91 Years Young, Pat Lee Makes the Most of Life in Greenwich

Contributed by Bonnie Hann, Greenwich

Pat Lee, at 92-years-young, is Nathaniel Witherell’s featured artist for the month of November.

Ms. Lee will be exhibiting her multimedium artwork from Nov 1 through Nov 30 in the Witherell’s solarium at 70 Parsonage Rd.

Pat’s artwork is from a lifetime of painting including Chinese brush paintings, batik, oils, watercolors, acrylic and copper tooling.

At 92, Pat, is not only an artist, but is also an accomplished golfer and social bridge player.

“You have to keep your mind active, your body flexible, and cultivate a passion to make the most out of life,” Pat told her daughter Bonnie several years ago when contemplating a move to Greenwich.  “And if I do move, you have to learn how to play bridge.”

That was five years ago.

\”Harvesting Rice\”- a Batik painted on cotton. Process consists of covering a painting with hot wax, letting it dry, then rolling it up and cracking the dried wax and painting a deeper color in the cracks. When dry, the dried wax is washed off.

Pat departed sunny, dry, Desert Hot Springs, California to live with her daughter’s family – Bonnie, husband Jim, and their two almost adult children, Marisa and Christopher, in Greenwich.

Shortly after arriving, she joined the Greenwich Senior Center and made friends quickly, playing bridge and continuing her life-long love for Art by joining multi-talented Chris Gordon’s Art Class (she even sold one of her paintings Chris had exhibited at Town Hall two months after relocating here.)

With golf being her first love, Pat manages to play nine-holes with Bonnie on a weekly basis whenever the weather cooperates.

Born in 1926, Pat grew up in Haddonfield, NJ. Her father, J.W. Goldthorp, an attorney and land developer, had bought many acres of land before the Depression hit, hoping to make a good investment. Instead it just sat there.

He decided to use the land and build a golf course, which later became Woodcrest Country Club.

Pat and her siblings helped run and maintain the pro shop and golf course for many years.  Pat and her sister Betty were the first two girls to represent Haddonfield High School Boys Golf team in 1940.

Pat Lee with her Oil Painting of Woodcrest's 18th hole - her childhood home, and father's golf course he built.

Pat Lee with her Oil Painting of Woodcrest’s 18th hole – her childhood home, and father’s golf course he built.

Pat eventually married a golfer, James Stewart, between the 18th hole and 1st tee of Woodcrest and they left New Jersey soon after. They lived in New Orleans, LA; California. Later, a job with Kaiser Aluminum took them overseas for 15 years to Bangkok, Thailand and Singapore.

While living in Bangkok, Pat learned the art of Batik and taught first grade at “ISB” the International School of Bangkok.  First graders were taught off campus in a little school house built on stilts next to one of Bangkok’s many “klongs” (waterways).  Some of her students even came to school on a boat.

Pat also passed her passion for golf to her son, Jamie, while living in Thailand.  At 10, he won the Royal Bangkok Sports Club’s Men’s Golf Tournament and also played on the ISB Boys High School Golf Team.

Living in Singapore for many years, Pat took every advantage to soak up local art, learning copper tooling and studying the art of Chinese Brush Painting under several teachers.

Daughter Bonnie was old enough by then to accompany her mom to her art classes and adopted her mother’s passion for art.

After 10 years in Singapore, Pat moved to Florida for a few years teaching Chinese Brush Painting at Pensacola Junior College and later moved back to California and lived in the desert next to Palm Springs for a number of years.

“Bonnie tried to get me to move to Greenwich a few years ago,” Pat said. “Living in Southern California, we could play golf 365 days of the year if we wanted, so I lived on a golf course at Mission Lakes Country Club.  I was lucky to have won our ladies Club Championship more than once.  All my siblings had golf successes – Sister Janie won golf bragging rights since she had 14 holes-in-one (I had only eight) and Sister Betty served on the USGA Women’s Committee for years, the last two as Chairman.”

Oil painting of a “Floating Market Lady” in Thailand.

Pat now happily calls Greenwich home.  She lives with the Hann family and enjoys New England’s four seasons, especially the fall when the leaves turn.

She continues to keep her mind active playing bridge, keeping her body flexible by continuing to play golf and taking exercise classes at the Senior Center, and continuing her love for Art…Definitely making the most out of life.

Oil painting of three Singaporean women Pat observed in a local market. Tea Rose picture is a Chinese Brush Painting - painted on rice paper and backed on silk.

Oil painting of three Singaporean women Pat observed in a local market. Tea Rose picture is a Chinese Brush Painting – painted on rice paper and backed on silk.