husband of 45 years of marriage, L.D. Gassett. She is survived by her four sons: David Turner of Wharton; Wayne Turner of Wharton; Bruce Turner of Indian Harbour Beach, Fla. and Craig Turner of New Hartford, N.Y. Also her stepchildren: Barbara Browne of Dayton, Idaho, Betty Williams of Covina, Calif. and David Gassett of Redfield, Ark. She has five Hutchison related nieces and five Hutchison related nephews living in various states. Also two Gassett nieces in Texas, one nephew in Oklahoma, and one Gassett niece.
Her sons would like to thank Aretha and Danielle for their help in making Mom’s transition comfortable during her hospice at home.
In lieu of flowers, Pat would like donations to go to Victory in Jesus, Wharton and/or the First United Methodist Church of Wharton’s Music Dept.
Celebration of Life was at First United Methodist Church of Wharton at 10 a.m., Tuesday March 10 with interment at Evergreen Memorial Park, and then returning to FUMC-Wharton for a reception.
Pallbearers: Ken Freese, Henry Baade, Gary Ward, John Williams, Byron Nelson, and Marc Sangali.
Honorary pallbearers: Larry Wadler, Dr. David Samuelson, Jim Carolan, Marvin Albrecht, Dr. Zorilla, and Dr. Yankowsky.