Patricia Josephine Woodrum, 77, former liturgist and choir director for Kansas City’s St. Francis Xavier Church, passed to eternal life surrounded by her family on Sunday, November 20th, after a long illness. Her compassionate nature, tenacious spirit and deep love for her family, liturgy, music ministry and community will be profoundly missed. She is survived by her husband, John Garrity; her son, David Woodrum; her daughter, Teresa Olsen (Don); niece, Peggy Sheehan (Joe); nephew, Jimmy Considine; and eight grandchildren: Chris Woodrum; Megan Snow (Tim); Jack and Maddie Olsen; Conor, Claire, Orla and Brian Sheehan; and great-grandson, Elijah Snow. She was predeceased by her first husband, Daniel Woodrum; her oldest son, Daniel C. Woodrum; her parents Martha and Patrick Gallagher and two siblings Thomas Gallagher and Maureen Considine.
Pat was born on December 31,1944 to Martha (Dobbin) and Patrick Gallagher, Irish immigrant parents, in the Chicago suburb of Evergreen Park, Ill.. Pat attended the University of Chicago, Kent State University, and the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
Widowed with three children and trained as a nurse, Pat moved to Kansas City in 1974 and embarked on a 19-year career in cardiology and hospital administration at Baptist Medical Center. She was appointed to a “re-engineering” team in 1993, when the hospital became part of Health Midwest, Pat recommended abolishing her own position as director of cardiovascular services — a head-spinning move that only made sense to others when she embraced her second career in parish ministry.
Pat remarried in 1986, having met Sports Illustrated writer John Garrity when they were fellow officers in the 49/63 Neighborhood Coalition. John’s career and their love of travel would provide them the opportunity to visit five continents, but only when Pat could tear herself away from her duties at St. Francis. An accomplished singer, she was an influential member of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM), chairing the Greater Kansas City Area chapter from 2010 to 2017. She was SFX’s director of music and liturgy for more than fifteen years; serving on various diocesan liturgical committees; helping plan liturgies for regional conferences and special events; training cantors and Eucharistic ministers; and working with couples planning weddings and families planning funerals. She was involved in every aspect of prayer and worship for the parish community. She saw the church as “the people of God” and understood that the liturgy was “the work of the people.” She cherished the gift of leading that mission.
She was also a beloved mentor and compassionate counselor to choir members, parishioners, and church staff. “Pat was one of those formidable people who offered grace, compassion, toughness, inspiration, encouragement, wit and love when you needed it most,” recalls a former St. Francis parishioner. “She was one of those extraordinary people who lived according to a voice inside her that was steadfast in commitment to people who’d be forgotten or excluded by others.”
There will be a Vigil service at 5 p.m. on Friday, November 25th at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 1001 E. 52nd St., Kansas City, MO., followed by visitation until 7 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, November 26th at the Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to support the Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Care Pavilion at the University of Kansas Cancer Center. Donations can be made payable to the University of Kansas Health System and mailed to Fund Development, 2330 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Mailstop 5004, Westwood, KS 66205, or by visiting giving.kansashealthsystem.com