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Patricia Ann Suit, 63, of California died Jan. 22, 2013, at MedStar Georgetown Hospital after a 23-year battle with breast cancer. She was surrounded by her husband and brothers and sisters.
She retired as principal of St. John’s School in Hollywood in 2011.
Born May 16, 1949, in Leonardtown, she was the daughter of the late Upton and Miriam (Drury) Thompson.
She is survived by her husband, Steve Suit of California; sister-in-law, Marylou Thompson (Upton, deceased); sisters, Franny Thompson (George) and Tism Blackwell (Alan); brothers, Benedict Thompson (Sheila), Wayne Thompson (Joan), Mike Thompson (Barbara), John Thompson (Elise) and Sam Thompson (Susan); and many nephews and nieces.
She was a graduate of St. John’s School and St. Mary’s Academy. She earned her undergraduate degree from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She received a master of science degree in education and curriculum from McDaniel College in Westminster.
After college, she taught at Spring Ridge Middle School in Lexington Park and then moved to San Diego, where she worked at Holy Cross Hospital. She returned home in 1984 and began teaching at St. John’s, primarily middle school English and mathematics.
Her attachment to St. John’s ran deep as one of nine siblings to graduate from the school and one of several family members to work there. This included her mother, who was one of the school’s first lay teachers.
She promoted the arts as well as academics at the school, with the belief that both are essential to a well-rounded education. She initiated the choral program at St. John’s and later added an instrumental music program as well. Having worked closely with the Hollywood Optimist Club to promote public speaking, she was recognized by the Optimists for “Outstanding Contributions to Education” in 1989. After being appointed principal in 1990, she continued to teach her specialties to the upper classes. She was honored with the Bishop Lyons Award for Outstanding Leadership in Catholic Education by the Archdiocese of Washington in 2001.
She married her husband in 1991 and shared his life with friends, camping and music. He supported her many hours attending to the school and students.
Her courage in battling cancer was inspiring. From the time she was diagnosed in 1990, she accepted the challenges of the disease with grace and perseverance and was always willing to counsel others facing the disease. Her husband was always at her side, supporting her as she faced each new challenge and caring for her through several difficult recoveries. Her mentor and pastor, the Rev. Martin Harris, worked steadfastly with her over many years to maintain the students’ education while dealing with the several extended periods of cancer treatments.
The family received friends and prayers were said Jan. 25 at St. John Francis Regis Catholic Church in Hollywood, where a Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Jan. 26. Interment followed at the church cemetery. Her colleague and longtime friend, the Rev. Ron Potts, conducted the service. Pallbearers were Chris, Michael, Glenn, Ronnie, Joe and Dan Thompson.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. John’s School or St. John’s Scholarship Fund, 43900 St. John’s Road, Hollywood, MD 20636.
Arrangements were handled by Brinsfield Funeral Home in Leonardtown.