Patricia D. (Gouker) Shuff, 74, of Tiffin, passed away at her home in the early morning of Saturday, April 19, 2014. Pat, Patty or Patsy, as she was lovingly known, was born Sept. 28, 1939, in Tiffin, to the late Robert Gouker and Sally Keller. She was preceded in death by her husband of 53 years, Jim Shuff, whom she loved and cared for with all of her heart.
Pat is survived by her children, Jeff (Cristy) Shuff, Cindy Peacock and Tina Shuff; along with her greatest joys, her grandchildren, Tyler, Ben and Cassie Shuff and Eric, Corey and Jake Peacock. She also is survived by her brother, Dan (Diana) Gouker and her faithful basset hound, Lucy.
Pat worked for 32 years at Lincoln Elementary School as a lunch lady and custodian. She was always a recognizable face and had an unmistakable voice as she roamed the lunchroom and hallways. During that time, she decorated the school from end to end to make it feel like home for the children while they were away from their own. Pat worked many hours at Lincoln School, far more than for what she was ever paid, because she loved the children and the teachers who worked there. In her time at Lincoln, Pat fed many children who didn't have lunch money or forgot their lunch. She always purchased extra food and had it on hand so no child would go hungry in her cafeteria. She also bought extra clothing, jackets or even boots for children whose parents could not afford them. She donated numerous items for art projects and often was known to leave personalized notes or treats on teachers' desks who needed a "pick me up" that day. It was never about fanfare or recognition so that's why, when she was awarded the Crystal Apple Award, it meant so much to her. The award honored her for her outstanding dedication and contributions to Tiffin City Schools.
Patty was the kind of person who never slowed down, and you were just as likely to find her in a local store as you were to find her at home. And in those times she was there, she was most likely trying to find things for someone else because she was the kind of person who was happiest when she was doing things for others. She was known for things like putting together care packages for her grandchildren while they were in college, giving rides to neighbors, mending clothing on a moment's notice, doing laundry, babysitting or just being there when you needed someone to talk to. She also kept herself busy in other ways, be it in keeping her home decorated nearly year-round to finding various crafts at shows or from local thrift stores or garage sales to fix up and use.
Patty deeply loved her family, especially her grandchildren. She loved having them over to the house and was so happy that all of her grandchildren grew up within a street of each other. Most of her Sundays were spent listening to her grandchildren's laughter through her kitchen window as they played in the side yard as she prepared home-cooked, comfort meals to feed her family. It was during those times her home truly became a quote that she proudly displayed in her kitchen. It reads "Grandma's House A place where cousins become friends" and well in this case more like siblings. Patty's love of family and taking care of people extended to numerous members of her family for whom she cared during their extended illnesses. Her strength, patience and loyalty are the hallmarks of the legacy she has left for her family.
Patsy was a woman of incredibly tiny stature with a larger than life personality that was often reflected in her colorful T-shirts. Her attitude was spunky and feisty (she had a way of getting straight to the point) and her laugh was infectious. She will be remembered and greatly missed by her family and dear friends, many of whom she has known for most of her life. Collectively, we will treasure our memories, as they will bring comfort and smiles to our faces when we think of her. Patsy was so much more than a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt or friend. To say she was "one of a kind" sounds cliche and while it's fitting here, "once in a lifetime" is more appropriate. Because if you're fortunate enough to know someone like Patsy, it's only going to be something that happens once in a lifetime, and everyone who was lucky enough to have had her in their lives will always be richer for it.
A Mass of Christian burial for Patricia will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 23, 2014, at St. Mary Catholic Church with the Rev. Gary Walters officiating. A rosary will be said 20 minutes before Mass.
There will be visitation for family and friends from 3-7 p.m. Tuesday at Engle-Shook Funeral Home & Crematory in Tiffin. Burial will be at Fairmont Cemetery immediately following services on Wednesday.
Memorial contributions may be made to Seneca County Humane Society or Community Hospice Care.
Online condolences may be left for the family at www.engleshookfuneralhome.com.