Patricia (Patty) Ann Gillen, 85, passed away peacefully on March 19, 2023.
Patty was born November 18, 1937 in Houston, TX to William and Agnes Lynch. She lived there until age 7 before her family moved to the Sioux Falls and Hartford area. She graduated from St. Joseph Cathedral High School in May of 1956 and later, on December 14, 1956 married Gary Saunders. They would have two children, Mary and Bill. In 1989, she married Dick Gillen.
Patty started out as a full time homemaker, raising her kids until they attended school. She then worked in various medical fields before spending a 34 year career as a receptionist at Central Plains Clinic Sanford Dermatology. She loved her job and her coworkers. Following retirement, she decided to return as needed until she was unable to do so permanently.
Patty loved a girl’s night out with several former coworkers on a monthly basis. She enjoyed her spare time baking and especially making cookies for her dogs and spending time with her family and grandchildren. She also loved reading, making crafts, attending shows, walking her dogs, music, and dancing. She was a proud Irish Catholic and former north ender. She was deeply devoted to her faith and attended Church daily when she was able.
Patty got a second round in this earthly life after a brief trip down the hospice road in 2017. She moved to Vermillion where her greatest joy was fulfilled by attending her grandchildren’s activities. She wouldn’t miss their various activities and sporting events no matter how big or how small.
Patty is survived by her daughter, Mary Saunders of Sioux Falls; son, Bill (Kelly) Saunders of Vermillion; five grandchildren, Sarah (Corey) Thorson of Sioux Falls; Lucas King of Sioux Falls; Bailey (Lanning) Norberg of Burke, SD; Lexi Saunders (SDSU) of Vermillion; Connor Saunders (USD) of Vermillion; and Jaelyn Saunders of Vermillion; two great-grandchildren, Chase and Corrah; two recently adopted daughters, Karen (Dan) Cero and Barb Falk who made her last days unforgettable; and a dear best friend, Barb Hennessey who was always there when she needed her.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Dick; sisters, Daisy and Mildred; grandchild, Hope; many dear friends; and her beloved dogs, Duffy, Maggie, Murray, Max, and Chloe.
Funeral services will be at 2:00 PM, Friday, March 31 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Sioux Falls, SD. Family will be present an hour before the service with refreshments afterward. A private family burial will be at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation or adoption from your local Humane Society.