Mary Patricia "Pat" Parlette

2/13/26 - 11/6/19

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Pictures courtesy of Pat Parlette

Pat attended Darien (Connecticut) High School where she was the first girl drum major they had ever had. This photo shows Pat leading the Darien High School band in 1943 at the Darien railroad station saluting departing recruits. When she graduated, she won a scholarship from the Darien Community Association Thrift Shop. More than half a century later, Pat was still giving back by volunteering at the thrift shop, the proceeds of which go toward education.

Pat joined the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps in 1943 and graduated as a nurse from Greenwich Hospital in 1946. For part of her training, she was a student nurse at Yale where she learned special care for polio victims living in iron lungs. After graduation, she got a job at the Tripler Military Hospital in Hawaii caring for polio patients.

When Pat was hired by Seaboard, the military required the presence of a registered nurse on military passenger flights. Initially, on those flights, Pat and the other flight attendants who were nurses wore their nurses' uniforms. Later, they wore Seaboard uniforms with a medical caduceus patch on their sleeves. Her airline career lasted for 38 years.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Pat was 75 years old. As soon as she heard about the attack on the World Trade Center, she drove there and volunteered as a nurse, caring for the injured.

In addition, Pat continued her nursing career throughout that period, often caring for patients requiring critical care. She continued to volunteers at the thrift shop, Darien Book Aid and the New Covenant House. In 2006, Pat was twice featured in articles in the Darien Times.

On Nov. 10, 2008, Pat was presented with the Darien Old Timers' Athletic Association Community Civic Award for 2008. The award is for "regular participation in community civic service of constant loyalty, unquestioned integrity, peerless leadership & sense of fair play" and "exceptional service to others in the finest American tradition." The plaque can be seen here.

On May 5, 2009, Pat continued her long service to the Darien Community Association Thrift Shop by modeling in a fashion show.

In July 2013, Pat visited Frankfurt to attend the Seaboard lunch. She also attended the 65th anniversary commemorating the beginning of the Berlin Airlift. One of the guest speakers was Col. Gail Halversen, an airlift pilot who used small parachutes to drop candy for the children. He was known as the Candy Bomber and also as the Raisin Bomber. Pat is seen in this photo with the Candy Bomber and a woman who works at the Airlift Memorial at Rhein Main Air Base, Frankfurt.

In the spring of 2014, Pat visited the Holmes Elementary School in Darien and spoke to the students about her activities with the Candy Bomber.

In May, 2014, Pat took a cruise to Alaska on the MS Oosterdam, a Holland America Line ship. She was feted by the crew when they learned that Pat had been the American nurse (and only non-Dutch crew member) on another Holland America Line ship, the S.S. Veendam (II) in 1950, sixty-four years earlier.

Pat was predeceased by her brothers Oliver and Richard Parlette. She is survived by her nephews (Oliver’s sons) Bruce Parlette and Richard Parlette; her niece Patti Parlette; and Patti's brothers Richard C. Parlette, Jr. and Peter Parlette.

Pat lived her long life with decency, integrity, and enthusiasm; and never complained about the health issues she faced, particularly in her later years.


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