Patricia Morris Peloquin
For years, she had carried a quote in her wallet stating that one should end life’s journey loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” — a sentiment seemingly at odds with her life as an organized, responsible and caring professional woman, mother, wife and neighbor. The quote reminded her to enjoy life and have fun. She loved her family and friends, loved the Maryland shore and her garden, music and dancing, and she frequently reminded her daughters to stop and smell the roses.
She also said that, when she was young, single and broke, the best way to have fun was to cook a chicken for her young, single, broke friends.
Born Patricia Irene Morris in Salisbury, to Oscar Lee Morris Jr. (editor of the Salisbury Times) and the late Alyce Irene Martino, she earned money mowing lawns and doing yard work in her neighborhood. She studied tap and ballroom dance, and as a teenager, sang and danced professionally in the Eastern Shore and in Baltimore. She was head majorette and secretary of the math club at Wicomico High, taught dance in Salisbury, and entered beauty pageants.
She earned her certificate in dental hygiene from the University of Pennsylvania in 1956, and in the same year was chosen Cherry Blossom Princess for the state of Maryland. She practiced dental hygiene in Salisbury, in the offices of her uncle Albert Morris. Later, she worked in Baltimore, then in the Washington, D.C. area. From 1962-1963, she was president of the Maryland Dental Hygienist Association. In 1963, she married Robert Alfred Peloquin, and retired from dental hygiene to raise her family. She always felt it was important that someone be home when the children came home from school, and that the family dine together nightly at 6 p.m., with very few exceptions. Because her own mother passed away shortly before her wedding, she was especially appreciative of her mother-in-law, Gilbertha Peloquin.
Mrs. Peloquin was a founder of, and wrote the newsletter for, a neighborhood association in Upper Marlboro, Md., and helped organize a yearly Spring Fling for the Old Bay Trail community off White House Road. She was a founding member of the Largo Civic Association. She was a fierce advocate for her children’s education, always active in parent-teacher associations, and frequently was a volunteer in the schools. She also enjoyed taking up a series of hobbies, from painting to ceramics to cake decorating to knitting. She sewed several special outfits for her daughters, and, in the early ’70s, several brightly colored mod outfits for herself. She made sure to teach her daughters the basics of sewing; she felt all children should at least learn to fix a button or a hem.
During the short time she lived near San Diego, Calif., she enjoyed beach volleyball and learning to haggle in Tijuana, Mexico. She always enjoyed gardens and gardening, from her parents’ back yard, to her large vegetable garden and rose garden in her first house, to the Ocean City plantings with the well-placed thorn bushes to prevent the “tourists” from walking through the tomatoes. She favored a lush, dynamic garden design that was once described by a small visitor as a “beautiful jungle.” She was always interested in the weather forecast, and discussing the latest theories of healthy diet. Because her parents died in their 50s, she was amazed she stayed so healthy so long.
Everyone who knew her remarked on the strength and courage she showed as she nursed her husband through ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gherig’s disease) for five years while also taking on his portion of the household chores. As her role of caregiver became physically more demanding, she boasted about how strong her new daily workout had made her. After her husband passed away, Mrs. Peloquin took up walking 10,000 steps a day in the neighborhood to keep in shape.
One of her great joys in life was the time she spent with her family and friends in Ocean City. She chatted on the beach or on her front porch, walked for miles on the beach, served happy hour snacks to her family and friends, and arranged occasional outings to a local restaurant to watch the sunset over Assawoman Bay accompanied by the 1812 overture. She was unafraid to address rowdy young renters who were breaking Ocean City noise ordinances, to give them a chance to behave themselves before she called the cops. And she just as frequently asked the ice cream truck driver to turn down the loud music that disrupted the peace for half an hour at a time. Mrs. Peloquin was frugal, but always offered her time generously to her family and friends. She frequently helped friends trouble-shoot and repair a household problem, offered to help remove spots from carpets, and spent time with shut-ins. She frequently discovered that some parts were not strictly necessary to get small appliances working again.
Mrs. Peloquin bequeathed to her children the conviction that problems can be solved if you put your mind to it, and “keep plugging away” at it. Because she always seemed to succeed at any task she decided to set her mind to, her daughters are still amazed that she did not succeed in overcoming the lung cancer that was diagnosed in March 2012, and which took her so shortly afterwards. She is survived by her three daughters, Dr. Renee Peloquin Mattie, Michelle Peloquin Riess and Dr. Angela Peloquin Moss; her brother,
Oscar Lee (Monk) Morris III; and six grandchildren. Her husband, Robert A.
Peloquin, died in 2003. Two of her brothers, William Mack Morris and Jerry
Martino Morris, predeceased her.
A celebration of life will be held from 11 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Sept. 6, followed by a service at noon at Georga P. Kalas Funeral Home, 6160 Oxon Hill Road, Oxon Hill, Md. Interment will be at 2 p.m. at Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, 11331 Amherst Ave., Silver Spring, Md. 20902.