The May 2010 Southern Appalachian Woman is Pat Whitson.
From the moment I met Pat 4 years ago, she’s had a lasting impression on me. I thought wow…this woman’s got style, class, and a magnetic energy. I want that too!
She was born and raised in the Brush Creek Community of the Green Mountain area of Yancey County, NC. After graduating from Mars Hill College, she taught interior design at Mountain Heritage High School in Burnsville, NC for over 3 decades. She was famous for being loved by her students and the high heels she wore every day.
When I asked Pat why she chose teaching, she replied in her classic animated style, “I was supposed to be an actress. But since I couldn’t get to California, I got on stage every day and gave my students my best performance.”
And that was followed by a great story about the time she sang a Patsy Kline song at the world famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge in Nashville, TN, much to the surprise of her girlfriends who were there with her.
Clearly, she lives by her philosophy of, “Don’t let life pass you by. Have a zest for it.”
Pat will also tell you, nothing’s perfect in life. Much to her disappointment, she was never able to have children of her own. So, she gave her time and talents to more than 9,000 students over a 31-year career.
I believe a successful life includes the pursuit of our best selves. While in that pursuit, it’s women like Pat Whitson that show us the beauty of loving life, giving to others, and …oh, yeah, great style!