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Patricia Kaufman

Patricia Kaufman

Saturday, August 22nd, 2020

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Obituary

Obituary for Patricia Florentine Kaufman (Sheehy)

Patricia F. Kaufman, 89, of Bristol, R.I., entered into eternal life surrounded by the love of her daughter on Saturday, August 22, 2020.

Patricia Florentine (Sheehy) Kaufman was born on Aug. 7, 1931 in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her parents, Edward J. and Lucille Sheehy, nurtured her love of faith, family, friends and her country.

Known to friends and family as Pat, she was involved in radio, dance and theater at a very young age. She was discovered at the age of three during a dance recital, auditioning with Warner Brothers for a short film to be shot in New York and, after receiving the part, immediately signing a contract for four more films.

Pat was a petite redhead with curls who doubled for Shirley Temple during filming of the 1939 movie “Susannah of the Mounties.” She was a talented voice actress, known for her range and ability with accents and performed that same year as Little Miss RCA at the New York World’s Fair. She eventually became known by her stage name, Patsy O’Shea. She appeared in at least 10 Broadway productions, hundreds of episodes of nationally-broadcast radio dramas and TV soap operas, and was featured in Life magazine and the New York Sunday Mirror. “I never played a shy girl, because I never was one,” she once said in an interview.

As a child, she wrote radio plays, even producing and directing one, titled “Chick’s Dream,” before she turned 12. As she grew older, she became involved more behind the scenes. She was elected to the Executive Board of the Federation of Television and Radio Arts and served for five years on the Executive Board of the Catholic Actors Guild. Pat’s skills ranged from tap dancing and ballet to singing, acrobatics and figure skating. She also performed in the Ice Capades in 1945.

One article from The American Magazine described her when she was just nine as a “queen of the air waves,” noting that she had already played dozens of roles in radio soap operas of the age, such as “Our Gal Sunday,” “David Harum” and “Portia Faces Life.” She later acted in some of the earliest episodes of such long-running TV soaps as “General Hospital,” “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light.”

In a story headlined “Carrot-Top Genius” Click magazine called her “Orson Welles in miniature.”
“...her voice, in emotional scenes, goes straight to the hearts of the nation’s housewives,” it said.
The article described what was for a time her ubiquitous presence on the air waves.
“She is so much in demand that if you tune in on any daytime radio serial and hear a little girl’s voice the chances are that it’s Miss O’Shea,” it said.

A resume from her performing days listed talents that included playing “ingenues” and doing “unusual voices.” Under voice range, she wrote “Baby cries to 20.” In the CBS radio drama “Mary Marlin,” she played the Russian refugee Maria. She was known to have also mastered German and French accents.

Deeply patriotic, she performed in dozens of broadcasts produced by the Office of War Information during World War II. After giving 126 benefit performances and raising more than $1 million during the war, she received special citations from the Treasury Department. She was very active in politics and served on several national political committees throughout her lifetime

Despite her work in entertainment, Pat was dedicated to her education, attending the Professional Children’s School and Notre Dame Convent Academy before graduating from Marymount Manhattan College with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She took graduate courses at Fordham University and received a licentiate degree (equivalent to a bachelor’s degree) from Trinity College London, an international performing arts examination board.

In her mid-20s, she met Garrett Kaufman, a graduate of Columbia University who had been in the Marine Corps and was working at New York City’s Olmsted Sound Studios in charge of sales and promotions. They were soulmates and were married in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York on July 19, 1958.

They eventually moved to Arizona so Garrett, known as Gary, could pursue his graduate studies in English at the University of Arizona and later to California, where he attended Stanford University. Their daughter Susana was born in Santa Barbara, California in 1966.

After moving back east, to New Jersey, Pat worked in Manhattan at the advertising agencies Young & Rubican, J. Walter Thompson and Batten, Barsten, Durstine and Osborne. She went on to found her own firm, PK Associates, of Ridgewood, New Jersey. Pat created campaigns for corporate and government clients throughout the state. She received many awards, including Woman of the Year from the YMCA for her service to the organization.

