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Pat Lampe, 1928-2009

Patricia Ann Toole, a long-time resident of Northfield, died on October 27, 2009, at 1:30 a.m. She was at home with her loving husband, Bob.

Pat was born in Moscow, Idaho, in 1928 to Arlie and Marybelle Toole. She and her family moved often because her dad was in the Forest Service. They lived in Oregon, North Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois before finally moving to Minnesota in 1944. Each place was a little different, but Harrisburg, Ill., had segregated grade schools. That experience inspired Pat to become an active supporter of civil rights.

After graduating from Duluth Central High School, Pat attended Macalester College in St. Paul. She finished in 3½ years, with a major in art and minors in French and home economics. Pat met Bob there in 1946. One of her roommates was serving moose burgers in the kitchen at Kirk Hall. Bob, who had just returned from fighting in World War II, was one of those invited—and Pat thought he was the best-looking guy there.

They were married on February 4, 1950, at the Unitarian Church in St. Paul. Pat got her teaching certificate and she and Bob moved to Le Roy, Minn., later that year. She taught grades 1–12 in a one-room school house across the border in Iowa. They moved to Northfield in 1951.

Pat treasured family, community, art, faith, and politics. She woke early and stayed up late, sketching, painting, preparing for a show at the Northfield Arts Guild, making projects with children or grandchildren, reading, writing a report for the Margaret Evans Book Club, talking on the phone to her sisters, playing bridge, having coffee with the Monday Group, volunteering at the Northfield Community Action Center crisis hotline. She loved to ski and attended many Elderhostels with Bob, her sisters, and their husbands. Pat’s home was always open to neighborhood kids when her sons were younger and exchange or ABC students when they were older. Her connection to First United Church of Christ and its congregation remained strong through the years. Though she got weaker and weaker over the past few months, Sunday services at the UCC never failed to revive her.

Pat was part of another community, too—the people who lived near the cabin her dad built north of Stillwater. The neighbors became dear friends; eventually Pat’s sister and her husband moved there too. Pat loved heading to the cabin on weekends and summers, and it was all the sweeter that her sister was just a few houses away.

Survivors include Bob Lampe, her husband of 59 years; her sisters Barb (Richard) Barnes and Peggy Sperry; sons Tom (Karen) Lampe, Rob (Lynne) Lampe, Paul (Johanna) Lampe, and John (Nikki Newman) Lampe; grandchildren Kyle Lampe, Jess Lampe, Chad (Brittany) Lampe, and Naomi Dickerson; and sisters-in-law Lorraine Bowman and Diana Seaton. Pat was preceded in death by her parents and parents-in-law, as well as her brothers-in-law Jack Sperry, Albert Bowman, and Elmer Lampe.

The family wants to thank Pat’s friends who helped her through her long illness. She loved you dearly. Thanks to all of Pat’s caregivers, too. Because of you, we were able to honor her wishes to live out her life at home.


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