Patricia Moser Shillingburg, age 73, loving wife, mother, community volunteer and local historian, passed away on January 14, 2016 in her home on Shelter Island.
Patricia was born January 10, 1943 in Summit, New Jersey, daughter of Richard Goodwin and Alice (House) Moser. She was the youngest of three children, and grew up in Summit, attending Kent Place School and graduated from the Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, Connecticut.
Her mother's family's presence on Shelter Island began in the late 1870s, and the Mosers followed the Houses tradition. Patricia grew up summering on the Island, sailing at the Shelter Island Yacht Club and swimming at the Beach Club.
Patricia attended Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1965. She majored in Russian history, travelling to the Soviet Union under Khrushchev, a trip she would later encourage her daughter, Emily, to make in 1989. Patricia's love for history and political science continued throughout her life.
In the 1960s, she landed in Washington, D.C., and worked in news, health, and hospitality industries, including a brief engagement with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
It was in D.C, where she was set up on a 'blind date' with Edward, and the two were married in Short Hills, New Jersey in 1967.
Patricia and Edward settled first in Washington, D.C. and Hartsdale, New York, before moving to Summit, and then South Orange, New Jersey, where they raised their children. She served on the boards of directors of various New Jersey organizations for the developmental disabilities, including on the Governor appointed State Board of Human Services.
Their oldest, Lillian, was born with severe disabilities, and Patricia spent more than 20 years championing for the rights of disabled children and adults to education and support services, focusing on opening up the doors of institutions and integrating individuals into communities. To that end, in 1980, she founded Our House, Inc., to secure single family homes and apartments as residential housing for developmentally disabled adults across suburban New Jersey. The New Providence residence was of the first four acquisitions, into which Lillian moved about five years later. Our House has since grown and flourished to 37 residences and several day programs.
Patricia encouraged her children, Donald and Emily, to pursue their passions. Donald received his Bachelor of Arts from Columbia College, then Masters degrees from Columbia, Cambridge, and Princeton University. He is now practicing architecture in London and New York City.
Emily earned her Bachelor of Arts from New York University, and Masters from Goucher College. She works in Federal heritage programs in Washington, DC, focusing on historic preservation and archaeology on the public lands and related museum collections, as well as repatriation of Native American ancestors and cultural property.