Patricia R. Grover

Patricia R. Grover died on June 22, 2022, in Brunswick, Maine.

(The following was provided by the Stetson’s Funeral Home on June 26, 2022)

Patricia R. Grover

Patricia Ray Grover died on June 22, 2022, at Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, ME. She was born in Passaic, N.J. on May 13, 1940, to proud parents Ray Llewellyn Brooks and Mazie Willard Brooks. She was the oldest of four girls. Brunswick was Patricia’s home throughout her life; where she attended Hawthorne Elementary School, Brunswick Junior High, and then Brunswick High School, graduating in 1958.

After graduation, Patricia married Remi Thiboutot in the same year. They were blessed with two children, Michael Anthony and Marta Jean. Patricia dearly loved her children and was immensely proud of their successful careers, Michael as an entrepreneur event planner/caterer in Los Angeles, CA, working with everyone from Hollywood stars to presidents of the United States and Marta as a Doctor of Pharmacy and former president of two companies, who currently serves as a department chair and associate professor of Pharmacy Practice at Regis University in Denver, CO.

Pat’s own career started out with selling Sarah Coventry Jewelry and from there to selling Avon Cosmetics. She made a career switch in the early 70’s to work as a telephone operator in the Portland and Bath areas. Eventually tired of commuting, she accepted a position as a switchboard operator at Bowdoin College, where she worked until her retirement. One of the things, she loved most was getting to talk to the students and offer motherly advice to those, so far from home, and they loved her for it.

Patricia, also affectionately known as Totsie, remarried in 1973 to James A. Grover and remained married to him until his death in 2021. She loved working with Jim in the garden, searching for antique glass artware (especially purple), and her two cats, Sweet Pea and Wrigley. She would tell family stories and jokes, often repeating them over the years, for all to enjoy and for her to laugh about, once again. She always loved a good laugh. Pat also enjoyed traveling taking trips with her mother and sisters back to the birthplaces of her parents in PA, a donkey sanctuary in CA, and her daughter to Calgary, Canada, to watch professional bull riding, San Antonio, TX, to the Women’s Final Four competition, Custer State Park, S.D., to see Mt Rushmore, plus the running of the bison, and Nashville, TN, to partake in the Grand Ole Opry. This last trip was in celebration of her very deep love of country music.

Patricia is preceded in death by her mother and father, Mazie and Ray Brooks, half-brother, Barry L. Brooks, and husband, James A. Grover. She is survived by her son, Michael A. Brooks and daughter, Marta J. Brooks (Sheri); sisters, Mary E. Wilbur (Gene, deceased), Priscilla B Bullard (Jim), and Carol A. Brooks; a niece, Jessica C. Bullard, and nephews, Brooks P. Bullard and Samuel A. Wilbur.

1 Comment Patricia R. Grover

  1. Jared Liu

    I just read in the Bowdoin Magazine that Patricia Grover passed away in June. I’m so sorry to her family for their loss, and want to add a tribute to Pat here.

    I worked at the switchboard with Pat while I was a student at Bowdoin. It was a fast-paced job that required memorizing many names and extensions but also job responsibilities. You had to know the people in the community and what they did. If you ever transferred someone to the wrong place or an office that couldn’t help them, you knew that they’d always be back and oftentimes less ingratiating on their next call. Despite that I served on student government, was a campus tour guide, took classes across varied departments, and made a point of regularly eating lunch with people I didn’t know, Pat still knew more people than I did and always seemed to know what projects they were working on. It gave you the sense that, after she transferred a call, she’d wait a few minutes and then call back to that extension to learn more about what the person did. She was always thirsty for more connections.

    The switchboard operator also sat at the entrance of the largest student dorm, the Towers. In many ways it was a funny location, because it required this intensely busy person on the phone to juggle multiple-line holds while then in-person providing directions, opening the door for a student who forgot their ID, managing any number of food and other deliveries, deescalating colorful behavior late at night, and more. Despite her diminutive frame, no one ever sassed Pat if they didn’t get their way. She just had such a measured and polite yet firm way of handling them that they accepted her pronouncements.

    Yet it was her customer service that really stood out, and for somewhat of an underwhelming reason. She never tired of giving the same answers, and never let her responses cross into derision. I’ve worked varying customer service jobs over the years, and have seen how quickly one can burn out. At first, the answers are new to you, so you don’t mind the questions. However, as future customers continue to ask the same questions, one grows weary of giving the same answers. It requires you to remind yourself that this is the first time this person is asking, and treat them with the same respect. It’s hard to do, but Pat was a pro at this.

    To cap it all off, she’d deliver a professional response, oftentimes sending someone on their way with a smile or some favorable energy, and then turn to me to give me a vocabulary word of the day or beam about some lampshade she discovered at the store. I still think of her every time I hear the word copacetic. That was a favorite of hers, and how fitting! Maybe these are small things but, from the time I spent with her, she was an unfailingly good, kind person, and I find nothing small about that. I think she had a positive effect on generations of Bowdoin students, and I lament for future generations of Bowdoin students who won’t know her.

    – Jared Liu ’99


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