With great sadness, the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) shares news of the passing of one of its founders. Patricia “Pat” Paton, 83, died Sunday, July 19 in Bonita Springs, Florida.

Pat, along with her sister Judy Simpson and Teresa Knazik and Dorothy Olson, formed PHA in 1991 at the now-legendary kitchen table organizational meeting. For the next eight years, the group, then known as the United Patients Association of Pulmonary Hypertension, was run entirely by volunteers who often worked at their kitchen tables.

Pat, who was diagnosed with PH in 1987, called or wrote to anyone with PH the fledging organization learned about. She tracked their locations with pins on a large U.S. map from her Florida home. When patients wanted to network, she asked them to sign a release before sharing their names with other people with PH. Within two years, the organization had grown large enough that she could no longer personally contact every member.

Originally from Indiana, Pat had been a nurse and later owned a Dairy Queen franchise near Indianapolis. She and her husband Jerry moved to Florida in 1990.

Pat’s formal obituary is available online. Watch for more from PHA about Pat’s contributions to the PH community.

Memorial contributions can be made to PHA here. Please specify your tribute is for the Pat Paton Leadership Award.

Pat Paton