Cover photo for Patricia F. Scarrah's Obituary
Patricia F. Scarrah Profile Photo
1935 Patricia 2023

Patricia F. Scarrah

June 11, 1935 — December 3, 2023

Bozeman

Heaven rejoices this Advent Season with the addition of a new soprano to the angel chorus. Patricia “Pat” Florence Scarrah earned her angel wings on December 3, 2023, the first Sunday of Advent.

 

On June 11,1935, Pat began her journey as the only daughter, a middle child, born to Florence and John McDonald of Butte, MT. Older brother Jay and younger brother Don as well as many cousins were her playmates and confidantes through grade school. The family often moved around the Pacific Northwest while her Dad accepted electrical work at various government facilities. But the siren call of Butte, the largest Irish population west of Chicago, lured them back to the mining city where her Dad opened his own shop, Mac’s Electric.

 

Patsy, as she was called then, was a stellar student at St. Patrick’s, Butte Central High Girls School, and Western Montana College in Dillon. In grade school, she formed life-long friendships with several other “Butte Rat” Catholic elementary school friends. In high school, through one of those friends, she met the dashing Warren Scarrah, a St. Joseph’s elementary school graduate then attending Butte Central High Boys School.

 

Patsy was a remarkable, talented athlete on the court (volleyball) in the water (swimming, synchronized swimming) and at football games and along parade routes as Butte Central’s head majorette. She could flip, toss, and twirl a baton on Butte’s steep parade route with grace, poise, and charm. She often demonstrated well into her late 80s the Rockette-like high kicks and quick marching steps she perfected as the top twirler. 

 

Patsy and Warren had a Hallmark Movie romance attending dances at the Columbia Gardens Ballroom, after-parties at burger joints, malt shops and the Peking Noodle Parlor in Butte.  Even when they left Butte for college, Patsy, for an Associate Degree in Education from Western Montana College, and Warren for a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering at Montana State College in Bozeman, they got together for games, mixers, or other social functions as often as their studies allowed. In Patsy’s case, as a student teacher in Dillion, occasionally school fundraisers and holiday parties delayed a date with Warren. 

 

An August 1957 wedding was the sequel to their high school and college courtship. While Warren continued with his studies at Purdue University, Patsy taught kindergarten at Ross Elementary School in West Lafayette, IN. This was also the time when the young Butte Rats started a family and journeyed on their first of 14 moves. Patsy temporarily left teaching, which she loved, to become a project manager and domestic engineer to ensure the growing family always felt loved, safe, and settled whenever they moved and wherever they lived. (California, back to Montana, south to Idaho, back to Montana, then east to North Dakota, and finally, back to Montana before a partial year move to Arizona as snowbirds every year for more than 15 years). When their “adventures in moving” began, Patsy was annoyed that the common job title for so many women juggling so many responsibilities was “housewife.” Patsy McDonald Scarrah was never just a housewife!

 

As their oldest daughter reached kindergarten, Pat, (Patsy was for Butte folks), returned to teaching and taught Physical Education while the family lived in Idaho Falls, ID, and tennis when they moved to Blackfoot, ID. While in Idaho she picked up singing in choruses, which she had done throughout her school years. Pat believed music was the beauty of life. She sang with the Sweet Adelines in Idaho, the Bozeman Symphonic Choir, the Intermountain Opera Association and the folk group at Resurrection Parish in Bozeman and the Grand City Singers in Surprise, AZ.

 

Pat ensured her daughters had access to music with piano lessons from a very young age on her grandmother’s upright piano. She held her head high at their recitals and concerts, even when their performances didn’t quite turn out as planned. At one recital, two of her daughters, who were playing a duet together, suddenly started fighting over who should play the melody. The keyboard trolling was abruptly stopped by Sister Rose, on the stage, in the middle of the recital. It did not deter Pat. Piano lessons continued through junior high and were then traded for guitar, flute, trumpet, and cello lessons. Around the end of their high school years, Mom finally accepted that her daughters were never going to be professional musicians.

 

Before the girls graduated and left home, Pat took up painting and created many magnificent pieces of art over the next thirty years. She excelled at pine trees and mountains, much to the thrill of the entire family who loved her subjects of choice! She also renewed her interest in swimming. She could swim the breaststroke faster than many freestyle swimmers and swam hundreds of miles at the pools on Montana State University Campus for years. She even made the front page of the Bozeman Chronicle in 1979 for swimming 200 miles in the pool that year. 

 

Pat embraced her Irish heritage as a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. She joined the Bozeman Women’s Activities Group (BWAGS), and at the same time, began a fierce passion for beading. She created beautiful jewelry for dozens of her well-coordinated outfits and took pride in the numerous compliments she received. Pat loved fashion and was a “fashionista” well before the term became mainstream. 

 

Mom was preceded in death by her parents, Florence and John McDonald; her brother’s, Don and Jay McDonald; her loving husband and partner in life and eternity, Warren; her infant son, Joseph Philip; and infant daughter, Margaret Mary.

 

Mom is survived by three loving daughters, Kathie Scarrah, Terry (Steve) Dysart and Patty Scarrah; grandson, Killian (Christa) Alston; and great grandsons, Kylen, Bridger, and Beckett Alston. She is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

 

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 13, at Resurrection Parish in Bozeman, MT. Visitation will begin at 9:00 a.m. A reception will follow the burial at Dahl’s Funeral & Cremation Service. Mass will be live streamed at Resurrectionbozeman.org

 

Memorials can be made to Butte Central Catholic Schools (buttecentral.org), Intermountain Opera Bozeman (Intermountainopera.org) the Bozeman Symphony (bozemansymphony.org), the Cancer Support Community of Montana (cancersupportMontana.org) or to an organization of the donor’s choice.

 

Pat was passionate about her family, faith and fashion. Her favorite colors were royal blue and all variations of blue, purple, and Irish kelly green.  If you are inclined, please celebrate Pat by wearing bright colors as we send her on her final journey.  

 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Patricia F. Scarrah, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

9:00 - 10:00 am (Mountain (no DST) time)

Resurrection University Catholic Parish

1725 South 11th Avenue, Bozeman, MT 59715

A reception will follow the burial at Dahl Funeral & Cremation Service. Mass will be live streamed at resurrectionbozeman.org.

Pat was passionate about her family, faith and fashion. Her favorite colors were royal blue and all variations of blue, purple, and Irish kelly green.  If you are inclined, please celebrate Pat by wearing bright colors as we send her on her final journey.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Mountain (no DST) time)

Resurrection University Catholic Parish

1725 South 11th Avenue, Bozeman, MT 59715

A reception will follow the burial at Dahl Funeral & Cremation Service. Mass will be live streamed at resurrectionbozeman.org.

Pat was passionate about her family, faith and fashion. Her favorite colors were royal blue and all variations of blue, purple, and Irish kelly green.  If you are inclined, please celebrate Pat by wearing bright colors as we send her on her final journey.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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