Patricia Anne Gillespie dies

Patricia Anne Gillespie died peacefully on Pentecost Sunday, June 8, 2014. Born on Palm Sunday, April 2, 1950, to Hardy and Dru Gillespie, then of Ann Arbor, MI, she lived most of her life in Neptune Beach, FL; Swarthmore, PA; and central and northern Minnesota.
A passionately curious learner throughout her life, Pat was shaped by both formal and informal education. She was a top student and standout athlete at Fletcher High School, Neptune Beach, FL (Class of 1968), and a proud alumna of Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA (Class of 1972).
Her undergraduate degree in zoology was inspired by and contributed to her lifelong commitment to animal welfare, which she took to such remarkable lengths as building an addition onto her house to shelter her beloved blind raccoon, Tippet.
After raising her three children, Pat returned to school to study spirituality and ministry at the School of Theology at St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN, and the School of Theology at the University of the South, Sewanee, TN. She was ordained to the Episcopal priesthood in 1995 and served several small churches in rural Minnesota.
Her belief in the principle of the priesthood of all believers led her to develop and nurture the spiritual gifts of others, and the ministry teams she helped to form and mentor are among her finest legacies. Following her work in parish and team ministry, she served as a chaplain for St. Mary’s Hospice and Palliative Care, Duluth, MN, a vocation that prepared her to live with exceptional grace after her own diagnosis with terminal cancer in 2011.
Throughout her life, Pat traveled widely and loved exploring both nature and culture with friends and family. She was an avid outdoorswoman and is well remembered by Girl Scouts, youth group members, and her children and grandchildren for her adventurous spirit, which carried her into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, the Texas Hill Country, and state and national parks around the United States. Her heart always belonged to the Atlantic Ocean, however, and she was truly blessed by the opportunity to spend her last year of life in the home she grew up in, just yards from the beach she loved.
Pat is survived by her children, Miranda (Micah) Bennett, Juliet (Angela) Henry, and Brendan (Sara) Henry, and grandchildren, Patrick, Henry, and Andrew Bennett, and Nolan and Natalie Henry.
A memorial service celebrating Pat’s life in Christ will be held on Sunday, July 20, at 2:00, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 4903 Maple Grove Rd., Hermantown, MN. Visitation prior to the service will begin at 12:30.
Memorial gifts may be made to the Drusilla Gillespie EFM Scholarship Fund at St. Paul’s By-the-Sea Episcopal Church ( or the International Wolf Center (