Mary Patricia Sellers Paxon, age 94, peacefully went home to the Lord on Monday, July 1, 2019 at her residence at Canterbury Woods in Williamsville, NY.
Known to all as “Pat”, she was a longtime resident of Akron NY, where she and her late husband, Erie County Family Court Judge Leon W. Paxon, raised their two sons, retired Congressman L. William (Bill) Paxon (Susan Molinari) of Sarasota, FL, and Robert J. Paxon of Depew, NY and daughter-in-law JoAnne McCullough Paxon of Clarence Center, NY.
Pat Paxon was born in Buffalo, NY on November 7, 1924, the youngest of the five children of the late John and Sabina (Cuthbertson) Sellers, and she was a graduate of Saint Rose of Lima Grammar School and Lafayette High School (’41).
Pursuing her love of education throughout her lifetime, Pat graduated at age 58 with a BA in Political Science, Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from the State University of New York at Buffalo (’82) and at age 69 received a BA in English from UB, Phi Beta Kappa (’93).
At the suggestion of her U.B. English Professor, in 1981 she turned a term paper into a self-published memoir entitled “Our Stories”, charting her Irish and Scottish family history from their 1800’s arrival in Western New York, through World War I and the Great Depression, and her life growing up on the West Side and North Buffalo.
Pat joined the War effort at age 19, working at Bell Aircraft, and then was a proud U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, serving as a Yeoman First Class at the newly constructed Pentagon in Washington, DC.
After the War, she began what turned out to be her lifelong involvement in government and Republican politics. She worked in Albany during the legislative session for New York State Senator John H. Cooke of Alden and also at the Erie County Board of Supervisors, where she met Leon Paxon, then the Newstead Town Supervisor. They were married in 1952 at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Buffalo and made their home in Akron, where the Paxon family had lived for many generations.
In addition to managing her husband’s campaigns and working on Bill’s elections to county, state and federal office, Pat served as president of both the Republican Business and Professional Women and the Erie County Federation of Women’s Republican Clubs, as vice chair of the Erie County Republican Committee, and as a State Committeewoman of the NY State Republican Committee.
Throughout her lifetime, Pat was deeply involved in Catholic Church activities, serving for over 30 years as religious education teacher at five area parishes, was the recipient of the Diocesan Teacher of the Year Award, chair of the executive committee of the Pastoral Council of the Diocese of Buffalo, and she served as past president of the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women.
Pat’s service to the Church culminated in her receiving from Pope Paul VI the Pro Ecclesiae et Pontifice medal (otherwise known as the Cross of Honour), the highest medal awarded to the laity by the Pope.
While raised a “city girl”, after her marriage to Leon, Pat dove into activities in her new “hometown” of Akron/Newstead, helping found the Akron Nursery School, serving on the Board of the Denio Memorial Library, and as active member of the Akron-Newstead Historical Society, Meals on Wheels, and many other local organizations.
During the last quarter-century, Pat spent winters enjoying the sun on Florida’s Siesta Key, where she, as always, became involved in local activities, was a daily communicant at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, and developed many close friendships.
Pat was a devoted and loving grandmother and is survived by her six grandchildren, Jill, Robert, Jonathan, Susan Ruby, Rose and Katherine Mary Paxon. They were a daily source of joy to Pat, who constantly shared their latest activities with her many friends and relatives.
As the last survivor of her four siblings, John and William Sellers, Sabina Lambrix, and Betty Nuttle, Pat remained very close to her many nieces, nephews, cousins and extended family members throughout Western New York and across the country. She was particularly close to and thankful for the years of wonderful friendship and care provided by her two cousins, Bonnie Larotonda and Lynne Manning and their husbands, Joe and John. Pat also deeply appreciated the daily and faithful assistance of her two longtime aides, Mary Beth Robson and Joanne Wiertel, as well as the outstanding staff at Canterbury Woods in Williamsville, which she called home for the past 13 years.
Relatives and friends may call Friday, July 19, 2019 from 4:00 to 8:00 PM at the J. LEONARD McANDREW FUNERAL HOME, LLC, 32 John Street in Akron, NY. A Mass of Christian Burial will be conducted on Saturday, July 20th at 11:00 AM at St. Teresa of Avila Parish, 5771 Buell Street, Akron, NY. Please assemble at the church. Immediately following Mass, a luncheon will be held at Samuel’s Grande Manor, 8750 Main Street in Harris Hill, NY to which all are invited to go directly from the Church. Private interment at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution in Pat’s name to either of her chosen charities: Carmelite Monastery, 75 Carmel Road, Buffalo NY 14214 or the Newstead Public Library, 33 Main Street, Akron NY 14001.
ARRANGEMENTS WERE ENTRUSTED TO THE J. LEONARD McANDREW FUNERAL HOME, LLC, 32 JOHN ST., AKRON, NY 14001. RONALD KONIECZNY II, DIRECTOR.