Pastors' Memoirs

Patricia W. Olson, 1933 – 2007

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2008 Memoirs

Whom shall I send and who will go for us? Here am I, Pat said, send me.

 There in the pulpit of the chapel at Wesley Seminary she felt a final pull, the call to God’s ministry. Wanting a break from her professional life, she had enrolled to audit one preaching course at Wesley. And as she embarked upon this “practice sermon” with her chosen text from Isaiah, she had at last the answer to the nudging questions that seemed to follow her throughout her life — where was God really leading her through a lifetime of learning, preparation, and service.
 Now sure of her calling, she enrolled full time at Wesley and graduated with honors in 1989. Rev. Pat is remembered as a loving pastor, helpful counselor, and dynamic preacher while serving for two years during seminary at Mill Creek Parish UMC in Derwood, Md., and in her appointments in the Virginia Conference, both rural and urban. She served the East Culpeper Charge, Hopewell UMC in Lignum and Richardsville UMC; as associate pastor of Springfield UMC in Northern Virginia, where she made use of her Spanish language skills; and finally the Cedar Run Charge in Fauquier County, Trinity UMC in Catlett and Mt. Horeb UMC in Bristersburg. In retirement, she loved guest preaching and work as volunteer chaplain at Fairfax Hospital.
 Before that moment in the Wesley Chapel, Rev. Pat had occupied other pulpits as a lay speaker, including that of her home church in Arlington, Mount Olivet UMC. She had lived a full 54 years with varying careers in public speaking, radio and television, office management, and successful representation of her country abroad as a diplomat’s wife. Service overseas also offered opportunities for lay ministry and the challenge of raising three children — Michael, Kirsten, and Kathy. It all began in Milwaukee, Wis., in the deepest depths of the Depression. Patricia Kay Whipple was born in 1933. World War II brought the family to Texas, to Houston, Kerrville, and then Corpus Christi. There she met a high school and Methodist Youth Fellowship chum, Oscar Olson. She was a radio/television major at the University of Houston, a pioneer in public television. Pat served as “weather girl” and had interview programs on the first two seasons (1953-1955) of KUHT, the first public television station in the United States. Upon graduation, she traveled to Bremerhaven, Germany, to marry Oscar, who was there completing his military service. Almost three decades in the Foreign Service followed, with assignments to Caracas, Venezuela; Barcelona, Spain; Ciudad Juarez, Mexico; West Berlin; Panama City, Panama; and Quito, Ecuador. During time in Washington, D.C., Pat worked with an ecumenical group in the Methodist Building on Capitol Hill and later as assistant to Elizabeth Campbell, founder of Washington’s public television station, WETA. While in West Berlin, she hosted her own program on Armed Forces television, extolling the many attractions of that fascinating city.
 Rev. Pat suggested her own epitaph: “I had it all — including just enough pain, just enough disappointment to KNOW I had it all.” And she gave her “all” in a lifetime of service and devotion to the Lord’s work. She is sorely missed.
— Oscar Olson



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