Gladys E. Patano, of Dowagiac

Gladys E. Patano, 96, of Dowagiac, passed away Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, at the Timbers of Cass County.

Gladys has gone to her Heavenly Home in time for Christmas. Gladys Olejniczak-Patano was the firstborn of her Polish immigrant parents, Bernice and Walter.

Gladys Patano

She was born in Dowagiac and attended Dowagiac High School.

She worked as a cabin girl at Shady Shores and Happy Land during her teenage years. After high school, she worked for a time for the Round Oak Stove Company, and then went to Chicago to attend St. Mary of Nazareth Nursing School where she received her RN. It was there in Chicago she met and married the love of her life, Tom. They shared a 39-year adventure until his death in 1988.

In 1968, the family moved to California and Gladys worked as an RN at the Motion Picture Hospital in Woodland Hills. She was also a dedicated volunteer serving as Treasurer for Child Help, a national organization working to help abused children. In addition, she was Los Angeles County Commissioner for the Aging striving to improve care for the elderly.

Gladys was a loving and wonderful mother to her four daughters, Patricia, Nancy, Mary (Chiappinelli) and Joan (Vos).

She will be remembered for her beautiful singing voice, her love of family and for strong faith and love of her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Gladys was preceded in death by her husband, Tom; her parents and siblings: Helen (Kezele), Ted Olejniczak and Irene (Brosnan-Weibel).

She is also survived by her son-in-law Chip Chiappinelli; grandchildren Ben (Julie) Chiappinelli, Stacy (Joe) Strouse, Sarah Chiappinelli , Ruth (Philipp) soon to be Foerster, Veronica Vos, Tommy (Karen) Patano, Marissa (Connor) soon to be McCurrie, Natalie Vos and Andrei Patano; great-grandchildren Manny, Suzy, Zoe, Mary, Teo, and Irene; plus nieces and nephews.

The family also wishes to thank those who cared for her at the end of her life: the staff at the Timbers of Cass County for their loving and professional care; Gloria Koenig for being her caregiver and later a loved friend; and Southern Care Hospice for their beautiful attention to her in her final hours.

Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11 a.m., Friday, Dec. 21, 2018, at Holy Maternity Catholic Church, 210 N. Front St. Burial to follow at Riverside Cemetery. Friends may visit from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018, at Clark Chapel, 405 Center St. Dowagiac.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Dowagiac Area History Museum. Those wishing to leave a message of condolence for the family may do so at


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