Barbara Pate lost her battle with Alzheimer’s disease on November 26, 2015 at the age of 84.
Barbara was born in South Bend, Indiana, on December 2, 1930. She was preceded in death by her parents, Minnie Bell Nicholson Hodgins and William Leroy Hodgins; and her sisters, Myra Flowers and Coral Hacker; her first husband, Daniel Neiswender; and her second husband, Sidney K. Pate. She is survived by one sister, Lois Hedrick; and daughter, Emily Neiswender Mosley, son-in-law, Thomas Mosley, and her beloved grandson, Matthew, of Ridgeland, MS.
Barbara had an idyllic childhood, especially after her father, returning from military service, moved the family to a farm in a small village called Puddletown in rural Indiana. This is no doubt where she developed her love of nature. As a teen, she attended Studebaker High and graduated Summa Cum Laude. In 1950, she married Dan Neiswender and the couple moved to Bloomington where she worked as the secretary for the head of the art department at Indiana University. The couple then moved to New Orleans, Louisiana and in 1960, welcomed their only child. Barbara worked as a secretary at the Delgado Museum, which later became known as the New Orleans Museum of Art. During her tenure, she advanced to the position of Assistant Director for Development at NOMA. She was highly successful in acquiring grants and raising funds and was instrumental in procuring exhibits such as The Treasures of Tutankhamun, the Febergé Collection, many permanent art acquisitions, and major building expansions. She fully embraced the life and culture of New Orleans, attended St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, and loved raising her daughter, while being able to travel the world for her work.
In 1983, she married Sidney K. Pate. The couple had a rich life full of family and friends. They enjoyed traveling, and a cruise to England on the Queen Elizabeth II to visit her mother’s homeland was a highlight. Barbara retired from NOMA in 1988 after a very fulfilling 30-year career, and the Pates moved to their property in Covington, Louisiana. There, Barbara was able to reconnect with her love of nature by gardening, canoeing and tending to the property. Indoor loves included cooking, especially her homegrown vegetables, needlework, and reading and was a member of several book clubs. The couple attended Christ Episcopal Church where Barbara helped in the office and was involved with many volunteer projects. In 1993, they welcomed the birth of their only grandchild, Matthew, the true love of her life.
After Sidney’s death in 2010, Barbara moved to Ridgeland, MS to live with her daughter who cared for her with Alzheimer’s disease. Barbara was respected and loved by co-workers and had many life-long friends who appreciated her generosity, warmth and wit. She was a loving and devoted wife, mother, and grandmother. She will be greatly missed by her family.
The family wishes to thank the staff of both Campbell Cove Memory Care Center and Siena Skilled Nursing facility of St. Catherine’s Village, sitters from Southern Homecare, and the staff of the Alzheimer’s Association Mississippi Chapter, as well as many supportive friends for their patience, dedication, compassion and wisdom over the last five years. Special gratitude is due to Dr. Kathy Gregg of UMMC and Dr. George Patton of St. Dominic Health System.
Mrs. Pate will be interred at a private ceremony in the columbarium of St. James’ Episcopal Church in Jackson. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The MIND Center at UMMC, which is dedicated to finding the cause and cure of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
UMMC Office of Development, 2500 State Street, Jackson, MS 39216.