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Patricia Houlihan

August 13, 1940 July 5, 2015
Patricia Houlihan
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Obituary for Patricia Houlihan

Patricia Houlihan, 74, a lifelong Fox Point resident died Sunday at the Philip Hulitar Hospice Center in Providence.
 
Pat began her life in humble surroundings on August 13, 1940. From an early age, her parents, the late Earl F. and Elsie B. (Donnelly) Houlihan, impressed upon their daughter the importance of education, loyalty, hard work and fairness. Those tenets shaped Pat's life and fueled her remarkable trajectory as an educator and political activist.
 
A graduate of RIC, Pat began her teaching career in the Providence Public Schools at the age of 20, first as an elementary school teacher and then as a guidance counselor. She was a proud supporter of labor unions, serving as President of the RIFT, Vice President of the Providence Teachers Union,and Secretary of the Providence Central Federated Labor Council. Pat served on the board of the RI AFL-CIO and was the Political Director of both the RI AFL-CIO and the RI Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals.
 
In addition to these responsibilities, Pat also served on the Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education. She was a charter member of The Coalition of Labor Union Women and was elected as a delegate to the International Women's Year Conference. Upon her retirement, she served on the American Federation of Teachers Retirement Committee.
 
Patricia was a lifelong, staunch Democrat, inspired by statesmen like Claiborne Pell. During elections, she manned phone lines and knocked on doors, and in turn her unwavering dedication to the democratic process moved those around her to action. She became the Treasurer of the RI State Democratic Committee and attended several National Democratic Conventions as an elected delegate. Pat was the recipient of Democratic Party’s Eleanor Slater Award at the 2002 Hope Awards Dinner for her efforts on behalf of women, children, union members and the Democratic Party. Her fiery political resolve had an indelible impact on her community. She also received the Edward McElroy Award for Community Service, the Labor History Society Award and the Trailblazer Award from the Women’s Institute for Leadership Development 
 
Pat's love of travel took her around the globe, from the Western US to Russia to New Zealand, yet she never forgot her roots. She continued to live in the same apartment she grew up in, surrounded by friends and neighbors she had known all her life. She was dedicated to her brother Frank and his wife Mary, and absolutely reveled in the company of her nephews Sean, Kevin and Ryan. Fiercely proud of her Irish heritage, Pat also reconnected with extended family in Ireland, and the close relationships she maintained with her cousins there were invaluable to her. Pat cherished her friends as well as her family; she was a familiar and beloved presence in many households, where she was eagerly and frequently welcomed for a “cuppa” tea and a chat. Her good humor, thoughtfulness and unbridled generosity of spirit filled every room she entered. She was loved by all and will be missed.
 
Patricia is survived by her brother Frank Houlihan, sister-in-law Mary, and nephews Sean, Kevin, and Ryan Houlihan. She was the sister of the late Earl B. Houlihan. She also leaves behind two “adopted” nieces, Alessandra and Juliana Amin, who will forever be grateful to have counted her as family.
 
The funeral will be held Thursday at 8:45 from the Monahan, Drabble and Sherman Funeral Home, 230 Waterman Street, Providence, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10am at St. Joseph Church, Hope Street. Burial will be in the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in East Providence. Calling hours Wednesday 4-7pm. Flowers would be welcome as would donations to  Home & Hospice Care of RI, 1085 N. Main St., Providence, RI 02904

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