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Montreal, September 25, 2020 – Over 50 friends as well as some Spiritual Assembly members of Cornwall, ON joined together to say farewell to a remarkable human being, Patricia Shayne who lived for long years in Montreal, via video streaming. On a beautiful autumn day, the funeral service was held at Alexandria, ON where Pat lived during the last decades of her life.

In a cablegram addressed to the British Bahá’í Community dated April 25, 1951, the late Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, Shoghi-Effendi, mentions of “ … the sterling qualities of fidelity, tenacity and intrepidity of the British followers of the Faith.”  These qualities were indeed part of Patricia Shayne’s existence throughout her life! 

Patricia was born in Brighton, England to George and Lilly Mae Nichols on October 12, 1927 and died peacefully at Sandfield Place Residence in Cornwall, Ontario on September 21, 2020.

During the Second World War, she met and married a Canadian soldier Marcel Jacques and immigrated to Canada in 1946 on the Queen Mary with her son and only child Raymond to join her husband in Montreal.

After over 30 years of being together, the marriage unfortunately broke up in the late 1970s, and Pat subsequently married Jimmy Shayne, a Montreal Bahá’í. They lovingly lived together until Jimmy’s death in Alexandria in 2001.

Throughout life, Pat spared no effort to make her own mother feel welcome into her life after the death of her father in 1957 when her mother moved to Canada. She made every effort to make her mother’s life more pleasant and comfortable. 

When Pat married Jim Shayne, she embraced the Bahá’í Faith and pursued her new belief with the normal zeal and intensity. She always seemed to be very pleased that she made that choice. She liked the Oneness of all religions. Like her husband Jimmy she was an ardent promoters of its principles of the oneness of humanity.

Jimmy needing a lot of care during the last years of his life and Pat cared for him in every way possible, including reminding him of telephone numbers and to keep in touch with friends and the community activities in order to help him keep his mind sharp. Jim died at 96 years old.

She spent most of her life helping and serving others. She even made her mark at the Reddy Memorial Hospital in Montréal where she worked until her retirement. They still remember how she always went the extra mile to be of service. The union often complained about her doing more work than the job required! 

In addition to her work at the Reddy Memorial Hospital, she was quite a social bee and loved to be with people. She always found some way to be of service to others. She loved humor and loved to laugh. She had a calming effect on those around her. 

Pat was an amazingly resolute person who, according to her son Raymond, “always gave her all,” facing adversity with characteristic resilience and tough-mindedness both in England during the Second World War and in Canada after her immigration.”

The first thing you would notice after all that was her true kindness, humility, her gentle nature and courteous manners. She was not only a nurse’s aid by profession but she was truly a caring individual. 

When she heard that the Bahá’í Shrine in Montreal needed someone to go there and take care of it, she and Jimmy went there every weekend and sometimes during the week to clean the place and leave a bouquet of flowers on the table in the room where Abdu’l-Bahá gave all his talks in 1912. They both cleaned the windows of the ground and top floors of that house regularly and tried to make the place worthy of many visitors who came to that holy spot.

Pat was an avid learner until the end! She learned how to use videoconferencing and every Thursday afternoon attended a Ruhi Book session on line with some friends.

She had a great sense of humour and often made everybody laugh at the Feast. She loved the Faith and never missed a 19 days Feast in Verdun.

Pat, always prayed to the Beloved Master Abdu’l-Bahá. Her Master’s Voice was always next to her! She would listen to it while the birds of paradise were warbling their melodies in harmony. Pat and Jim had a number of Magnolia and yellow-throat warblers in their home while they were in Montreal as well as beautiful and colourful African violets. 

Pat was a true friend, someone in whose presence one is in paradise, in the spiritual world. One could not be with Pat and not to be in the spiritual world. 

Here is something Pat wrote for Jimmy's second book of poetry, "Time is just a place"  "There was nothing devious about Jim. . . . To be with Jim night and day, for me was like heaven on earth. And as his health declined, we used to sit on the sofa, every afternoon, and watch old movies, and hold hands, and side by side, let the seconds, and the minutes, and the hours, and the days, and the nights, and the weeks, and the months, and the years roll by, in our own world, mixed with prayers, and music, and it is not over. Our love continues." (Summer 2005). As Jim himself wrote: "No matter where we are, there is forever."  

The sun was shining and Dvojak’s Slavonic Dances were playing and just a thought came to mind: how wonderful that you were now soaring through the illimitable space towards your beloved Jimmy – and a tear was shed for you! Jimmy used to say, when a person prays it’s like dropping a letter in a mailbox.  If you don’t let go, the letter won’t go anywhere.

Patricia leaves her son Raymond, his wife Penelope, two grandsons Steven and Peter, and one great-grandson Zachary.

From Robert Michell to Pat:

You were

Sweetness upon sweetness,

A glowing face among us

Shining with the light

Of a most tender heart. 

I am sure that up there,

Jimmy is regaling you with

Many heavenly puns and stories. 

You have now earned your wings,

Within the pantheon of God’s elect.

I know you are shining down upon us

Waiting to welcome us with the

Same gentle embrace we all knew. 

References: Golgasht Mossafai, interview with Patricia Jacques 2013 

Tributes from : Marilyn Ghadirian, Buhran Zahrai, Golgasht Mossafai, Raymond Jacques, Marc Carriere (Jimmy’s PSW carer), Maury Miloff, Jane McMillan, Todd Lawson, Lise Vigneault and Maria Chouchtari

Photos: Jimmy Shayne and Patricia at their wedding ceremony.

Members of Cornwall Spiritual Assembly at the funeral

A collage from Pat’s life

A complete video documentary from Pat’s funeral can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/vIXnaXGndmw

 

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