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Patricia Kalnitsky left this world way too early

Like most people my age, each day I read the obituaries in the newspaper hoping I will not recognize any names. Sadly, that is a rare occasion. Once in a while. Total shock will ensue. Such was the case  when I saw the name of Patricia Kalnitsky Alt. She was the devoted mother of three beautiful girls and the wife of Michael. The dreaded disease of cancer took her from, us at the age of 47.

  Patricia
Although we were  not close friends, I knew Patricia  (pictured above left) since Kindergarten at the old Wentworth Elementary School. She was always the adorable and ultimately “beautiful” red head. Wentworth School closed when we were in Grade 3, so we are shifted over to Westminster School. Most of us stayed there for two years and returned to Wentworth, which had become a Grade 7 French immersion school. From there it was on to Wagar High School for four years. Patricia was there every step of the way – always popular, with a bubbling personality. Sadly, after Grade 11 one of her closest friends named Linda Comm passed away from cancer. Linda was gorgeous and nice. People could not believe we lost her so early. When we held a high school reunion four a half years ago, I ironically remember chatting with Patricia as we looked at a board listing the Class of 1980 members whom had passed away: Steven Agustin, Billy Bloom, Michael Perlman, Clifford Shalinsky, Monte White, Mona Garbuz to name a few.

Two summers later we would end up working together as counsellors  at the YM-YWHA Day camp. There the staff really bonded and we spent the eight weeks socializing on weekends and even going on camping trips.

I sort of lost touch with Patricia after that. We’d bump into each other from time to time. I knew she had gotten married, had three girls and was working in human resources at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). Exactly three  years ago I called Patricia to see if she would be interested in having her daughter participate in a group bat mitzvah I was organizing for the school board. She agreed to come to our first meeting. Having already been through a similar program with her older daughter, she was a welcomed edition to our group. We benefitted from her experience and enjoyed her good sense of humour at the meetings.  For the next year plus I would see Patricia nearly every week. Planning a group bat mitzvah is no easy task. Imagine for a moment having eight families agree upon the choice of a teacher, venue, caterer, deejay, photographer, videographer  and other options. It was nostalgic form to spend this time with my old classmate in the role of parents.

 

The bat mitzvah  took place at the of March 2009. It was a huge success. Again, I basically lost touch with Patricia. Then came the news a few days ago that she had died. I posted this news on a Wagar Class of 1980 Facebook page and alerted one of her former boyfriends now living in the USA who still kept in touch with her. “I called on her birthday,” he said. “She did not mention a thing.”

Said Sharon Caplan, still one of her closest friends from high school: “It was a major shock to many people. She struggled for a little over a year and fought very hard. It is so sad for Michael and her kids.”

Rest in peace Patricia. You left us way too early!

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