Sisters celebrate special 'St. Patricia's Day'
Patricia Ann Howder celebrated her 60th birthday on March 17.
"It was honestly the best birthday that she's ever had," said her sister, Dr. Barbara Reed, in a telephone interview. "Being that her birthday is on St. Patrick's Day, she calls it St. Patricia's Day."
Patricia, or Patsy, as she's been known all her life, is a resident at a group home near Moose Lake. Patsy was born with Down Syndrome.
"Most people with Down Syndrome don't live to be very old," said Barbara. "They often have heart problems and other problems."
Jill Piette, one of her caregivers, said Patsy likes to visit with people.
"Her favorite color is green," she added. "Patsy likes to play games. She's very lucky. Every time we play Yahtzee, she wins a game.
"She loves the Beatles. She knows all the words to every Beatles song."
Patsy and Barbara were born in Spokane, Washington. They moved with their parents to various homes and finally settled in Seattle, Barbara explained.
"When I left home to get married, Patsy decided she was going to leave home, too," Barbara explained. "She moved to a co-op home in Washington.
"After Dad died, Patsy and my mother came to Moose Lake to live near me in 1994. When my mother was no longer able to care for her, Patsy lived in a group home in Cloquet."
Patsy has held several jobs over the years.
Jill explained that Patsy worked at Pinewood in Cloquet and later at Moose Tracks in Moose Lake, shredding paper and doing other simple tasks. Barbara explained that Patsy has retired from working.
Patsy had some health problems recently, and Barbara feared that she wouldn't live to see her 60th birthday. But the health problems were resolved and Patsy celebrated St. Patricia's Day with people who came throughout the day.
"When Patsy got up in the morning, the house was decorated with balloons and there was a cake," said Barbara. "She wore a little crown for her party. She enjoyed every minute of the day."