Her family, her church and helping others have been the focal points of her life, so when Pat Zdarsky of North Riverside celebrated her 95th birthday on Nov. 6, it was time to celebrate her.

Normally, and we know that isn’t a word used often lately, there would have been a large gathering of family and friends to celebrate the event. However, with a pandemic nixing a party, Plan B went into effect.

Family organized a drive-by parade with at least 40 cars passing the Zdarsky home, some outfitted with loud speakers blasting rousing renditions of “Beer Barrel Polka” and “Happy Birthday.” 

Zdarsky and her late husband, George, with whom she shared 65 years of marriage, moved to North Riverside in the early 1950s, raising their four children, Michael, Patti Jo (Meyer), George and Brian. The family has grown to include nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Her life has been busy and full. She worked part time, ran her household, volunteered at her children’s school and never complained. Active at Mater Christi Church, she still maintains her membership in the Women’s Guild, even having served as president. 

According to her daughter, Patti Jo Meyer, “I don’t know how she did all that she did. Mom didn’t preach to us, she taught us by example.”

Her example is evident with members of the Zdarsky and Meyer families still active at Mater Christi Church. Meyer said she also learned more about her “amazing” mom when people began to tell her of some of the ways Pat had touched their lives. 

It was not unusual for her to stop at a person’s home with something to let them know they were being thought of; she always had time for people. It was also not unusual for friends to receive a greeting card from her to mark an occasion. 

I still have the anniversary card we received on our 50th wedding anniversary and a gift certificate to Mother’s Day Restaurant, one of her favorites, particularly for breakfast after Mass. 

Pat, like most of us, is staying close to home these days, but she enjoys the time she spends with her family, most of whom live in the area.

So, happy birthday, Pat. It wasn’t the party we all would have liked to have given you, but the thoughts and intentions were there. God bless!