Patricia Saunders Goocher Ragan, born January 7, 1934 in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, passed away at home with family by her side on September 1, 2023.
Pat was the oldest child of Clay and Stella Saunders, save her adopted sister Ann. The family followed their father's military orders through his final Army assignment at Fort Gordon in Augusta, GA. The family put down roots in North Augusta, SC and continued to gather there for over fifty years.
Exploring her family's wooded land along the Savannah River and Martintown Road, now The Greystone Preserve, Pat learned the value and importance of being resourceful, resilient, and respectful. These characteristics have been visible throughout Pat's life in all the roles she has served, including loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, teacher, and mentor.
As a child, Pat was interested in attending church. In fact, she walked to her first worship service, beginning her journey of faith that never wavered. After graduating from high school at sixteen, she attended Furman University in Greenville, SC and went on to complete her master's degree in early childhood education from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. She continued to learn throughout her life, including attaining her certification as a tax preparer for H&R Block while in her mid-70s. She never stopped reading and learning. A gift she passed on to her children and their children.
"One strong woman. Very caring for family and others. Her faith was extremely strong, and she walked the walk." Sister Keron
Pat and Harold Goocher met at a community swimming pool, and the rest is history. They were married, and Joe, Lisa, and John soon followed. The family was active at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Smyrna, GA, with Harold as treasurer and Pat as Sunday School teacher. In 1971 Harold passed away after a long illness. Pat was supported by the Saunders, Goochers, and the church, who all responded with love and support through these troubling times.
Shortly thereafter, Pat came to know Joe Ragan over ice cream at the Dairy Queen. After Pat married Joe, the family relocated to Birmingham, with Joe taking a job at the George Wheelock Company. The family settled on Round Hill Road in Vestavia Hills. On the first Sunday under their new roof, they worshipped across the street at Southminster Presbyterian Church. Together they served in this community of faith for over fifty years, with a legacy that now spans three generations of ordained elder leadership. Joe's children Jaye Ann and Clay soon arrived to round out the family.
"Always positive and nurturing, her spirit was never broken and a blessing to us all." Sister Sara
Early in their life at Round Hill Road, Pat and Joe launched Joe's business from their kitchen table that provided unlimited possibilities for their children. Once the children left the nest, with faith, education, and children always in her heart and on her mind, Pat took a position with The Presbyterian Home for Children in Talladega. As her journey continued, Pat responded with love, generosity, and compassion as she experienced and witnessed the loss of Jaye Ann, Clay, and her husband of forty years.
"Happy and outgoing." Brother Joe
Over the past several years, caregivers and healthcare providers consistently commented on Pat's smile whenever they walked into her room. A lasting memory of her unwavering faith that God provides.
Pat is reunited with her sisters Ann and Betty. She is survived by her children Joe, Lisa (Kent), and John (Maria); sisters Sara (Pete), Dot, and Keron (Ronnie); brothers Bill (Sharon), Joe (Nan), and Tim (Dara); grandchildren Clint, Sarah, Lauren, and Laine; Jordan and Patricia; Andrea and J; and great-grandchildren Jack and Ricky; and many in-laws, nieces, and nephews.
A Service of Witness to the Resurrection will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, September 6, at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Vestavia Hills. Following the service, there will be a fellowship reception for family and friends. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Pat's name to Southminster Presbyterian Church at www.southminsterpcusa.org.