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Image of Patricia Mathilda “Pat” Proudfoot standing by a floral bouquet

Patricia Mathilda “Pat” Proudfoot: The Trailblazer

March 10th, 2022
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Pat was born near Kronau, Saskatchewan in 1928, the youngest of the Fahlman family’s 10 children. The family moved to Kelowna while Pat was still a child and this is where she discovered one of the great loves of her life: baseball! In high school she won a trophy for best batting average and she went on to become a lifetime fan of the Toronto Blue Jays. A move to Vancouver brought her to Nat Bailey Stadium and many years of baseball happiness.

Pat decided at an early age to become a lawyer. With her parent’s encouragement and after finishing her Bachelor’s degree at UBC, she went straight on to law school graduating in 1952.

Afterward, she took up practicing law in Vancouver. It was in those years that she met a charming Scotsman by the name of Arthur Proudfoot, a travel agent and writer who booked Pat onto a trip she very much enjoyed. This singular introduction led to their marriage in 1959 and the beginning of a long and happy life together.

In 1971, at age 43, Pat was appointed to the BC Provincial Court. In her almost 40 years as a sitting judge, Pat became the first woman appointed to every level of court within British Columbia. She completed her trailblazing career serving for over 20 years on the BC Court of Appeal:  here, she wasn’t called Pat, she was called “My Lady” or “the Honourable Madam Justice Proudfoot!”

Pat lived a full life with Arthur. They loved to socialize, travel, golf, and spend winters on Australia’s Gold Coast. Pat also volunteered with a number of organizations, especially those seeking to improve conditions for women and children.

Pat’s connection to St. Paul’s Hospital came through Arthur. He received care at the hospital during his difficult journey with cancer, which sadly ended his life in 1996. Pat was especially grateful for the care Arthur received on the palliative unit and she decided to include a gift for the unit in her will.

In fact, Pat left the majority of her estate to charities for the benefit of children and health care. Her deep concern for those around her was her true legacy and we are honoured to be part of this trailblazer’s story. Thank you Pat!

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