Patricia Anne Trainor, accomplished anaesthetist

January 8, 2021

Patricia Anne Trainor, 79, from Cripple Creek in Clarksville, died Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, at Beebe Healthcare in Lewes. She was born in Baltimore, Md., Dec. 5, 1941, two days before Pearl Harbor. She was the daughter of the late Patrick F. Trainor and the late Viola J. Myers.

Her parents divorced in 1947, and she and her sister spent the summer at Camp Maria in Leonardtown, Md. The next year they went to Saint Joseph’s Academy in McSherrystown, Pa. When their father remarried Honora Sullivan in 1949, they returned to Saint Mary’s school in Govans. Nora was the youngest of eight as was Patrick, both from Irish families. Nora was a devoted, caring stepmom to her ready-made family until her death in 1959.

Patricia graduated in 1959 from Institute of Notre Dame, an all-girls Catholic high school in Baltimore. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski also graduated from IND. In 1962, she graduated from Saint Agnes Hospital School of Nursing where she worked as an OR nurse until 1968. 

She joined the Navy and was commissioned LTJG; she did her basic training at Newport, R.I. followed by assignment at Oakland Naval Hospital in California. In 1969 she volunteered to serve in Vietnam, on the USS Repose and then the USS Sanctuary in Da Nang harbor. On those tours, she visited Hong Kong and Bangkok, and the ship went regularly to Subic Bay in the Philippines to be serviced. She made lieutenant in September 1970 and was discharged in November.

She then attended anesthesia school at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing for Nurse Anaesthetists in Baltimore. Only eight students were accepted into the program which she completed in 1973. She began her Certified Registered Nurse Anaesthetist work at Arlington Hospital in Virginia. It was among the first nurse practitioner specialties in the United States. In 1977, she earned a bachelor of science degree in anesthesia from George Washington University. In her long career administering anesthesia, she never lost a patient. She gave anesthesia to Joe Theismann, former Washington Redskins quarterback, after he was blindsided and suffered a nasty compound fracture. They brought a TV into the operating room so Joe could watch the rest of the game; Joe told Patty, “Just put me to sleep.” This was depicted in the popular movie, “The Blind Side.” She retired in 2005 from Virginia Hospital Center, formerly Arlington Hospital.                 

While hospitalized recently she heard from her shipmate roommate, Abby. They had continued their long friendship visiting on Marco Island and the Outer Banks. They attended the dedication of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial in Washington, D.C.  It was so poignant an event that they have never forgotten it. She also heard from Gail, her 24-hour-call partner on weekends at Arlington Hospital. They worked many years together and played golf together as members of Woodholme Country Club. They traveled to many conventions, playing golf wherever they could.

She was a member of Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club’s ladies golf group and a true Tiger fan “through thick and thin.” She was thrilled when Tiger won last year’s Masters. She recently celebrated her 79th birthday where the JUGS (Just Us Girls) delivered cookies and FUN cards!

She is survived by her best friend and sister, Mary Alice Fenneman - MA or Katie to the Fenneman family, and her devoted nephew, Robert M. Vollmer - Bob, Bobby, Boo. She was Bob’s second Mom!  She gave him his first dog, first bike, first cowboy boots and took him to Bermuda when he was 19. She and MA traveled extensively over the years: their grand tour of 11 European countries in their 20s; to Nova Scotia and PEI; to British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest; and California and Florida many times.  Finally, they made their dream trip to Ireland, including Northern Ireland where the Trainor clan had its roots in County Armagh.

Her friends will remember her sweet smile and wicked wit, love of golf and Tiger.  She especially loved her Lhasa Apsos, Chloe and Sophie. She died after a long fight with heart, lung and kidney disease requiring home dialysis the last four years. Her family and friends can rejoice in knowing she left this life in God’s mercy; He spared her from COVID and she died peacefully. Let us all accept God’s blessing of Patricia Anne Trainor and remember “all the best times.”

At a later date, there will be a celebration of her life with a Mass at Saint Ann’s Catholic Church in Bethany Beach and burial at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery on Patriots Way in Millsboro. God bless us all as we begin 2021 in peace and love.

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