Founder of Little Angels in Elgin lived full life
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If there's someone who lived a full life, that's Juil Patricia "Pat" Wasmond.
Wasmond and her husband, Bob, raised 11 children, and made a lasting impact on the lives of countless others by starting Little Angels, a facility in Elgin that offers long-term care for children and young adults with profound disabilities and complex medical needs.
The couple also opened Lolly's Dollhouse and Miniature store in 1971 in Elgin.
"It boggles the mind, how one person can accomplish all of that in a lifetime," said her daughter, Shelley Lewis, of Elgin.
Wasmond died Sept. 2 at age 87 after recently celebrating her 64th wedding anniversary.
She was born in 1926 in Hurley, Wis., and moved to Elgin as a child. She graduated from St. Edward High School in 1944 and became a registered nurse after attending St. Joseph Mercy School of Nursing.
Pat Wasmond truly had a calling for caring for children with special needs, Lewis said.
She worked as a pediatric nurse, and for a time cared for the disabled daughter of a physician she worked with, Lewis said. She also was touched by the short life of her niece, who was born with hydrocephalus.
"I think those things inspired her," Lewis said.
Since its founding in 1958, Little Angels has expanded to 57 beds and a staff of more than 100, said Lewis, who now runs the facility. The Wasmonds initially lived next door, and tore down their family home to build an addition to the facility.
Bob Wasmond took care of the bookkeeping and maintenance for both Little Angels and Lolly's. The Wasmonds moved from Elgin to St. Charles in the mid 1980s, and to Cary about seven years ago.
"Mom and dad were sweethearts from right after high school and remained that way to the day mom died," Lewis said.
Running Little Angles involved the whole family, Lewis said.
"We did the laundry, scrubbed floors, washed windows, changed diapers, grew green beans. It was just part of our life," she said. "The work ethic, the commitment to excellence, has certainly rippled down to all that my family does."
Wasmond started Lolly's as a clothing store so her seven daughters could learn business, but changed course as soon as miniatures came into fashion, said her daughter, Janet "Lolly" Bayer, of St. Charles, who now runs the store.
"She was a very hardworking, business-minded woman. She always was very strong willed," Bayer said. "She expected us to all go into business and do what we wanted to do."
Pat Wasmond also served for many years as a children's Court Appointed Special Advocate in Kane County.
"She was a go-getter, my mom. If you gave her something to do, she'd do it 150 percent," Bayer said.
No matter her commitments, Wasmond always made time for her own children.
"We used to travel a lot. She loved to take us to Chicago to take us to see plays," Bayer said. "She was always doing something for us kids to better our lives."
A "Celebration of Pat's Life" will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Little Angels, 1435 Summit St. Donations to Little Angels are requested in lieu of flowers.
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