Patricia Hershberger, longtime resident of Davis, passed away peacefully at home Sunday morning, July 27, after a surprisingly brief period of illness. She was the best friend, wife and partner for life of John Hershberger. Patricia was the beloved mother of Margien (son-in-law Adrian Tolson) of New Canaan, Conn.; Debbie (son-in-law Dave Lockett) of Los Gatos; and Rebecca (son-in-law Aaron Grau) of San Francisco. She was the much-loved Nana to Graham and Claire Tolson, Allen and Kevin Lockett, and Elyssia and Selena Hershberger.
Born to John and Margaret Colbert in New Ulm, Minn., Patricia graduated from high school from Holy Angels Academy in Minneapolis. While still attending Marycrest College in Iowa, she produced and hosted two live weekly television shows. After graduation she headed for the bright lights of New York City where she edited Columbia University publications. Subsequently, she went to Europe for four years and worked for the U.S. Army as a program director in service clubs on military bases in Germany.
Upon returning from Europe, she moved to the West Coast. Among other pursuits, she taught high school English and pursued her master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies at the University of Oregon. There, she met and married John. Next stop was Cornell University in upstate New York where they owned a 5-acre “farmette” and Patricia was a 4-H leader. There were two more moves, first to Florida and then to Ohio, before finally settling in Davis in 1979.
While in Florida, Patricia started her own company and produced award-winning independent documentaries and educational programs. She was an active member of her community wherever she lived. Among her many activities, she championed arts education in the public schools and founded the Davis School Arts Foundation. She also devoted a great deal of time and energy to the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services over many years.
Three years ago, Patricia and John moved to San Mateo to be closer to their daughters and their families. Until mid-June of this year she was still engaged in her new San Mateo community, volunteering at Samaritan House and tutoring in the library’s adult literacy program.
Her goals in life were to be a good mother, a loving and supportive wife and to leave the world a little better place because of her efforts. Those who knew her well agree that she clearly succeeded in all three endeavors.
In accordance with her wishes, there will not be a funeral. There will be a joyful celebration of her life in Davis for family and friends. Those wishing to honor Patricia’s life are invited to make a donation to Sacramento Food Bank and
Family Services, www.sacramentofoodbank.org, in honor of Father Dan Madigan, or to the Patricia Hershberger Grants Program, Davis School Arts Foundation, P.O. Box 4203, Davis, CA 95617.