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Patricia Bowler Leggat of Cohasset, Massachusetts died peacefully on April 20, 2023, surrounded by her loving family. She was 93 years old.
Born to Dr. John Pollard Bowler and Madelaine Gile Bowler on August 19, 1929, Patsy grew up in Hanover, New Hampshire. Her father was a surgeon at the Mary Hitchcock Hospital, founder and chairman of the Hitchcock Clinic, and Dean of the Dartmouth Medical School. Her mother, a homemaker, was a lifelong resident of Hanover, NH.
Patsy’s father, an avid sportsman, introduced her to the outdoors. Her childhood was spent skating, skiing and horseback riding. She particularly enjoyed winter sports. A junior ice-skating champion, she switched her focus to skiing because “that’s what all my friends were doing.” Skiing became one of her greatest passions.
For the last two years of high school Patsy attended the Marymount School in Tarrytown, New York. An enthusiastic participant in just about everything, Patsy played field hockey, rowed crew, and joined the speech team “because they needed another member”. That last involvement resulted in an honors showing at an oratory competition. She waited to tell her parents of this activity because “she didn’t know what kind of a showing she’d have”. She also acted, playing Jo in a performance of Little Women, and was a member of the Glee Club. She developed a life-long love of singing including an active, joyful participation in a barbershop ensemble in retirement.
Following graduation from Marymount, Patsy went on to Smith College as a member of the class of 1951. She loved her time there, enthusiastically involved in athletic, academic and student government pursuits. In her junior year she was head of the athletic association and in her senior year, class president. She didn’t always let academics get in the way of her other loves; one winter she arranged her schedule so that all her classes were on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. That way she could spend the better part of every other week skiing. The off weekends? “I did have to spend them studying,” she acknowledged. Ultimately her father put an end to this practice.
Following college, she moved to Cambridge where she met law student Richard Leggat who had attended Dartmouth and was aware of popular, outgoing Patsy from her participation in the Dartmouth Players productions. At that time Hanover women and girls were called upon to play the female roles at the then all-male college. Before their formal introduction, Dick recounted later, “I knew who she was, but she didn’t know who I was.” They married in 1954 and shortly thereafter moved to Cohasset, MA.
In 1955 the first of their six children, Kathy, was born, followed in quick succession by Sarah, Debby, Betsy, Johnny and Robby. Life was full and busy between caring for her large family, leadership roles in her volunteer work for Smith, Marymount, her children’s schools, and local causes. Somehow, she also managed to find time for her passion for gardening, a talent she inherited from her mother. She was an active member of the Cohasset Garden Club for fifty-eight years. Winter weekends were spent in New Hampshire where she passed along her love for skiing to all of her children.
In 1971 Patsy and Dick bought an old farmhouse in Lyme, New Hampshire with two other families. The house, once described by Yankee Magazine as “one of the scruffier neighbors up the road”, quickly became a gathering spot for all ages for football and foliage weekends in the fall, skiing in the winter and maple sugaring in the spring. When all members of the three families were in attendance there were 19, but it was the rare time that there weren’t guests, especially for the expansive dinners that happened most Saturday nights. Located one mile from the Dartmouth Skiway, there was a trail through the woods from the top of the Holt’s Ledge chairlift to the back door. Skiing home, for lunch or at the end of the day, was one of the best features of the house. She reveled in it all and was never happier than when surrounded by her family and hosting a crowd of all ages.
Patsy and Dick retired to Boca Grande, Florida, beginning a new chapter in their lives. They quickly became part of the island, making friends and becoming involved in the greater community and year-round population. Patsy was active on boards for The Island School and The Boca Grande Health Clinic. She brought her formidable initiative and organizational skills to all her associations there and was honored by a grateful community.
Following Dick’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 2012 they remained in Cohasset year-round. Patsy, with her remarkable and enviable ability to be happy wherever she was, was frequently heard to say, “How did we get so lucky?” She loved living by the ocean, her roses, and most especially, her family. In spite of persistent pain from chronic arthritis, she maintained her positive outlook and wonderful, upbeat disposition. Her deep faith carried her through “life’s ups and downs” as she put it, and her love for her children and grandchildren knew no bounds.
Patsy is preceded in death by her husband, Dick. She is survived by her six children, Katharine (Jonathan Choate), Sarah, Deborah, Elizabeth, John (Elizabeth Seidel) and Robert (Sara D’Eathe), grandchildren Brooke Leggat and Matthew Leggat, her sister Janet Bowler Fitzgibbons (James M. Fitzgibbons) and many nieces and nephews.
Visiting hours will be held on Thursday, May 18, 2023, from 4 PM to 7 PM at the McNamara-Sparrell Funeral Home, 1 Summer Street, Cohasset, MA. A memorial mass will be held at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Cohasset at 11 AM on Friday, May 19, followed by a reception. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to South Shore Health, 55 Fogg Road, South Weymouth, MA 02190, or online at South Shore Health. Please direct your gift to the Critical Care Unit (CCU) and reference in memory of Patricia Leggat.
South Shore Health/ Attn: Critical Care Unit (UCC)-In reference in memory of Patricia Leggat
55 Fogg Road, South Weymouth MA 02190