Patricia's Story

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Patricia Sue Johnston Gilley, age 83, of Joplin, Mo., was born the first child of the late James C. (Pat) Johnston and Ethel M. Hodge Johnston on December 16th, 1933. She passed away February 14, 2017.
She was known by several nick-names... "Pooch", "Precious Stew", "Patty Sue", and "Pat". But to thoseclosest to her, she was always "Patty". She shared a happy childhood with her younger siblings, Wanda(Carroll, Webb City, Mo.), Dennis, Ron, both of Joplin, and Jess, who preceded her in death.
She attended school at Alcot, Woodland, and Oakland in Joplin, and graduated from Webb City High School with a letter in art. Though she had no further formal education, she was an avid reader and accumulated a vast knowledge of many subjects that interested her. She was a gifted, self-taught musician, able to play many instruments. Blessed with a phenomenal memory, she entertained friends and family with her imaginative story telling abilities.
She attended a Pentecostal Church where she met and later married Stephen S. Pennock, of Galena, Kan., in 1952. To this union, her only child, Stephen Michael Pennock, was born on February 14th, 1953. Twelve days later, her husband, Stephen, was killed in a tragic accident.
Patty worked in various jobs in the area but was happiest as a homemaker. She met and married J.W. Gilley in 1960 and moved to Kansas City where she lived for 25 years. There, she built a home of warmth and serenity. Gardening, quilting, writing, playing volleyball, and being a second mother to Stephen Michael's friends, many of whom call her "Mom" to this day. When her son married Debra, and presented his mother with three grandsons, her life was truly compete. She and J.W. were care givers for the two oldest boys, Stephen, Samuel, and Jason until they started school. Both these heroic young men are marines, now retired on medical disability after 5 tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen. The youngest grandson, Patrick, lives with his parents and works for the Olathe School District.
Patty was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Joplin since January, 2001. She found lasting friendships with many members. Her family and friends were the source of much of her happiness. Much joy and her life came from childhood friends, Julia and Lorene, and later knowing her dear friend, Lorinda. She introduced Wanda to her circle and they shared movies, dinners, Scrabble, and countless games of cards and dominoes.
Patty had an abiding faith in God and God's way. With her serene, non-judgmental nature, she drew many into her circle of friends. She was always more than willing to help those who needed a helping hand. She hoped to be remembered for her character in integrity.
She is survived by her siblings, Wanda Carroll, Webb City, Dennis and wife, Marcia, and Ron and wife, Betty, all of Joplin; son Stephen Michael and wife, Debra, of Osawatomie, Kan.; grandsons, Samuel and wife, Melissa, of California, Jason, of Arizona, and Patrick, of the Osawatomie; her only great-grandson, Stephen Anthony, and many nieces.
Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, February 17, at the Mason-Woodard Mortuary & Crematory with Pastor Rick Main officiating. Burial will follow in the Ozark Memorial Park Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 10 a.m. to service time at the mortuary.
The family suggests contributions to the Gideon Bible Association in care of the mortuary. Arrangements entrusted to the Mason-Woodard Mortuary & Crematory.
Published on February 15, 2017
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