Patricia “Pat” Bleyer, 93

Patricia “Pat” Bleyer, of Stevens Point, passed away at home on May 9, 2023, at the age of 93.

Pat was born on May 15, 1929, on the kitchen table of the family farmhouse on the Bentley homestead in Shantytown, WI, to Ignatius “Nick” and Iva (née Bentley) Rutkowski. It was on that farm that Pat learned the value of hard work, practiced her strong commitment to family, and developed a great love for animals. When not working on the farm, her summers were spent across the road, on and in Wadley Lake. This is where she would meet her husband, Eddie, when he was visiting the area on a fishing trip.

After just a six-month courtship, Pat and Eddie were married on February 18, 1950, at St. Catherine’s Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After a short time living in Milwaukee, the couple settled in the Town of Hull.

Pat was so proud to live in the home she and Eddie built together in 1955. It was where they raised their children, Brian and Jean, and, later, helped to raise their grandchildren, Aimee and Abbi, and their great-grandchildren, Brad, Mason and Hailey. It was where she spoiled many pets, including all the birds and squirrels that she faithfully (over)fed from her deck. It was where she grew bountiful gardens and loved to do yardwork, even well into her 90s. It was where she baked thousands of loaves of bread and other goodies including her famous blackberry pies, “crazy cake,” cinnamon rolls, and strawberry shortcake, and where she always made popcorn balls at Christmas time.

It was where holidays and family birthdays were celebrated. It was where she always kept a fresh pot of coffee, just waiting to be shared with visitors around the kitchen table. It was where, lying in her own bed, surrounded by family, and with a beam of sunlight cast across her face, she took her last breaths just days shy of her 94th birthday. It was a beautiful passing for a beautiful soul.

Pat was a simple woman who didn’t feel the need to be anyone other than her herself. She often joked that she saved her husband a lot of money through years by not buying make-up or fancy clothes. If she did ever wear a bit of lipstick or perfume, it would be a safe bet that she and Eddie were “going for a ride;” code for taking a trip to the casino.

Pat didn’t miss a chance to help anyone in need and wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. Whether it was continuing to help with chores on the family farm long after she had moved away, cutting down trees to “make wood”, babysitting for her beloved nieces and nephews, or helping to paint her son’s cottage on the family homestead; in her late 80’s at the time; she was always happy to help. Furthermore, Pat’s home was always a safe place to land; whether you needed somewhere to stay, a hot meal or a shoulder to cry on, her door was always open.

Pat could talk to anybody and made friends easily. It wasn’t unusual for a quick run into the grocery store to turn into an hour-long gab session with friends, new and old. After all, Pat loved big and unconditionally.

Nothing was more important to her than family, which included all her precious pets through the years, most recently dogs, Princess and Macy. She enjoyed wonderful relationships with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as all of her and Eddie’s sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews, even if she was notorious for mixing up everybody’s names.

Pat had an epic sweet tooth and never met a doughnut she didn’t like. For years she kept a drawer in the kitchen reserved just for candy. She enjoyed watching football on TV (Green Bay Packers and Badgers), listening to music, playing Yahtzee and a good fish fry. In her younger years she loved camping, fishing, dancing, bowling, and golfing. In recent years, she learned to love reading books and doing puzzles.

Pat’s family would like to thank Compassus Hospice and the wonderful caregivers from Home Instead for making it possible to bring Pat back to her beloved home one last time and for helping care for her in her final days.

Pat is survived by her children, Iva Jean (Dennis Shefshik) Bleyer and Brian (Mary) Bleyer; grandchildren, Aimee (Chad Petersen) Bleyer and Abbi (James) Garavet; and great-grandchildren, Bradley, Mason and Hailey Garavet. She is further survived by sisters, Arlene Gronewald and Carol Zick; brother, Ralph Rutkowski; sisters-in-law, Louise Carsen, Florence Carros, and Anna Rutkowski; and her faithful canine companion, Princess, who never left her side and stood guard by her until the end.

Pat was preceded in death by her parents Nick and Iva; her beloved husband, Eddie; sisters, Marjorie “Margie” Montgomery, Dorothy Niekamp, and Lorraine Tuskowski; and brothers, Chester Rutkowski, Bryce “Charlie” Rutkowski, Irving “Irv” Rutkowski, and Harold Rutkowski.

A funeral service for Pat will be held at a later date this summer. Shuda Funeral Home is honored to be assisting the family. Online condolences may be left by visiting www.shudafuneral.com.