Patricia L. Wilcoxen died peacefully with her family on August 6, 2021, ending an 87-year life dedicated to helping others.
Pat Williams was born and raised in Orange County, California, where her family operated an orange grove. Jay Wilcoxen, one of her classmates at San Juan Capistrano Union High School and Pomona College, became her husband in 1953. They soon moved to Chicago and settled in Hyde Park, where they lived together for more than 60 years.
For four decades Pat was a University of Chicago librarian, serving as head of circulation services at Regenstein Library from its opening in 1970 until 1996.
While working full-time and raising three children (Doug, Jacquie, and Bill) Pat became active in several causes about which she was passionate, particularly schools, elections, affordable housing, and strengthening the community of Hyde Park.
She was a PTA leader at Ray School and Kenwood High School. Through her work with the Independent Voters of Illinois Pat became a precinct captain, election judge, and delegate to the 1980 Democratic National Convention. She also served as board president of the Hyde Park Co-op supermarket.
At University Church she joined with like-minded co-housing advocates to form the Covenantal Community. That group rehabbed a formerly abandoned Woodlawn apartment building where Pat lived for several years during the 1980s. She was active in the church's Guatemala Partnership and traveled more than once to the Mayan village that is the focus of their work.
After her library career Pat used her housing expertise in positions with Protestants for the Common Good and with Interfaith Open Communities. She also co-founded Woodlawn Development Associates and later the Coalition for Equitable Community Development.
Pat always loved nature and particularly enjoyed spending time with her friends at Covenant Farm in southwestern Michigan. She will be missed by her family and many friends, who cherish her memory and all that she did to help those around her lead better lives.