November 10, 1955 - August 13, 2023
Patricia Elizabeth Grace Arges passed away at Duke University Hospital on Sunday morning, August 13, 2023. Her pastor had come by to visit, and Patty passed away while receiving a blessing. Patty was a creative and caring editor, missionary, caregiver, wife and mother. She was a “kind, gentle child of God,” as one friend put it.
After earning a B.S. degree in psychology from Queens University in her hometown of Kingston, Ontario, Patty studied theology at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario. She then served at Baptist Church House in Toronto, Ontario – first in the kitchen, then as an assistant for The Canadian Baptist Overseas Mission Board, and finally as Assistant Editor and interim Editor for the Canadian Baptist Magazine.
Patty met and married Michael at Walmer Road Baptist Church in Toronto and together they loved and supported each other through many challenges during 40 years of marriage. In 1992, they were commissioned as Baptist Home Missionaries to do campus ministry at Princeton University in Princeton, NJ. Michael recalls that Patty was much beloved by the students, and that she came up with all of their best ideas for reaching out to first year students: “One year she had the idea of baking cookies for us to take to Baptist freshmen. The next year all the other campus ministries were distributing cookies to their first years. Another year she designed a “Baptist Chaplaincy” T-shirt decorated with cartoon tigers. The following year the Jewish chaplaincy introduced “Center for Jewish Life” T-shirts decorated with cartoon tigers.” While in Princeton, Patty served as advertising editor for the Princeton student paper, and on the library staff of Princeton Theological Seminary and Princeton University, while also caring for her twin sons David and Christopher. As with everyone she encountered, Patty loved her sons unconditionally, accepting them for who they are as beloved children of God.
In 2002, Patty and Michael, along with the twins, moved to Durham to care for Michael’s mother, Elizabeth, and uncle, Fred Hollifield. While caring for Elizabeth and Fred in their final years, Patty served as an activity director at Lyon Park Community Center and Croasdaile Village in Durham. She brought her usual creativity to these tasks; for example, she taught her elderly clients how to make butterfly suncatchers and refrigerator magnets out of 2-liter soft drink bottles.
At Watts Street Baptist Church, Patty sang in the choir, served on the adult education committee and led craft sessions at vacation Bible school. At the request of the assistant pastor, she shared reflections with the church’s deacons on her long struggle with stage four breast cancer, to guide pastoral care for those enduring extended illness. Her husband shares that it was a wonderful, meaningful experience to care for Patty because of her great patience, kindness, and forgiveness. At the same time, Patty had the courage to ask for what was needed for herself and others.
Patty is predeceased by her mother, Elsie Friendship Grace, her father, David Kenneth Grace, her sister Heather Button (David), and brother-in-law Dale Green. In addition to husband Michael and sons David and Christopher, Patty is survived by siblings Judy Green, David Grace (Chris Long), Barbara Keaveney (Brian), Marjorie Appleton (Ted), and Tim Grace (Dierdre). She is also survived by brother and sister-in-law, Jim and Kris Arges.
Funeral arrangements are by Endswell Water Cremation in Hillsborough. Funeral service will be held at 4 pm on Monday August 21 at Watts Street Baptist Church, 800 Watts St, Durham, NC 27701. Senior Pastor Dorisanne Cooper will officiate. A link to a video livestream may be found on the homepage of the Church at https://wattsstreet.org
The family would like to express their gratitude and appreciation for the love and support from church members and other friends at this difficult time.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Budget Fund at Watts Street Baptist Church (919-688-1366).