Our dear Mom, Patricia, passed peacefully on July 24, surrounded by loving family. She was the firstborn to Earl and Amy Cochrane, and a loving big sister to her four siblings: Byron, Lucia Clare, Frank and Jim.
After graduating high school, she attended College of Idaho. While waiting tables in the dining hall she met a handsome young football player, Ernest H. Skinner, who she would later marry. Ernest learned to fly and was commissioned in the Army Air Corps as World War II was heating up. His B-17 nose art was painted for his great love, “Queen Patsy.” Following sixteen months as lead pilot and operations manager in the European theater, Major Ernest Harold Skinner was tragically killed in the Line of Duty in 1950 at Wright Field, Ohio. Our Mom was a widow at 26 years of age with two small daughters, Becky and Shirley. Grandpa Cochrane came to Ohio and helped move us to Idaho to be near family.
Our Mom soon made a cozy home and garden for herself and her two little girls in Boise. She got a job, as secretary to Rev. Dr. Herbert E. Richards at the First Methodist Church in Boise. One of the first things she taught us, was the pure joy of digging in the dirt and growing flowers and vegetables. When we were very small, Mom would take us to pick out and then plant our own pansies. For her it was more than making the yard look pretty, but her way of working through problems, her “therapy” as she called it. She was still gardening, and even mowing her large yard at 92 years of age!
In 1955, she was fortunate to meet and marry, on Valentine’s Day, James R. Spofford, Jr., also a widower. Becky and Shirley were delighted to get a Daddy, and a big brother, too! Vaughn, Becky and Shirley spent many happy hours taking music lessons, riding bikes, playing games in the shade of the big trees of our yard, and swimming in the South Jr. High pool. Our friends, and there were many in our neighborhood, were always made welcome in our house.
In 1956, we were excited to add a baby brother, Jimmy, to our family. Because Daddy and Mom loved the outdoors, that is where our vacations were spent, camping with a little trailer and looking forward to morning pancakes that Mom cooked in bacon grease and covered with maple syrup. Eventually our family got a powerboat, and we spent sunny weekends at Lucky Peak with the predictable, but delicious picnic that Mom prepared: Fried Chicken, Potato Salad, Chocolate Cake and a special treat, Shasta Sodas.
Our Mom was a classy lady, very creative and liked beautiful things. She decorated a well-kept comfortable and welcoming home. She sewed and tailored fashionable clothes for herself and for us, every creation a work of perfection. She let us choose our own patterns and fabrics and that was a thrill for us. She spent hours knitting intricate sweater patterns and blankets for our family. She tackled many projects and could fix nearly anything. She didn’t do anything halfway, a trait we greatly admire to this day.
While all us kids were still at home, we loved that our Mom was always there for us when we came home from school. We were very lucky in that respect, and we knew it. As one by one we were off to college, Mom got a job she really enjoyed with the State of Idaho. For someone of her generation, she was quite modern and liberal in her thinking. She kept up with current events and for many years attended “Fettuccine Forum” classes at Boise State. She read widely and always had a book at her side. She loved to watch football and knew what it was all about.
Throughout her life our Mom volunteered for many organizations around the Boise that she knew and loved: Boise Art Museum, Idaho Historical Society, League of Women Voters, 4-H, Cub Scouts to name a few. She attended the College of Idaho, Oregon State University, and graduated from Boise State University. Her last, and perhaps most satisfying volunteer job was delivering Meals on Wheels to home bound seniors in Boise. She was very strong in body, but diminutive in frame, and managed to lug around a big cooler of these meals. Mom took time to visit with each recipient before moving on to her next delivery.
Besides her wonderful garden which now included vegetables too, Mom loved to host our big family dinners. She was a great cook, as were all our aunties. We feasted and visited and laughed and played games together.
Our little brother, Jimmy, passed away in 1988. Daddy passed away in 1991. Mom, retired now, began to travel, often with family, or to be with family. She had two notable, event-packed trips to New York City when granddaughter Sarah lived there. On one of those trips we arranged for her to meet one of her favorite authors, Alexander McCall Smith. She also traveled widely in the United States with dear friends. A few of her favorite faraway places were Germany, Italy, the British Isles, and Eastern Europe.
Mom was a member of the Episcopal Church, the Idaho Botanical Garden, the Boise Art Museum, various bridge groups, and Four Seasons Garden Club.
Our dear Mom is survived by children VAUGHN and Maurie Spofford of Carson City, NV; REBECCA and Mark Hoffmann of Meridian, ID; and SHIRLEY Lee-Warner of Boise, ID. Mom leaves behind seven grandchildren: Sarah Hoffmann, Mark Hoffmann, Josh (Nicole) Lee-Warner, Suzy Lindley, Becky Lee-Warner, CDR Jon (Rachelle) Lee-Warner, Abby Lee-Warner and eight great-grandchildren. Also, two brothers, Frank Cochrane and Jim Cochrane, as well as numerous nieces and nephews are still with us.
We wish to thank Cornerstone Senior Living, as well as Keystone Hospice, for the great care and love they showed to our precious Mom.
A Memorial Service will be held at Noon at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 2206 N. Cole Road, Boise, on August 12, 2023. A reception will follow in the Parish Hall.
We suggest memorials to Boise Meals on Wheels or the charity of your choice.