December 3, 1924 - January 11, 2022
My name is Kim O’Keefe-Wilkins and I want to tell you about the most amazing, beautiful and brilliant woman I’ve ever known, my mother, Patricia J. Albright, who passed away on January 11, 2022, during a brief stay at McGraw Hospice Center in Jacksonville, Florida. My Mom was born on December 3, 1924, to her parents Wallace and Louise Johnson in Buffalo, New York. Mom received a full scholarship to the University at Buffalo upon graduating from high school, however, my grandfather thought it a better idea for her to go to work. And work she did, her whole life. My father, Raymond J. O’Keffe, surprised her on Christmas Eve, 1945, having just returned from WWII with an engagement ring. Elated, she obviously said yes and they were married on July 4, 1946. Shortly after marrying, they moved to St. Petersburg, Florida where there was no chance of snow or blizzards. Thirteen years after they married, I was born and would be their only child. In 965, my parents moved to Tallahassee with state government and the Department of Education. My Mom worked as an Administrative Assistant to the Commissioner of Education and became the first woman Cabinet Aide. She was the first woman to wear a pantsuit in the Capitol and the next day, every woman working in the Capitol wore pants. Such a trend-setter. Our lives were idyllic, happy and full of love, until my father passed away suddenly in 1971. She’d lost her high school sweetheart and the days, weeks, months, to follow would be difficult for us both. Sometime later, Mom met the second love of her life, Donald G. Albright, and they were married on July 13, 1973, in the rotunda of the Florida Supreme Court by Chief Justice B.K. Roberts. Mom and Don had so much fun together. They bought sailboats, owned a house on the Econfina River, then the Ochlockonee River, travelled to Europe multiple times, sometimes me in tow. Mom retired from the State after spending 30 years there. Not one to ever slow down, she bought a little shop, called it The Needleworks, and walking into that shop every morning was the highlight of her day. It became a mecca for people who wanted to learn to knit, crochet, do needlepoint and cross stitch. She taught hundreds of women to knit. She designed her own sweaters and being a brilliant, gifted seamstress, everything she created was beautiful. When my family moved to Jacksonville in 1987, my parents bought an RV so they could travel on the weekends to see us. Eventually, the distance became too great and they sold The Needleworks, their homes and moved to Jacksonville. Mom and Don were so special to us and we were so grateful to have them close. They were eager to keep our sons anytime we needed. They’d pop the kids into the RV but s were their dogs and a couple of cats. That RV would turn into their vacation vehicle, traveling, up the coast to Maine and Nova Scotia, parking on the ocean and eating lobster rolls every day. Fully retired now, my parents spent their days doing exactly what they wanted. Veracious readers, avid bird watchers, lovers of classical music and the symphony and spending time with us. Mom loved nature, all animals (especially her Pomeranians), adored music, architecture and the arts. She loved language and words and color, lots of color. Beige didn’t exist in her world! She was a fabulous cook, made the best pies and there wasn’t better fried chicken anywhere. In 2000, Don passed away after a brief illness. Even with this unexpected loss, Mom continued with her life, her positive attitude and her sheer love for life, love for the four of us. I met my husband, Ron Wilkins, when we were 16 so my parents knew my husband almost as long as they knew me. Our sons, Patrick Wilkins (Jacksonville, FL) and Christopher Wilkins (Asheville, NC) were the lights in their lives. She found such joy in watching our boys grow up, mature, and become men. Christopher’s partner, Rachel Goodman, was so kind to my mother and Mom enjoyed getting to know her, however, Oliver O’Keefe Wilkins, their son born last June, was the spark that always brought a smile. She was absolutely enamored with him and I thank God she was able to meet and hold Oliver. At the very end, a mention of Oliver would raise her eyebrows and bring a smile to her face. My family was the very center of everything my parents lived for and for that, I’ll be eternally grateful. Everything good in me is a direct result of my mother. I will miss her tremendously but know she had great loves, great happiness along with great sadness and I have nothing but exceptionally loving and fond memories of this woman who was in love with life. We’ll have a celebration of her life on Saturday, April 9, 2022, at Resurrection Catholic Church with burial in Tallahassee at Roselawn Cemetery.
My name is Kim O’Keefe-Wilkins and I want to tell you about the most amazing, beautiful and brilliant woman I’ve ever known, my mother, Patricia J. Albright, who passed away on January 11, 2022, during a brief stay at McGraw Hospice... View Obituary & Service Information
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