Celebrate your loved one’s life in a way that’s as independent as they were – in the Daily Independent and on YourValley.net. Share fond memories, photos and information on celebrations of life using our easy, step-by-step process.
Patricia Gail Pekau (born Butler) was born October 27, 1949 in Chicago, Illinois, and died September 6, 2021 in Sun City West, Arizona. Patty grew up in Glenview, Illinois, graduating from Glenbrook South High School. Her college years were spent creating art and getting a teaching degree, graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Upper Iowa University in 1971.
Patty moved with her family to Los Angeles, California and worked for twenty years there at the Jonathan Club as their social director. Her work involved creating elaborate parties that included hiring the symphony to play at the Beach Club under the stars, putting on elaborate Christmas pageants with the famous “Parade of Chefs” carrying flaming desserts through a grand ballroom, and entertaining dignitaries and heads of state including Ronald and Nancy Reagan, who later personally thanked her for their exceptional evening.
Patty shared her kind heart and generosity by helping others and was on the boards of several organizations including Easter Seals, Child Care Alliance, St. Vincent’s Hospital, the Los Angeles Navy League, and the Los Angeles World Affairs Council. In her role at the World Affairs Council, she met presidents and ambassadors from around the globe. She was always well prepared and the picture of elegance.
For many years, Patty was very involved in her church and studied extensively, earning an advanced diploma in religion. She loved to travel, experiencing the local culture everywhere she went. Patty danced with Maasai villagers and photographed wildlife in Kenya, rode elephants through the jungles of Thailand, visited the great pyramids of Gaza, toured castles in Ireland and the United Kingdom, and attended an archeological dig exploring an ancient Mayan well in Mexico. Patty was always up for adventure.
Later in life Patty moved to Arizona and worked for Robinsons and Dillard’s, representing several cosmetics lines, winning many top sales awards. She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and always had a special place in her heart for a pet cat. Patty married Don Pekau after moving to Sun City West, and enjoyed the desert community with him and their circle of friends for several years, cheering on the Phoenix Suns.
She was preceded in death by her husband, and mother, Alma Smith Butler. Patty was devoted to family and leaves behind her father, Wilmer Butler, two sisters, two half-sisters, and three nephews and their growing families. Patty was a woman of many interests and great humor. Her thick red hair was your first clue you were in the company of a true force of nature. Her family and friends miss her dearly, and will never forget her bright spirit.
Her body was cremated. A private service will be held in Sedona. Memorials may be sent to the Arizona cat rescue, 4 Paws.