Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Patty Wildman loved church and gardening

Clifton grandmother was 77

Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Patty Wildman, former president of the Greater Cincinnati Civic Garden Center and vice president of the Cincinnati Woman's Club, died June 27 of cancer.

The Clifton resident was 77.

She was born Patricia Ann Grayson, daughter of former Mississippi Adjutant General Col. Thomas Grayson. Her father's military career took the family to different cities around the country during her youth.

It was a childhood that included hardship.

While in the first grade, Mrs. Wildman suffered from rheumatic fever - a painful disease that attacks the joints. Bedridden for 16 months, she spent an additional year in a convalescent hospital.

But the experience didn't diminish her love of dance.

She took dance lessons while a student at Randolph-Macon Women's College in Lynchburg, Va., and was selected to study under Martha Graham in New York.

In the Big Apple, she lived in a small flat, where she used her iron to make grilled cheese sandwiches. Despite this inauspicious start, in later years Mrs. Wildman was known as an accomplished cook and hostess.

She worked as an assistant purchasing agent for the International Paper Co. in New York before marrying Dr. Walter Wildman in 1950. Two years later, they moved to Clifton, where they raised their three boys.

Mrs. Wildman's life revolved around her family, her church and her gardens.

At her home in Clifton, she kept a multilevel English-style garden. After moving to a condominium years later, she tended a rooftop garden that was featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati Design Quarterly.

She was president of the Civic Garden Center for several years and filled other capacities, such as chairwoman of the annual garden sale.

Her second home was Calvary Episcopal Church in Clifton , where she was president of the Church Women, the vestry and the Search Committee, and where she organized the annual rummage sale.

She could often be found working in the church's gardens and couldn't walk past a flower bed without pulling weeds, according to Jane Wildman of Cincinnati, her daughter-in-law.

Mrs. Wildman used her superb culinary skills to prepare meals for several hundred people at church events.

She also was director of the Academy of Medicine Women's Auxiliary and chairwoman for the Women's Auxiliary to the Ohio State Medical Association, and served Meals on Wheels.

Mrs. Wildman was preceded in death by her husband in 1999.

Survivors include her sons, Jim of New Milford, Conn., Tom of Massachusetts and John of Cincinnati; and seven grandchildren.

Interment was in the Calvary Church columbarium.

Memorials: Calvary Episcopal Church Memorial Fund, 3766 Clifton Ave., Cincinnati 45220.


E-mail rgoodman@enquirer.com

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