Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Patricia M. Dretke

Feb. 3, 1942 – July 18, 2021


Patsy broke free from the chains of dementia on Sunday, July 18. Free to fly, mind and body whole again.

Patsy was born February 3, 1942, in Tonasket, Washington, the oldest of Dora and Fred Jaeger's four children. She was joined in time by John, Kathy and David.

Patsy graduated from Rosalia High School class of 1960. While at this fine institute of higher learning, Patsy was queen of the community float. Along with her princesses, these young ladies were smoking hot parade royalty DY-NO-MITE and had all the boys chasing them, one of whom she married on May 4, 1962, by the name of Jake Dretke.

The next eight years were full of bliss and chaos with frequent moves due to the construction trade, chasing rodeo dreams and Elvis Presley.

Patsy and Jake's old yellow Thunderbird became a heavier vessel along the way with the addition of two children, Laurie in '63 and Layne in '66. Mom managed to keep all four wheels of this show on the road rolling toward the next rodeo, red beehive on top, Bel Air hanging from her lips, arm hanging out the window with the sleeves cut off, a rocket across the Nevada desert.

As the 60's faded away, Mom and Dad returned to Rosalia to raise their two feral children.

Patsy began working for the postal service in 1970 a career that would span the next 31 years, 15 as a rural route carrier and 16 as a Postmaster. She made many lifelong friends during her postal career, more importantly, she cherished these friendships.

Mom was a super gifted green thumb and loved flower gardening, China painting and in later years could be found creating porcelain dolls and their wardrobes of the highest quality. Amazing pieces of art and creativity.

As with most well-lived lives, there were some low points; the death of a spouse and beloved sister Kathy Weible with whom she shared the best of the Dora Hansen gene pool, and the staggering loss of her only grandchild who was taken out of her life.

It was a chance introduction that opened the door to mom's final chapter. Harold came into Patsy's life in 2007. In the fall of that year they - as mom explained it "joined hearts". The two choosing to spend their happily ever after in Stevens County near Lake Roosevelt together in peace, promise and commitment, living the seasons of their lives, independent and free.

Patsy was diagnosed with dementia, a hideous and insidious disease and it did exactly what it said it was going to do: it took away everything from Mom, except Harold. Her last lucid moment with us she heard his voice, opened those blue eyes, looked up at him as he kissed her and said hello.

So when people talk about Patsy Dretke's life, I hope they remember this:

She was a queen

She got to marry her cowboy and,

She was loved by a giant of a man Harold Wint.

Harold: Susan and I will never find enough words to express our gratitude for how deeply you cared for Mom, the effort and energy and your loving resilience to keep Mom in her happy place for so long. We are proud to call you Patsy's husband. You have the strength of 10 men and the heart of 100 more. You're our family and you're stuck with us now.

A private graveside service will be held at the Rosewood cemetery at a later date.

In lieu of flowers please send donations to the Rosalia volunteer ambulance fund at PO Box 291, Rosalia, WA 99170


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