Patricia's Story

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Patricia Lawson Riley, 71, of Stillwater passed from this life on August 23, 2016. Services have been entrusted to the care of Palmer Marler Funeral Home and a wake will be held at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church on Friday evening at 7pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10am on Saturday, August 27, 2016 at St. Francis Xavier with burial to follow at Fairlawn cemetery. Public visitation will be held on Friday, August 26th from 12pm-6pm at the funeral home.

Patricia was born in New Bedford, MA on June 21, 1945 to James and Emily Gleason. She attended school in New Bedford, graduating from St. Mary's Catholic High School. Following graduation, Pat enrolled at the St. Ann's Hospital School of Nursing in Fall River, MA. She went on to earn a Master's Degree in Healthcare Administration from St. Mary of the Plains College in Dodge City, KS. She spent several years working as a nurse at a hospital in Boston before relocating to Stillwater in 1973.

Pat began her distinguished nursing career at Stillwater Medical Center working as an ER nurse in the mid 1970's. A short time later she was promoted to the position of Charge Nurse and by 1980 she had become the Director of Nursing at SMC. She received her National Certification for Nursing Administrators in 1986 and was one of less than 50 nurses in the state at that time to receive that designation. Several years later Pat was promoted to Vice President of Patient Services, a position she held until her retirement in 2000. While at SMC, Pat was named the 1989-90 Executive of the Year. She was only the second female to ever earn this honor.

Those who worked with Pat knew that she had a wealth of knowledge to share about healthcare administration. It came as no surprise to her co-workers when Pat had several articles published in "Nursing Management Magazine" including an article detailing Pat's overseeing of the computerization of the clinical areas of the hospital in 1986 and an article about how she successfully recruited nurses to SMC during the oil bust of the late 1990's when many husbands were seeking employment in other states. Pat always did her best to balance the needs of both the patients and the nurses. She made many wonderful friends during her 25 year career and carried many of those friendships long after her retirement.

Although she received many personal honors and had a very successful career, Patricia Lawson Riley considered her greatest accomplishment to be her loving family. In 1997, Pat married the love of her life, Tom Riley Jr. They enjoyed traveling extensively, spending time at their lake house and supporting the Oklahoma State Cowboys with their newly expanded family of 4 sons, daughter-in-laws and grandchildren. Pat's faith was also a very important part of her life. She was a long-time member of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church where she was active in the Saint Stephen's Ministry.

Pat left an unmistakable mark on the lives of so many people and her legacy of selfless devotion to others will live on through the lives of her children, grandchildren, and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents and husband Tom Riley Jr. She is survived by four sons: Greg Lawson of Stillwater, OK, Chris Lawson and wife Abbey of Oklahoma City, OK, Trey and Pamela Riley of Edmond, OK and Tim and Kristi Riley of Stillwater, OK. Seven grandchildren: Bailey Lawson, Beckett and Collins Lawson, Thomas and Aaron Riley, and Karsen and Jack Riley.

Memorial donations may be made to the Stillwater Medical Center Foundation for the Pat Riley Nursing Scholarship Endowment. PO BOX 2408 Stillwater, OK 74076-2408 or to St. Francis Xavier 601 S. West St. Stillwater, OK 74074.

Condolences may be sent to the family via an online guestbook at www.pmcfh.com
Published on August 24, 2016
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