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Passenger: Patricia Cushing

Sunday, October 28, 2001

Patricia Cushing always put others ahead of herself, starting with her husband, Thomas.

Patricia Cushing
dot.gifRetired service representative for New Jersey Bell, 69, Bayonne, N.J.
Sons, Thomas, John, David; daughters Alicia, Pegeen
She was traveling to San Francisco on vacation with sister-in-law Jane Folger

After meeting on a blind date, they married less than a year later in 1958. She uprooted her life in Maryland for him, quitting a job at the local phone company because the liquor store he ran was in New Jersey.

When Cushing's father-in-law died, she became the caretaker for his wife, taking her into the couple's Bayonne home. She did the same for her husband's aunt.

Growing up in the post-Depression generation, Cushing saw how hard her father worked. He labored for an electric company during the day, ate dinner and went to night school for accounting.

Cushing followed that ethic at home. She raised five children, achieving fame among them for her meatloaf, and then went back to work to help make ends meet when her youngest son, David, was about 9.

She returned to her roots and got a job with New Jersey Bell Telephone. In 1999, after 20 years, Cushing retired from her position as a service representative.

Although not a college graduate -- she was studying to become a teacher before she got married -- she had a sophisticated sensibility.

She loved music, and became a season ticket holder at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City after her husband died in 1988. She accompanied her sister-in-law, Jane Folger, to every type of cultural event.

At home, Cushing kept things proper and tidy. She never let jeans or sweatpants degrade her dresser drawers. Her sons mercilessly teased her about the dinner-table rules she imposed -- sit straight and chew with your mouth closed -- and her obsession with cleaning. If they broke those rules, they were the target of Cushing's evil eye.

Cushing believed in maintaining her dignity during adversity and never letting anyone see her down. The words "woe is me" never crossed her lips. If her son, David, was upset about his job, she would advise him to focus on the good in his life.

It was that core strength that served her well over the last few years in supporting Folger, who had gone through a divorce and the death of two sons. She was a balm for Folger's edgier personality.

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