Patricia Joan Gardner Halsell Stima (1931-2021)

Posted January 8, 2021

Patricia (“Pat”) Joan Gardner Halsell Stima passed on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, with her family closeby. She was preceded in death by her first husband, Harry “Huss” Halsell, co-owner of the Dixie in Lebanon, PA, and her second husband, Corporal Raymond J. Stima, PA State Police, Ret., and Chief of South Lebanon Twp. Police, Ret. Born in Lebanon, PA on Mar. 30, 1931, Pat was the second of nine children of the late Helen I. Templin and Charles G. Gardner.

Elected on Nov. 4, 1969 to the Cleona Borough Council, Patricia Stima was the first woman elected to any borough council in Lebanon Co. and the first Democrat elected to the Cleona Boro. Council. As a council member, she helped to establish in Cleona a curbside recycling pilot program in conjunction with the Campbell Soup Company. A community organizer, she was instrumental in helping the citizens of Cleona petition to refuse a sanitary sewer system deal that would have overcharged Cleona property owners. Pat also served as the Cleona Playground Association president, overseeing the installation of the then-new playground constructed behind Cleona Elementary School, where Pat had previously served as president of the PTA.

After raising her family, she worked for Sears in Lebanon in the orders department. Pat enjoyed a wide circle of friends through her many activities, including those at the A-C Pool, at the Lewes Harbor Condominium in Lewes, DE, where she and Ray owned a vacation home, in card clubs and bowling leagues, and at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Annville, as well as in the Cleona neighborhood where Pat resided for 70 years. In her youth, she was a talented roller skater at the regional rinks, as well as a majorette with a local drum and bugle corps. Not exclusive with her abilities, she taught her daughter to twirl a baton and roller-skated on the sidewalks of Cleona with her grandchildren.

Throughout her life, Pat was a skilled artist, whether drawing to entertain her children and grandchildren or, later, taking classes in oil painting. She was a life-long, hard-to-beat Scrabble player, eventually making the transition to Words with Friends, where she could beat everyone online. Most important to Pat always was her family. Pat created special holiday and birthday memories, beach vacations and Hershey Park trips, improvised games and backyard fun, and taxied kids everywhere. In the year 2000, she created a time capsule tradition that the family has continued each decade. One of Pat’s granddaughters established a weekly “Gramma Night” in Pat’s home. It was an informal gathering of whatever local family could attend, and it featured laughter, catching up, sometimes food, sometimes birthday parties, always fun, support, and often critiques of whatever reality show gramma happened to be following. Some of her granddaughters occasionally brought their friends, who considered Pat a “cool gramma” that they wished were theirs. She presided over this tradition for the past 17 years, with the final Gramma Night occurring not long before she passed.

Surviving is daughters, Cynnene (Halsell) Justice, of Florida, Rochelle (Halsell) Ziegler (James), of Palmyra, Valerie Stima Chenail, of Palmyra, Rita Stima (wife of the late Richard Stief), of Annville, son, Raymond Joseph “Joe” Stima, Jr., (Shelly), of Lebanon, and stepdaughter, Loretta Jakubas, of New Jersey, grandchildren, Andrea Tshudy (Gary), Jenelle Stumpf, Templin Chenail (Robert Slodki), Cameron Chenail, and Kacy Hess (Brandon), step-grandchildren, Stacy Jakubas, Jason Jakubas (Amy), Amber Velayudham (Kumar), Shara Laudenslager (Scott), Lauren Randall (Jason), and Lindsay Stevens (Christopher), great-grandchildren, Mary, Jack, Will, Leah, Luke, Naomi, Aari, Ava, Sophia, Taylor, Samantha, and Daphne, brothers, Neil (Shirley), Glenn (Rosie), Dennis, Dean, and Shawn (Kim) Gardner, and a great number of cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends. She was predeceased by siblings, Marilyn Becker, Carole Dube, and Dale Gardner.

Services are private, with burial at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery. To benefit a granddaughter and others who have epilepsy, Pat requested that contributions in her memory are made to the Epilepsy Association of Western and Central PA, 1501 Reedsdale St., Suite 3002, Pittsburgh, PA 15233 https://www.eawcp.org/give

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