Willing to volunteer on all kinds of campaigns -- or knitting projects. Able to understand complex political issues. Happy to move anywhere to be closer to family. That was Pat Fee.
Patricia Jeanne Fee, a native of New York who had recently moved to Texas but spent much of her adult life building friendships in Barrington and Aurora, died unexpectedly Wednesday. She was 62.
Loved ones are remembering Fee for her helpful and outward-focused spirit.
"Everything she did was all volunteer-based -- that's just really who she was," said Kaitlin Fee, her youngest of three children. "She was really into mentoring young women in politics. I think she just liked to be that volunteer figure. She always extended herself out to other people."
Fee was born March 24, 1955, in Flushing, New York. She pursued nursing and worked in a hospice as a young woman, her daughter said.
On Feb. 2, 1991, she married Kelvin Fee, living several places including Canada, New York, Indiana, Florida, Barrington and Aurora.
West suburban friends have known Fee since the early 2000s, when she moved to Aurora and quickly got involved.
She served as a Republican precinct committeewoman and became involved with both the Illinois Federation of Republican Women and the National Federation of Republican Women, of which her daughter said she was a past vice president.
"Politically, we were very active together," said Rachel Ossyra of Aurora, former Naperville Township supervisor. "But it wasn't the politics, it was the friendship."
Ossyra and Fee shared an unusual enjoyment of the Iditarod dogsledding race in Alaska as well as more typical interests in golf, family, friends, fashion and news, Ossyra said.
In 2012, Fee ran as a Republican for the 84th District state House seat, using the help of many local Republicans because she so willingly assisted with their campaigns, said Dick Furstenau, a former Naperville City Council member. The seat went to Democrat Stephanie Kifowit, but Fee stayed involved, taking friends on trips to Washington, D.C., and remaining a frequent campaign volunteer.
"Pat was a very in tune to what was going on. She would tip me off to a lot of stuff that I didn't follow as much lately as she did," Furstenau said. "She stayed on top of it all, and she knew everyone and everyone knew her."
Janice Anderson, a Republican DuPage County Board member in District 5, who Fee assisted with her campaigns, said she was impressed with Fee's focus on women's issues and her ability to quickly make connections.
Fee moved to Spring, Texas, last summer to be closer to her son, Robert Dascal, her older daughter, Sarah Zerface, and her five grandchildren. Already, her daughter said, Fee was involved with a neighborhood association and a knitting club in Texas.
Visitation is scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. Monday at Forest Park -- The Woodlands Funeral Home, The Woodlands, Texas. A celebration of life is set for 11 a.m. there Tuesday.
"Even though she moved away from Naperville, she never really moved away from her friends," Anderson said.
"She never stopped smiling. She never stopped being interested in people, and she was crazy about her family and her grandkids," Furstenau said.