Beloved and loving mother, dear sister and aunt, longtime friend and loyal colleague of so many, Patricia Ann Pucino Youngren died peacefully in her sleep on the early morning of Jan. 25, 2021. Despite health challenges in recent months, this was truly unexpected, and we are heartbroken by the sudden loss of our mother.
Patti was born to John L. Pucino and Donna Pinto Pucino on Sept. 3, 1941, in a little town “up the Hudson River” called Newburgh, N.Y. She lived there for her formative years, graduating from high school at Newburgh Free Academy (NFA) in 1959 and working after graduation at New York Military Academy (NYMA) in the early 1960s. It was while working at NYMA that she met Michael A. Youngren, who was serving in the U.S. Air Force and stationed at what was then Stewart Air Force Base in Newburgh. The two would marry in December, 1963 and eventually moved across the country, first to Pocatello, Idaho (Mike’s hometown), and ultimately to Salt Lake City, Utah in the late ‘60s.
Though they would divorce in 1973, Patti and Mike had two children – a son, John, born in Newburgh, and a daughter, Michelle, born in Salt Lake. And while she always considered herself a “New Yorker” and was forever proud of those roots and that association, Patti settled into Salt Lake for the next 50-plus years and had many friends, associates, social connections and influences. She was funny, and funny things happened to her. And she was never afraid to tell stories about those things. Family, friends and co-workers were constantly entertained. She had a generous soul and a big heart.
In 1973, Patti took a new job – first as a receptionist, and later rising through a series of positions – at what was then called Zions First National Bank. She loved working at the head office, in downtown Salt Lake City, for the next 27 years. She made and maintained many special relationships with clients and co-workers from the era; she retired in 2000 as a Commercial Loan Officer and had a network of friends from her Zions family for years. She was always proud of her work and put in a hard day, every day. Her work ethic was unequaled, especially given raising two young kids as a single mother (us against the world).
After retirement, she unexpectedly encountered a series of serious health problems, challenges that would plague her off-and-on for the next two decades. But, she was a fighter and she overcame long odds to come back time and again, as recently as August, 2020. She also always maintained her spirit and sardonic sense of humor. Laughter was common with Patti, and she made family, friends and neighbors, doctors, nurses and so many medical staffers and guests feel comfortable, no matter the situation.
She is survived by her son, John Youngren, and her daughter, Michelle Watson (Craig), as well as her sister, Susan Roe (David) and a nephew, Greg Roe (Alicia). She’s preceded in death by her parents, John and Donna. She counts many other cousins, nieces, nephews and relations. She was mad until the end she didn’t get any grandchildren. And yes, she would have been a great “Nana.”
Patti loved life, and she loved being “in the know” and tuned-in to the news and pop culture. She was thrilled and grateful to get to see the Inauguration of President Joe Biden just a week or so ago. She loved a political debate, but she also loved a good TV drama, or the latest episode of “The Real Housewives” or “The View.” She lived for the annual sale at Nordstrom, those coupons from Macy’s and traipsing around Fashion Place Mall or Target on any given Saturday. In recent years, she liked brunch at The Oasis Café with her kids, or a burger at The Point After on Sundays. She was forever stylish (she would never leave the house without being “put together”), hip and present, until the very end. She didn’t like long obituaries, and mentioned that more than once. So, we’ll call this a wrap. As a trio for the past 40-plus years, we always fought through and held on together, and we are devastated today.
Patti will be laid to rest during a private family service at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Salt Lake City. A celebration of her life will be held at a later date when all can gather safely. Please check back to see future dates.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests making a donation to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Patti’s name.