Patricia Joyce D’Amico died on April 24 from complications due to the COVID-19 coronavirus. She died on the day that the number of deaths from the global pandemic topped 50,000 in the US. She was 90 years old. She was mother to four children, including Mayor John D’Amico, his brother James, and sisters Kris and Karen, six grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Patricia was warm and optimistic and often found herself excitedly telling stories from her regular life.
She was born in Detroit, Mich. in 1929 and married her husband James at the age of 20 in 1949, and they were together until he died in 1998. Together they lived in Austin, Tex., during the 1950s, and in the mid 70’s moved to Maui, Hawaii, then spending some of the 1980s and 1990s in Las Vegas, Nev., and then she moved finally to California after her husband died to live near her son Jim. She spent the last 18 months of her life in a memory care facility in Phoenix, Ariz.. near her daughters.
“My mother graduated from high school at the top of her class, with a full scholarship to college and though her mother wouldn’t allow her to go to college, she remained intellectually curious her whole life,” said Mayor D’Amico. “And she insisted that her two daughters and two sons all attend college, and for that we are all grateful. My mother had a natural kind of pioneer fearlessness. With no education and few resources, she believed that everything and everywhere and everyone was an adventure to try to understand and enjoy.”
She started her own condo rental cleaning business on Maui, and worked in retail sales for Bullocks and JC Penney for at least 20 years. She was an Eisenhower and Nixon Republican and a Kennedy and Obama Democrat. She believed a little bit in magic, a little bit in God and mostly in caring and love.
“What I remember most about my mother through the years is that she was always happy, happy to be alive, happy with her kids, happy to know that she had enjoyed her life every day,” said D’Amico. “As she found herself losing her memory in the last years of her life, she never lost her sense of joy and being present. It was always a good reminder to me and our whole family that simple pleasures and a sunny disposition do add up.”
She loved putting her toes in the sand at the beach across the street from where we lived in Kihei. “In the bay nearby is where we spread my father’s ashes and once we can all travel again safely, we will spread my mother’s ashes there too, so that they can spend eternity on earth together,” said D’Amico.