Anita Ruth Pendergrass obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Anita Ruth Pendergrass

August 24, 1927 - January 7, 2018

Obituary


Anita Pendergrass passed away quietly at the San Antonio Army Residence Community on January 7, 2018. She kept her natural warm smile for everyone until she died. Anita was born August 24, 1927 in Wills Point, Texas the first child of Bryan and Mary Alice Whitfield. As the great depression set in her family moved to Sweetwater, Texas where she graduated high school at 16 years old. She attended Hardin Simmons University in Abilene. She married Billy Pat Pendergrass upon his graduation from West Point in June 1946. Their marriage lasted until Pat's death in...

Anita Pendergrass passed away quietly at the San Antonio Army Residence Community on January 7, 2018. She kept her natural warm smile for everyone until she died. Anita was born August 24, 1927 in Wills Point, Texas the first child of Bryan and Mary Alice Whitfield. As the great depression set in her family moved to Sweetwater, Texas where she graduated high school at 16 years old. She attended Hardin Simmons University in Abilene. She married Billy Pat Pendergrass upon his graduation from West Point in June 1946. Their marriage lasted until Pat's death in August 2012.
Theirs was a life's partnership of 66 years which included 30 different moves and numerous U.S. and World travels. The young West Texas girl rapidly adjusted and became a true officer's wife: learning to make do, with and without Pat around; helping other soldier's wives cope and adapt; being part of notification teams; and both hosting and attending formal get togethers, including one at the White House. She endured remote assignments such as the Philippine outer islands, where at 21 years she experienced real third world living with no other American women around and Pat gone for days at a time. Her out of country living did improve during the seven years in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where she lived in an extremely nice villa with driver and household help albeit having to deal with dust, heat, gender restrictions and the high cost and limited foodstuffs which we take for granted.all without internet or TV! From a travel standpoint they always explored the areas around which they lived and when time permitted visited every state and a lot of the world including Russia before the iron curtain fell, China, Central America, South America, East Africa, the Mediterranean, Europe and the Middle East. They even took a trip to swim with the polar bears near the Artic Circle. They collected a treasure trove of experiences, friends, memories, mementoes, and curios through their life's journey.
Like many wives Anita also did duty as a mother, relative, friend, citizen and worker as well as a wife. As a mother, Anita emphasized responsibility; demanded appropriate etiquette; and was a disciplinarian.all the while supporting her children's academic, athletic, scouting, hobby and work activities. But best of all she kept the Elsie the Cow cookie jar stocked with homemade cookies and when the weather was cold, the Tom the Pipers Son teapot full of homemade hot chocolate.
Anita was a social person and she and Pat made lifelong friends at each stop along their way. She was an active PEO Sister (Philanthropic Educational Organization) and a Cottey College supporter and joined bridge, opera and church groups at most of their stops. Their rolodex and Christmas card list were long and their correspondence file cabinets overflowed. Cocktail parties, luncheons, dinners, joint vacations, concerts and innumerable bridge matches were favorite interactions. While it is a testament to her friendships that many people have lamented her passing, it is sad that so many of their friends passed before them. It would be nice (but take a book) to recognize each of them for what they meant to Anita and what Anita meant to them. Anita's personal time was taken up with growing and arranging flowers, reading extensively and enjoying music as she did her household chores. These would always take a back seat if there was a chance to play bridge.
From a work standpoint Anita always seemed able to land an Administrative Assistant job wherever they lived once both her boys were in school. She continually improved and evolved the skills she learned as the editor of her high school paper and her work in journalism at Hardin Simmons. She ensured her sons were competent typists before the advent of personal computers for which both have always been grateful. She went as far as to get a job with a Top Secret classification when Pat worked in a Top Secret Assignment. Needless to say, there wasn't much work-related conversation at the dinner table! It speaks well of Anita that at least three of her "bosses" continued communicating with her for years after she moved on.
Maybe everyone can ponder the effects of Anita's personal attributes such as a warm, friendly smile; a willingness to engage and help; an enjoyment and satisfaction in giving; a love of flowers, music and books; and the ability to cope with life's challenges as they happen, with minimal dread beforehand, and little complaint afterward.
Anita is survived by: sons Michael Pendergrass of Peterborough, Canada, Stephen and Mimi Pendergrass of Penryn, CA; grandchildren Jessica, Scott, Chase, Cole and Jordan; great grandchildren AJ and Wyatt; and many nieces, nephews, and god children. She was preceded in death by her husband Pat and her siblings: Gwen Cress, Rita Alston and Jimmy Dick Whitfield.
Anita will be buried alongside Pat in the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio on Friday, February 16, 2018 at 10:00 am. A short service will be held at the cemetery. The burial will be followed by a Memorial Service in the Army Residence Community Chapel at 11:30. A reception/lunch will be held afterwards at the ARC.
Memorial donations can be made to Cottey College, 1000 W. Austin, Nevada, MO 64772.