Pat Laudon, nee Kemnitz, was born February 17, 1933, to George and Bertha Kemnitz at their home in Perry, Oklahoma. Her father worked in the oilfields as a tool pusher, so the family was forced to move frequently. Nevertheless she had an exciting childhood, climbing trees, catching fish, and playing with her dog. She had an older brother and sister, George Junior (“Porgie”) and Gloria.
While studying geology at Tulsa University, she met and fell in love with her future husband, Dick Laudon. They married and had three children as Dick continued his studies. Pat, Dick, and their three children, Jim, Vicki, and David, often spent summers camping in Montana as Dick did his geology field work. The family lived in Madison, then Tulsa, then Sydney, Australia where the family experienced swimming, body surfing, board surfing, and a few injuries. Later settling in Houston, they often took their Boston Whaler out on the Gulf of Mexico for fishing and swimming, and up the San Bernard River for camping.
Finally settling in Casper, Wyoming, both Pat and Dick enjoyed hunting, fishing, hiking in the Wind River Mountains where they camped, as well as taking their boat where the whole family would camp at Pathfinder Lake. Pat and Dick acquired a bit of land near Glenrock where they had duck blinds and also hunted deer, geese, and pheasants. They even started a pheasant farm, The Platte River Pheasant Farm.
Alas, Dick was stricken with non-hodgkins lymphoma and died in his sixties. Pat carried on, still hosting family members from far and wide in her home, taking classes at Casper College, playing tennis, duplicate bridge, and being active in the Garden Club. Her garden was always a gorgeous sight in the summers. Dick had cleared out land in front of the house with a rented backhoe and created terraces filled with dirt and separated by rocks. Pat spent many hours weeding, planting, and watching the bees cross-pollinate her many flowers. Pat and Dick had won numerous tennis trophies both together and separately, and Pat continued winning tennis tournaments after Dick was gone.
Though of course Pat would visit family members, she was mostly known for hosting. She welcomed nieces, nephews, children, grandchild, great grandchildren, in-laws, and friends into her home. She was always thinking about the care and comfort of others. Her grandchildren, especially, found her home “the place to be,” in summertime.
Her last two winters were difficult. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, cellulitis in her legs, skin cancer in one leg, and colon cancer. Many times her nephew, Brian, who had moved into her home at the family’s request, would ask, “Grandma, I really think you need to go to the hospital,” and she would generally say, “No,” the first twenty times or so, but finally give in. The cellulitis was particularly difficult and frightening. The colon cancer and surgery were debilitating. Nevertheless she still took joy in watching football, talking on the phone with friends and relatives, having children and grandchildren visit, and Facetiming with them.
She was given good care at the Life Care Center. She spent her final nights at Central Wyoming Hospice. When she passed away September 28, 2018, her daughter, Vicki, and granddaughter, Lucy, were with her. She died gently, without fear or pain, thanks to the mercy of the hospice.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother, Porgie, her dear husband, Dick, her nephew, Rodney Hopkins, and her sister, Gloria. To carry on her legacy of love and kindness are her children, Jim and Dave Laudon, and Vicki Hicks; her nieces, Debbie Hopkins, Kay Bond, Sarah Kemnitz, Kathy, Julie, Leslie, and Carrie Laudon; her nephews Charlie Kemnitz, Joe, Peter, Matthew, Sterling and Jordan Laudon; her grandchildren Brian Laudon, Lake Giles, and Lucy Tovar; and her great grandchildren Alex and Harvey Tovar, and Cully and Livi Clayborn-Giles.
In her bedroom, Pat has a poster of Lucy Van Pelt dressed in a track suit, saying, “Outta my way, I’m going for it!” This seems to sum up the joy and energy of Pat Laudon’s life.
Please take a moment to offer comments of fond memories and/or thoughts you have, and in lieu of flowers we ask for donations to Central Wyoming Hospice. A memorial is to take place at Tate Pump House October 13 at noon.
Central Wyoming Hospice and Transitions
319 S. Wilson, Casper WY 82601