South Shore pioneer Amundson dies
Patricia “Pat” Amundson, a 59-year South Shore resident known for her volunteerism with community projects ranging from the South Lake Tahoe Branch Library to Lake Tahoe Community College, died July 1 at her South Lake Tahoe home at the age of 79.
Pat slipped away peacefully in the tree-shaded house on Cave Rock Avenue that her husband, the late Glenn Amundson, and his brothers built in the 1930s as a summer home. The couple moved into the log cabin in 1946 after replacing the dirt floors with wood. Pat loved her log cabin and gardens and resided there until her death.
From the time she arrived Amundson recognized several public service needs. Her contributions to the community’s growth and development are extensive. She remained active until the last weeks of her life.
“All you have are 24 hours,” Amundson said in a 1990 Tahoe Daily Tribune story. “You can’t beg, borrow or steal any more of it. You figure your priorities. I wanted the community to be a better place for having lived there.”
She loved books and wanted her children to have access to them, so the Amundson house became one of several locations the library had until it was given a permanent home. She was the library commissioner for District V from 1971 until the present as well as a life member of the Friends of the Library. The Children’s Room at the South Lake Tahoe Branch Library was named in her honor.
“Pat was a wonderful friend and library commissioner. She knew a lot about Tahoe history and she often helped us with Tahoe-related reference questions,” said South Lake Tahoe Library Branch Manager Sally Neitling. “She always brought a sense of class and elegance to any library function. She went that extra mile to make it extra special. She was spirited, fun and knowledgeable. It’s the end of an era. I’m going to miss her terribly.”
Amundson graduated from Lake Tahoe Community College in 1982 with an associate of arts degree in humanities. She had been a member of the LTCC board of trustees since 1985.
“Pat had a long history in the community. She knew the people so well that she was able to represent the members of this community very capably,” said Guy Lease, college president. “She was very practical and understood the need to balance the interest we had at the college with the need to be fiscally involved. The board always listened to Pat because she had a tremendous amount of common sense. Beyond that she baked for every meeting and brought a feeling of friendship and collegiality to the board. We will really miss her.”
Amundson had been a member of Barton Memorial Hospital Auxiliary since 1960, served as president in 1965, and had volunteered more than 20,000 hours.
“I have known Pat Amundson since May 1948. Over the many years of working with her as a hospital auxiliary member and her many years of hosting the Survivors of the Winter of 1951-52, she was a gracious hostess and offered her home to so many. She was a good citizen and a good friend. She will be missed,” said Brenda Stewart, a fellow auxiliary member.
Patty Olsen, friend and auxiliary member said, “Pat was a mainstay of the auxiliary board and she stayed active all these years. She stayed with it when everyone dropped out. She coordinated the blood bank for years and was a wonderful cook and loved to entertain.”
Several other longtime friends and neighbors offered their thoughts about Amundson.
“Pat loved this community and supported everything in the community that was needed for the benefit of the residents,” said Roberta Mason, longtime friend who served on several boards with Amundson. “She was a strong supporter of the arts and started the first permanent collection of art at Lake Tahoe Community College.”
“Pat showed me by example that it is OK to love good books, fine art, delicious food and laughter, and to hold family and friends always close to your heart,” said Nancy Gayner, also a friend.
Carolyn and Steve Denzler, friends and neighbors of Amundson, remember her as overwhelmingly generous with her hours, hospitality and heart, as well as humble.
Memorial services will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Lake Tahoe Community College Commons. In addition, a celebration of Amundson’s life will take place in September with the date and time to be announced.
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