Patricia "Presh" Oldt's strong belief in equity, social justice, and education defined her life as teacher, administrator, citizen and friend. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Oklahoma, where she was president of Pi Beta Phi, she earned Master's and doctoral degrees from Michigan State University. Her illustrious career in education included serving as the Assistant Dean of Continuing Education at Grand Rapids Community College, Assistant Superintendent of the Grand Rapids Public Schools, Superintendent of Northview Public Schools 1993-2000, and both Distinguished Professor of Education and Vice President for Planning and Equity at Grand Valley State University where she was instrumental in developing the Grand Valley charter schools' program. She was on numerous local and state boards devoted to education and social causes and was widely recognized for her contribution to the community and the organizations she served.
Neither titles nor awards define her. She cherished her roles as a beloved mother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend as well an adoring companion for the many animals who came into her life. She was a mentor to many, a wise counselor to her colleagues, a trusted teacher to children and adults alike, a generous and loving friend, and a fierce advocate for justice and equity, especially for women. She worked within the system but dreamed beyond the confines of the every day. Most of all, she developed in others a strong desire to succeed and to build a world where greater equality did not merely survive, but would, indeed, thrive.
A visitation will be held Friday, February 26, 2021, from 4:00 until 6:00 pm at the funeral home. Those wishing to make contributions in her honor may make donations to the Grand Rapids Community College Foundation's Salute To Women Scholarship 143 Bostwick Ave. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 or to the Grand Valley State University Foundation's Grand Valley Fund, PO Box 1945, Grand Rapids, MI 49501.
She was preceded in death by her parents, a sister Martha Engstrom and Martha's husband Harold as well as a nephew Robert Allen Engstrom. Her ashes will be laid to rest with her parents in DeQueen, Arkansas, where she was born on January 21,1937.
The family wishes to thank her many friends and colleagues, her caregivers at Spectrum Fuller Facility, her loving caretaker of the past several years, Emily Tromp, her guardian and her Trust attorney and above all her students who listened to her teachings and moved forward in life with confidence as they made her life complete and full of love.
Pat is survived by her son John Knox; a brother Don Parks (Joan), a niece, nephews and many devoted friends who dedicate this prayer to her:
"Thank you, Dear God, for this remarkable woman who journeyed with us here on this earth. Thank you for all she gave to us and for all the good she brought to others. Now, dear God, surround her with loving light and love and release her from all the pain she has endured here on this earth. And, dear God, know while the heavenly voices will be strongly female because of her, she will bring such justice and joy that all the angels will sing with sheer happiness and love and the universe will declare Welcome Home, Well Done, and Thank you.
To send flowers to Patricia's family, please visit our floral store.
143 Bostwick Avenue NE, Grand Rapids MI 49503
University Development Grand Valley State University
P.O. Box 1945, Grand Rapids MI 49501