Patricia Sturcken passed quietly at home on Nov. 23, 2018, after a long fight with Multiple System Atrophy, a rare disease that robbed her of her mobility and ability to speak, but not of her love for life or her sense of humor. She was born Patricia Splinter in Waseca in 1947, the middle child of three, sister Phyllis (Von) Von Holdt, and brother, Gene (Shelby) Splinter.
Patricia graduated from Mapleton High School in 1965, and became a teacher. She married Alan Cheney and moved to Frost. They had a daughter Jean (David) Wayne and adopted daughter Raquel Cheney. After her divorce, she and her daughters lived in Mapleton, New Ulm and Marshall as she earned her master’s degree from Mankato State University and became a computer programmer/analyst, one of the first women in the field.
She moved to Marshall when she married Professor Frank Sturcken. His daughter Elizabeth (Robb Waterman) Sturcken became a part of the blended family. In 1979 Frank and Patricia had a son, Frankie, who died of leukemia in 1989. Pat said her kids were “His, Mine, Ours, and Somebody else’s.” She continued to open her heart to others for the rest of her life, adding many members to her family, Janice Kuschner, Angela (Keith) Taylor, Nathan (Destinie) Cheney, Tiffany (Andy) Galatovich, their children, and so many others.
Patricia became active in Al-Anon, and was a volunteer at local, state and national levels.
She was a musician, and played and sang at her church and to her grandchildren: John, Rylan, Anna, Daija, and Rasheed, step-grandchildren Brandon, John, Matt, and Zack, “semi-adopted grandchildren” Evelyn, Zack, Dani, Lexi, Lily, Molly, and Layla and great-grandchildren Maddie and Parker.
She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2008 and with MSA in 2009. She fought valiantly, with help from her family, the Mayo Clinic, Struther’s Parkinson Center, and many loving friends. She outlived all expectations, and continued to travel and enjoy theater and music until the very end.
She is now free from her broken body and reunited with Frank, Frankie, her parents, and many others.
A memorial service is at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. George’s Episcopal Church, 5224 Minnetonka Blvd, St. Louis Park.
Donations to the MSA Coalition.