Patricia Adams Bland
Beloved mother, grandmother, teacher and friend, Patricia Adams Bland passed away peacefully on Dec. 24, 2021, at the age of 87 from complications related to Alzheimers. To the end, her kindness always prevailed. Many were made better by her proper and polite demeanor.
Born on March 18, 1934, in Southport, N.C., Pat was the only child of David and Deena Mae Adams. She lived in Southport during her formative years and graduated from Southport High School in 1952. Pat loved going to the many beaches surrounding the area and always spoke fondly of her memories growing up in Southport. (And in fact, she never lost her sweet, southern accent – even after living in Alaska for more than 50 years!) She attended Gardiner-Webb Junior College and transferred to East Carolina College (formerly East Carolina Teachers College and now East Carolina University), where she received a degree in business education in 1957.
In 1962, Pat married Wiley Ray Bland. After the birth of their first son, Wiley, Jr., in Chapel Hill, N.C. in 1966, the couple moved from Durham, N.C., to Anchorage, Alaska, where their second son, Peter, was born in 1968. Pat and Wiley divorced in 1968, but she remained in Anchorage to raise her two sons, Wiley Jr. and Peter. She lived there for nearly the rest of her life.
It was during this period that Pat found her calling as a teacher at SAVE High School. She was among the first to start the school in 1968; helped build its vocational education program, and she remained at SAVE until her retirement in 2012. Pat’s work was awarded with The February Teacher of the Month in 1984. Her then-principal, Jerry Strauss, said, “Mrs. Bland is a devoted teacher who spends many hours of her own time, in addition to the regular school hours, making sure her students are well coordinated on the job site. She is respected by fellow staff members and students.” Even long after retirement, Pat would hear from former students crediting her for positively changing their lives.
Pat’s “hobbies” included raising two hockey-playing boys. She embraced being a hockey mom and often said with a smile, “I spent a lot of time at the rink.” She was recognizable at many games and cheered not only for her sons, but for all the young players she knew. Along the way, she made many lifelong friends. It’s no surprise they still tell stories today about her Southern charm, sense of humor, and the way she always put others before herself.
Maybe not surprisingly, another hobby of Pat’s was watching basketball. She enjoyed following the career of Michael Jordan – from his college days through the NBA. In addition, she cheered loudly for the Utah Jazz, in Salt Lake City, where Peter’s family lives. Over the years, she traveled to Utah to visit Peter and his wife Kelli – and their sons Charlie and Ry Ry – to attend Jazz home games. For Pat, being with her family and cheering on the Jazz were true highlights, always.
An important part of Pat’s life was her role as “Grammy” to Leah, Casey, Charlie and Ry Ry. She loved them all so much and was a huge supporter of all their endeavors. She loved cheering them on from the sidelines. And she spoiled them on every opportunity she got – she was always looking for the “perfect gift” for any occasion.
Because of health issues, in 2020 Pat moved to Salt Lake City, where she blossomed. Her dancing, singing, and personality gained her many new friends. She was known as being the “sassiest, yet sweetest resident” in her new home, The Ridge at Foothill. Although she was there only a year, Pat created many memories in her new community.
We would like to thank the staff at The Ridge, and University of Utah Palliative Care Unit for their compassionate care of our mom and Grammy.
Pat is survived by her sons, Wiley, Jr. (Brandy) and Peter (Kelli) and grandchildren, Leah, Casey, Charlie and Ryan. Pat was preceded in death by her parents, David and Deena Mae.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests making donations to the Pat Bland SAVE High School Vocational Scholarship, ℅ Wiley Bland, 2415 Foraker Drive, Anchorage, AK 99517.
“Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;”
–Alfred, Lord Tennyson