She later became an English as a second language teacher at the Berlitz School of Languages, in Ridgewood. Pat then started her own business teaching English and American culturalism to foreign business executives.

Gary and Pat moved to Bristol in 2001 to be close to their daughter and her family. Her civic-mindedness continued there as Pat volunteered as a substitute teacher’s aide at the Hugh Cole School in Warren, served on the Bristol Fourth of July Committee, and was a member of the Friends of Linden Place, the Bristol Historical & Preservation Society and many other groups.

Pat was diagnosed with Lewy Body Disease/Dementia (lbda.org) in 2008. She handled her illness with amazing grace. Eventually she moved to Atria Spring Village in Barrington, R.I. and on to Silver Creek Manor, in Bristol, R.I., where she died of the degenerative disease. Beacon Hospice provided much love and support to Pat and her family throughout their journey.

Pat was a loving and devoted daughter, wife, sister, mother and grandmother. Pat is survived by her husband Garrett Kaufman, her daughter Susana M.C. Burke, son-in-law John L. Burke III, and granddaughters Callie and Kelsey Burke from Warren, R.I. She had one brother, the late Edward J. Sheehy Jr., and many nieces and nephews, relatives and friends.

A Catholic memorial service will be held at St. Mary of the Bay Parish, in Warren, R.I. on Saturday, August, 29, 2020 at 10am. Her burial will be private at the North Burial Ground at Colt State Park in Bristol. At Pat’s request, guests are asked to refrain from wearing black to her celebration.

In lieu of flowers, Kaufman requested donations be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tennessee 38105 or https://www.stjude.org/donate/donate-to-st-jude.html.

Providence Journal article: https://www.providencejournal.com/news/20200827/alex-kuffner-memories-of-child-star-and-bygone-era

Photo Special: https://www.providencejournal.com/photogallery/PJ/20200827/PHOTOGALLERY/827009999/PH/1

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Service Details

  • Mass of Christian Burial

    August 29, 2020 | 10:00am
    St.Mary of the Bay Church
    645 Main Street
    Warren, Rhode Island
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    August 29, 2020
    10:00am
    Insofar as they are able, given requirements for spatial distancing, the family will greet guests as they enter the church beginning at 9:15am. If crowding occurs, it may be necessary to be seated immediately and greet the family on another occasion. Once seated, guests (while remaining spatially distanced) will have the opportunity to view a slideshow in Pat’s memory beginning at 9:30am. Please be patient with the strict social distancing protocols. Masks are required for entry. Please refer to the link below to view the Providence Journal's article on Patricia. https://publizr.com/smithfunerals/providencejournal-20200828
  • Interment

    August 29, 2020 | 11:00am
    North Burial Ground
    1081 Hope St
    Bristol, Rhode Island
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    August 29, 2020
    11:00am

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John, Christine & Siena Reale sent flowers to the family of Patricia Florentine Kaufman (Sheehy).
Hand delivered by a local florist
Flowers
John, Christine & Siena Reale sent flowers to the family of Patricia Florentine Kaufman (Sheehy).
Hand delivered by a local florist
AS

Andrew Sheehy

RIP Aunt Pat.
A full and loving life..
Comment | Posted at 11:33am via Condolence
C

Christine

What a beautiful story of her life! Sue and family, our hearts go out to you in this time of sorrow. Sending our love and wishing you all peace.
The Reale Family
Comment | Posted at 11:32pm via Condolence
JR

John, Christine & Siena Reale

Our thoughts and hearts are with you all as you celebrate the amazing life of your mom. Sending you our love and prayers for peace.
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Memorial Flowers Purchased

John, Christine & Siena Reale purchased flowers and planted a memorial tree for the family of Patricia Kaufman.
Comment | Posted at 10:22pm via Floral Arrangements
VN

Vimarie Nava

I will always keep you close to my heart. The memory of you will never fade. You were and will always be one of my favorite people. Rest peacefully my pat pat.
Comment | Posted at 12:17am via Condolence
CI

Chanel Israel

Happy I got to know such a beautiful women who loved to laugh and enjoy this around her. She will be greatly missed.
Comment | Posted at 10:32pm via Condolence
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