On February 17, 1941, Patricia Dair Lovorn came into this world as the second daughter of Overton Tolliver Lovorn and Bonnie Kate Whitehead Lovorn at home, in Louisville, Mississippi. Her sister Cynthia Mae Lovorn Bethany was her only sibling and although they were as opposite as the east is to the west, they never failed to maintain a life full of love and memories.
On the school playground, she excelled in defeating the boys that challenged her and she fought fiercely to protect her sister. She picked cotton on hot summer days just to be able to ride by mule and buggy with her dad to the cotton gin. She loved having her hair sucked up into the gin vacuum. She giggled even thinking about it.
She attended and graduated from Louisville High School in 1959 (go WILDCATS) where she played basketball. After graduation, she attended East Central and was a Centralette. She and her then boyfriend, John Arthur, left there with $13 in her pocket to attain a degree in education from the University of Mississippi.
With plans to marry, she paid for a dress from Goldsmiths in Memphis. When she went the week before to pick it up, they had never ordered it, so she was offered any dress in the store. Instead, she borrowed a dress from her friend and used the money for a honeymoon to see the “blue grass” of Kentucky.
August 23, 1963 with Rev. Clarence Mayo and Rev. Vernon May officiating at the First Baptist Church in Louisville, she married her love, John Arthur Eaves. Unbeknownst to Patricia, her beauty had captivated John as she exited a school bus on the campus of Mississippi State where he attended. She had always planned stay single and become a missionary in Africa. Instead, her mission field would later become her gardens and her service to those in her own back yard.
She was an avid gardener from a very young age and spent most of her time outside fervently planting as many hybrid tea roses as possible as well as tulips from Holland, daffodils, azaleas, zinnias, clematis, day lilies and irises. She also insisted on multiple vegetable gardens. Her favorite meal was a juicy tomato wedged between slices of her homemade biscuits. They were the best breakfast on earth.
Under her care and as did her gardens grow so did her three children, John Arthur Jr, Paige Leigh, and Tiffany LaDair. They became her life’s work but only after the nurturing of her love of Christ and her love for her husband.
Shorthand was her secret way of making sure her children could never know any of her secrets especially when it came to Christmas presents. Typing, bookkeeping, and English were mastered by her and she taught her students at Byram with passion for each subject. In Eastern Star, she rose to the ranks as Grand Worthy Matron and was depicted as Ester. She fertilized each aspect of her life completely through her guidance of Jesus and lived each moment to glorify Him.
She delivered floral arrangements to those in the hospital, comforted those who were grieving, and delivered countless meals to the elderly and sick.
Her life though wasn’t always roses. In the fall of 1989, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She fought cancer, as she did everything else, with her steadfast faith, unwavering strength, and her captive gracefulness. Patricia was a true “Steel Rose” as her children called her. She flourished in spite of adversity and pressed into her love of Christ, her study of the Bible, and her service even more.
Her faith grew exponentially as did her friendships at Morrison Heights Baptist church in Clinton, Mississippi. Even in her final days, she nurtured her friends with self-less giving, love, prayer, and laughter. She cherished each of them. Her generosity knew no bounds. Her love of material things was never where she stored her treasures. To her husband’s, dismay she didn’t hesitate to load cow manure for her gardens in the back of her new yellow corvette.
Her family garden grew when she became a grandmother. Her grandchildren were carefully taken care of like her children before them but with extra fervor. She fiercely protected and supported John Arthur Eaves III, Sterling Overton Eaves, Christopher Brady Eaves, Christian Andrew Eaves, Alexandra Logan Gill, Meallan Vitali Krauchenka, Mary Margaret Bella Ray, Morgan Quinby Ray and Ava Lee Eaves. Her garden flourished with the addition of her “children-in-love” Samuel Jonnah Schlesinger (Tiffany), Angel Ainsworth Eaves (John Jr.) and Morgan Gene Ray (Paige). She deeply loved them as her own. Patricia’s finest blooms were the love of her husband John for 57 years of marriage, her children by birth, her children by marriage, and her grandchildren.
She cultivated her own mission field in every aspect and every place she lived and the people that she met. Not a stranger to anyone, she was deeply convicted to lead each person she met to her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ even the person next to her on a plane.
After moving to Madison, Mississippi, she and John together built Rosemeade, their Southern Colonial home along with their enchanting gardens. She inspired and encouraged her husband to attain his dreams politically and through his work as an international plaintiff trial attorney. Her gift to her husband, who often flew overhead on his travels, was a large red heart shaped driveway. It was a symbol of her eternal love for him to see from the air. It also symbolized her heart for the Heaven that she always knew would be her eternal address. She opened her home, her gardens, and mostly her heart to each person that came to visit. She encouraged churches, nursing homes, schools, and all to come visit her and her formal gardens. She always said “This is just a small glimpse of Heaven”.
Her faith continued to grow as she became a member of Pinelake Church. She didn’t miss a service, even if she had to watch online or listen to a CD. She offered up her strong opinions often and gave counsel when asked. She believed everything was either black or white, and any answer you needed could be found in the bible. Momma Pat, as she was lovingly named, fueled the fire of Christ in each of her family members. She often included others into our family realm.
She crocheted, mastered cake decorating, painting, arranging silk flowers, and loved her many fur-babies and grand fur-babies. Holidays were a time to shower her family garden with love, delish cooking, and her famous pralines. Her spirit was strong and her dreams were plenty. Patricia gave everything of herself and attributed her life success to always looking upward towards The Father.
On January 24, 2019, she was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. As she again stood in the face of this disease, she never blinked nor gave into the incredible pain that would come. Just like the boys on the playground, she defied all odds. She outlived the statistics as they didn’t stand a chance against her fighting spirit. Each day was a new mission to sow her seeds. Patricia, would finally reap them on the Eve of the Sabbath at 8:52 pm, on the First of Spring. She entered into the presence of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. On that night, as her family wept, they also rejoiced and surrounded her physical body while she was at last saw the face of Jesus and heard her Heavenly Father say “WELL DONE PATRICIA MY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT, WELL DONE.”
She bloomed that night in Heaven. Our Rose has found her eternal garden.
“... Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, 'If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.”
John 8:52 ESV
For everyone’s safety during this time, a private family service to be held at Rosemeade Chapel this Thursday at 11. A live stream can be found on the Wright and Ferguson website www.wrightferguson.com. In the beginning of summer, a celebration of life and home-going service will be held in the gardens of Rosemeade for friends and family. We would love to see you all there. Details to follow.
A very special thank you to all her healthcare workers and doctors at MD Anderson. We especially want to express profound gratitude to Dr. Qu and those at Jackson Oncology and Radiology for their incredible expertise and care. Dr. Qu’s undivided devotion to our Queen will never be forgotten. He is truly a hero among us.
In lieu of flowers please make donations to Pinelake missions at www.pinelake.org/give or CRU Give. www.give.cru.org gift #2284414
God bless you all.