Patricia Lightfoot, a world traveler, dies at 73

Patricia Lightfoot, a world traveler, who died on March 6.

Patricia Petrie Lightfoot, who attended St. Mary’s High School and was a world traveler, died on March 6. She was 73.

Lightfoot was born on May 6, 1943 in Washington D.C.

In 1958, she moved to Manhasset with her parents, James and Lillian Petrie, and her siblings: Regina, Karen and Albert.

Lightfoot attended St. Mary’s High School, where she played basketball and sang in the choir.

“She was very involved,” said Regina Papa, her sister.

She received a liberal arts degree from Marymount University, in Arlington, Virginia, which was then a junior college with an all-women student body, Papa said.

Afterward, she received a nursing degree from St. Vincent’s Hospital School of Nursing in New York City, where she spent the ensuing years as a nurse at St. Vincent’s Hospital.

“When she got to nursing school, she blossomed,” Papa said.

In 1967, she met her soon-to-be husband Paul Ryan, a physician, and the couple moved to Claremont, Calif.

Soon after, she pursued a masters degree at Claremont Graduate School, Papa said.

“She loved being in the academic world,” Papa said. 

While in Claremont, Lighfoot also raised two children: Paul and Deborah.

When her children were young, the family spent a year in in Amsterdam during Paul Ryan’s medical sabbatical.

The trip was one of many international trips taken by Lightfoot over the course of her life.

Her favorite region to visit was the Middle East, where she spent time in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt, Papa said.

“She loved that culture,” Papa said. “They were countries with rich histories.”

Lightfoot was also a community speaker and advocate on end of life and health care issues, Papa said.

“She wanted to educate people,” Papa said. “Whether they wanted to be on life support, or not be on life support, and to make sure they had everything written down.”

Lightfoot was predeceased by her husband, parents and brother, James G. Petrie,Jr.

She is survived by her two children, four grandchildren and three siblings.

The family has asked that contributions be made to The American Refugee Committee for the Patricia Lightfoot Memorial Fund.


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