Patricia Jaffray


Patricia Jaffray was volunteer extraordinaire

  • Article by: TIM HARLOW
  • Star Tribune
  • January 29, 2010 - 9:32 PM

Patricia Dorn Jaffray led a philanthropic life that landed her in Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine's Volunteer Hall of Fame.

From her early volunteer endeavors with Abbott Hospital and the United Way in the 1950s and 1960s to her final days, Jaffray was "the proverbial Energizer Bunny in everything she did," said Nicky Carpenter, past chairwoman of the board of the Minnesota Orchestral Association, another organization that Jaffray gave her time and talents to. Jaffray was chairwoman of the 1975 Symphony Ball and for more than 30 years sat on numerous committees responsible for fundraising and planning special events.

"She was a great champion and ambassador for the orchestra," said Heidi Droegemueller, director of development for the Minnesota Orchestra Association.

Jaffray, 78, died from complications related to pneumonia on Jan. 23 at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

Her love of gardening led her to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, where for the past six years she was a trustee and helped plan the annual "Gala in the Gardens" dinner party fundraiser. She was president of the Wayzata Garden Club from 1983 to 1984 and held leadership positions with the Lake Minnetonka Garden Club and the National Garden Club of America.

Jaffray was a trustee at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. As a long time member of the Friends of the Institute, she served as president, vice president and chairwoman of the 1970 fashion show. She initiated Art in Bloom, the institute's annual art and flower festival, now in its 27th year.

"To launch a new program takes vision and courage, and those two words describe Pat," said museum director and president Kaywin Feldman.

Her résumé of volunteer service includes the Minneapolis chapter of the American Red Cross, the Minneapolis Heart Institute, Blake Middle School PTA, and most recently the Board of Trustees at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.

"She was a gentle woman of extraordinary energy who combined keen intelligence with down-to-earth common sense," said the Rev. Dennis Dease, university president.

Described by her husband of 32 years, Ben, as a woman who was always on the go, Jaffray "joined boards where she had an opportunity to get involved in the mission" and not just hold a position, he said.

She enjoyed cooking, needlework, traveling, reading, and playing bridge and golf.

In addition to her husband, Ben Jaffray, of Wayzata, she is survived by three daughters, Linda Comstock of Newton, Mass., Laura Thorpe Bergerson of Deephaven, and Lucy McKee of Boulder, Colo.; two sons, Michael Thorpe of Chaska and Tim Thorpe of Minnetonka; four stepsons, David Jaffray and John Jaffray, both of Deephaven, and Robert Jaffray and Draper Jaffray, both of Wayzata; her stepmother, Beverlee Dorn of Wayzata, nine grandchildren and eight step-grandchildren.

Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. today at the Church of St. Bartholomew, 630 E. Wayzata Blvd., Wayzata.

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