On May 11th , 2020, Patricia Anne O’Neill Tisdale, loving wife, mother, grandmother, and best friend was lost to cancer. She was a pillar of strength and love in our family and will be greatly missed. The previous day, her entire family celebrated a unique Mother’s Day together, filled with love and support. That day greatly lifted Pat’s spirit and gave everyone an opportunity to express appreciation for ways in which she had enriched their lives.
Pat was born in Wichita, Kansas, at St Francis Hospital on December 17, 1937, to Willis Andrew O’Neill and Dorothy Price O’Neill. When Pat was age three, the O’Neill family moved to San Diego where she attended Alice Birney Elementary School, Horace Mann and Roosevelt Junior High Schools, and San Diego High School as well as San Diego State University. At SDSU she majored in elementary education, and art. She also was a member of the Chi Omega sorority. During college summers, Pat worked at the new San Diego Children’s Zoo, where she met her future husband, David, also a student at SDSU. Newly commissioned USN Ensign David and Pat were married July 11, 1958, at the First Presbyterian Church in downtown San Diego. They were soon stationed at Yokosuka, Japan for three years where two of their four sons, Scott and Brian, were born. Returning to San Diego, in 1961, David retired from active naval duty, and joined San Diego Trust and Savings Bank as an Investment Officer. Pat and David settled back into their hometown, renewing friendships and adding two more sons, Brad and Steve, to their family.
In 1966, the family relocated to Santa Barbara, where David joined an investment firm which later became Starbuck, Tisdale & Associates while Pat concentrated on raising four boisterous sons in their 1910 Montecito home. She enjoyed the young friends of her sons who stopped by the Tisdale home. They always seemed to know when it was Taco night! Pat became a dedicated member of the Santa Barbara community during an era of women’s lib, Vietnam war protests, in a counterculture movement of hippies, free love, and free speech! Pat joined the Junior League of Santa Barbara where she chaired the Santa Barbara VD Education Coalition and spent 11 years on the CA Governor’s VD Education Council, (appointed by Gov’s. Reagan, Deukmajian, and Brown). She served with the Tri-County U.S. Comprehensive Health Planning Association and was on the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury. Pat was on the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Women’s Committee for 25 years. She was a board member of the Channel City Club, and a member of the Santa Barbara Committee on Foreign Relations, Young America’s Foundation and Santa Barbara Women’s Fund. She was President of SBCC Garvin Theatre “Supporting Cast”. Pat also served briefly on the Women’s Board of the Santa Barbara Art Museum and supported many organizations such as the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, Music Academy of the West, and the Lobero Theatre Women’s Auxiliary. In addition, she belonged to the Santa Barbara Yacht Club, Birnam Wood Golf Club and the Little Town club. After trade opened up with China, Pat and her partner/mentor Marge Dwelle, became importers of Japanese and Asian antiques with their “KIKYO Asian Antiques and Art” business. Travels took Pat and Dave to Japan, China, South East Asia, India and parts of the Middle East, Turkey, England, France, Italy and Africa as well as many parts of our beautiful United States. Relationships were the center of her life; family was the center of her relationships. She guided (or ruled) gently with charm, love and humor. Once, she presented “Christmas Day in Tisalot” (a play on Camelot), where the grandchildren, attired in Elizabethan costumes learned courtly manners. Pat enjoyed the art of Ikebana which she studied while living in Japan. Her interest in American history lead her to trace part of her ancestry back to the early days of Jamestown. Much to her delight, she learned that she was eligible to join the National Society of Colonial Dames in America. Pat loved theatre, travel, history, animals and a good laugh. She was truly grateful to have lived in beautiful Santa Barbara with its stellar people and wonderful friends. Pat is survived by David, her husband of 62 years; her four sons: Scott (Sophie), Brian (fiancée Jill), Brad (Denise), and Steve; five grandchildren, Nolan, Luke, Danielle, Davis, and Britni; and brother, Michael O’Neill of Belmont, CA. Given the restrictions of COVID- 19, there was a small family gathering to lay Pat to rest. A celebration of Pat’s life will be scheduled when circumstances allow.
The family wishes to thank the members of the medical community who cared for Pat at the end of her life. In lieu of flowers, donations in Pat’s memory may be made to a charity of your choice.