Pat N. Fehlman stepped into her heavenly home on March 25, 2022, to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, surrounded by her husband and children. Christ welcomed Pat with His open arms and welcomed her into His everlasting kingdom as a victor over her earthly cancer. “Well done thy good and faithful servant,” He says. She is no longer in pain.
Born Patsy Sharon Newton to the late Lola Jane (Baucum) and Richard Malvern Newton on March 18, 1944, in Atlanta, GA, Pat and her older sisters traveled the south with their parents until their tragic passing when she was just 13. She found love again through a mother and father when she was welcomed into the home of the late James Kennard (Ken) and Frances “Rusty” Whittle in Connecticut. The memories Rusty and Ken shared with Pat lasted throughout her lifetime, ever grateful for experiencing a loving household.
A former beauty pageant queen, Pat turned heads when she arrived at Jacksonville University in 1962. However, she only had eyes for the love of her life, John Fehlman, from Canton, OH, whom she married in 1963 in Jacksonville, FL. For 58 years, Pat and John shared every aspect of their life together. Through the end of her life, John was by her side as her full-time caregiver, putting on a brave face throughout her illness while he lived out their vows of through sickness and health.
Pat found fulfillment in enriching lives through her career. As the director of public information and community education for the Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Pat retired after 19 years of award-winning advertising campaigns, contributing to several levy wins for the agency. In addition to her career, Pat dedicated her time and talents to various non-profits throughout Stark County, including the Pregnancy Support Center, YWCA, and Pathway Caring for Children. In 2003, Pat chaired the Pathway Caring for Children annual event, a black-tie occasion in Stark County. In 2004, she was inducted into the YWCA Women’s Hall of Fame. Pat was an avid Rotarian as a member of Plain Township Rotary, along with John. Pat served as President and achieved the honor of becoming a Paul Harris Fellow. She and John made lifelong friends through Plain Township Rotary. Determined to share her story of overcoming a painful childhood, Pat found comfort in speaking to various women’s and couples’ groups throughout the Christian community. Pat and John also served as marriage counselors and were active in the church while raising their children. Never a table she couldn’t set to extravagance; never a garden she couldn’t grow. Pat had a wealth of hobbies, including basking in her southern upbringing of cooking delicious meals that became staples in the lives of her loved ones. Pat could be found in the garden, often buried in plants, perhaps not so easily found outside amongst her ever-growing annuals. She radiated when hosting, a love passed onto her from Rusty, including setting the table days in advance, designing the perfect menu, and assigning place settings, even for informal family dinners. A true cardholder, you could often find Pat in a fit of laugher (or perhaps using words she would later deny) during a round of euchre, gin rummy, or the poker variations she played growing up. Pat was a lover of a night on the town; her favorite being the classic dinner and movie date.
Pat’s traveling was centered around her family and grandkids, often visiting Maryland or Illinois, along with her annual trip to Hemlock Hills in Bedford, PA, for her favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. For more than 25 years, the Fehlman family gathered in the Hemlock Hills cabin for five days of food, fellowship, cards, and fun, and Pat treasured every year, as her family provided her the utmost purpose in life.
Pat is survived by her aforementioned loving husband, John; four children: Tonja (David) Murray of Potomac, MD, Scott (Roseann) Fehlman of North Canton, OH, Jennefer (Greg) Wong of New Albany, OH, and Brittany (Mark) White of Massillon, OH; nine grandchildren: Dr. Tyler, Nick, and Ryan Murray, Hannah and Kayla Fehlman, Jonny and Brayden Wong, and Will and Madelyn White, along with many nieces and nephews.
Family and friends will be received at The Compassion Church, formerly Highmill Fellowship (1920 Schneider St. N.E. Canton, OH 44721), on Friday evening from 4 to 7 p.m. A celebration of life will be held at the church on Saturday at 10 a.m., with pastors Chuck Schumacher, Walter Moss, and Ron Robinson officiating. Interment will follow at North Lawn Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made to The Beech Creek Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve in Pat’s name, a special place that Pat and John loved taking their youngest grandchildren. Pat’s family wishes to especially thank Sareena Singh, M.D., Aultman Hospice and Palliative Care, and Aultman Compassionate Care Center for their loving and professional care during this journey.
ROSSI (330) 492-5830