Our beloved mother, grandmother, and wife, Patricia Leigh Kuchenbrod passed away in her home surrounded by her family on February 15, 2022 after a nine year battle with cancer.
She had many names from all different parts of her life; she was Patty to her husband Ron and to her Helena friends, Pat to the people in the Whitefish community, Mom to her children Karen, Janet, Mike, and Krista; but Grandma Pat was undoubtedly her favorite title from her grandchildren Kelly, Marlow, Julie, Allie, Millie, Lauren, Ty, and Griffin. We teased her and called her “Perfect Pat”, because she always had everything done just right. She was the best cook, kept an immaculate house, and made all holidays and celebrations extra special. The most perfect thing about her was truly how much she loved us and we adored her!
Pat was born in 1939 in Helena, MT to Jack and Millie Marlow. She and her brother John grew up together in Helena and had many fun stories of their youth. She graduated from Helena High, and kept in contact with her “Helena girls” for over 60 years. Pat went on to college at Montana State University. She was there for one year then met the love of her life Ron Kuchenbrod. They were married in Helena in 1959, and their beautiful 62 year marriage began.
After marrying, Pat and Ron moved to Whitefish in 1959. They did everything together, including raising their four children. The original family home on tenth street holds many, many memories and the old neighborhood will forever hold a special place in all of our hearts. Mom had a way of making everyone feel welcome and loved. She was the foundation of goodness in our family.
In the early years, Pat stayed at home and cared for the family and ran a small daycare. She loved caring for people. Just a fraction of what made her the very best was she fed us, she gave us room to explore and make mistakes, she loved us when we did make mistakes, and she celebrated with us when we had success.
In 1975, Pat began her 25 year banking career. Hidden behind the perfect “stay at home Mom” was an incredible business woman with an innate sense of the financial world. She was known and loved by many in the Whitefish community as an exceptional banking woman. She took her gentle kind “mom” demeanor to work and once again served and cared for people in the community. She retired in 2000 and returned to her roots in her home. This time pouring all of her love into her 8 grandchildren.
Family holiday celebrations and meals are especially treasured by the Kuchenbrod family. Decorations, cards, and gifts were always plentiful, but the main attraction was always Grandma Pat’s food. She made the best tasting and most beautiful family meals. The presentation of the meal was always immaculate, but the substance and perfection of the food was undeniable. She cooked mostly without recipes but instead with a lot of love. Her prep cook Ron spent many hours helping her in the kitchen. This precious time with our entire family will forever be remembered and cherished.
For 62 years, it has always been Ron and Pat together. They traveled the state in support of their kids and grandkids, watching basketball, track, soccer, volleyball, concerts, plays, dance shows, and graduations. On rare occasions when Pat didn’t cook, they enjoyed going to dinner at their favorite places: Spencer’s and the Whitefish Lake Restaurant.
Many good people and friends in the Whitefish community shared and witnessed their love for eachother. Helen and Dick Gustafson are their forever friends. Pat and Helen are now watching over us all together and having some good laughs. Another group very dear to her heart were the women in her once-a-month Thursday lunch group known as “Ladies Aide”. She looked forward to meeting and eating with this group, and hosted lovely lunches for them in her home throughout the years.
Pat was preceded in death by her parents Jack and Millie Marlow and her beloved son Mike Kuchenbrod. She leaves behind her loving husband Ron Kuchenbrod and her brother John Marlow, additionally her children Karen Umbaugh (Doug), Janet Espeseth (Scott), and Krista Schulz and her grandchildren Kelly Adams (Charlie) and Julie Lemmons (Dylan), Marlow, Allie and Lauren Schulz, and Millie, Ty and Griffin Espeseth. We will miss her immensely, but are happy to know she is now pain-free and in a much better place. We are grateful she cared for us and taught us all how to live well. Now it is her turn to be taken care of by the most loving caregiver of all.
The family is extremely grateful to all of the health care providers that helped Pat during her courageous battle. There will be a private celebration of life at a later date. Donations may be made in her name to Wings Regional Cancer Support @ PO Box 7852 Kalispell, MT 59904.
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