July 17, 1946 – December 27, 2020
We are saddened to learn of the passing of our dear friend and supporter, Pat Smith. In the earlier days, Pat was instrumental in helping us establish Sarasota Forest Monastery in Englewood when we needed the community support to gain the local and County approvals for SFM. Pat was never more than a phone call away to whatever we needed. She was influential in the Englewood community. As the SFM has been and is an early-stage organization, fundraising events were absolutely necessary for our continuity, and Pat was a major force to make this happen, whether to getting tables and chairs from her church, getting workers to clear the parking lot, contacting vendors for any essentials for our events. She was always generous with her time, and her knowledge of the local community was invaluable.
Pat loved to have Buddhists in Englewood. In her own word, “they are good people, gentle people, who will add a lot to our community.” Pat joined in several SFM Board meetings to offer ideas for long-term success from the community perspectives. John Raab recounted, “with Pat as SFM’s cheerleader, we didn’t have to do very much more to gain the local and County approvals for SFM.”
Pat had a vision for SFM to be a place that is welcoming to all, whatever a person’s background or experience level might be. She was engaging while interacting with new visitors and wanted to make sure that everyone was included and informed about events at the monastery. Pat’s great talents in community outreach made her the perfect conduit for spreading the word about the new forest monastery in town. She helped with networking with other churches and businesses in the Englewood area, and was instrumental in arranging a local news publication to come out to the monastery to interview Bhante Thiep. While Pat was relatively new to Buddhist practice, she had an open mind and genuinely expressed interest in learning, taking what she found to be helpful for her own life. She was by all accounts very brave, whether in speaking her mind or in traveling to foreign countries.
Having traveled extensively in greater Asia, Pat loved the diversity we were bringing to the community. Of course, she enjoyed the harmony and peace. May she achieve the ultimate Peace and Liberation!
She will be missed dearly.