Patricia Leona Hyland, 85, of Appleton, passed away peacefully at home on April 24, 2021 with her children at her side. She was born January 14, 1936 in Chicago Heights, IL to Frank and Helen (Zych) Sala. Her childhood was immersed in Polish American culture. She was a proud member of the Polish Falcons (track & field, gymnastics, and traditional Polish dancing). In 1953, she graduated from Bloom High School. After graduation, she attended Thorton Junior College for two years and then earned her Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education at the UW–LaCrosse, where she met her future husband John C. Hyland. They were married on June 8, 1958 in Chicago Heights and initially remained in LaCrosse, WI, where all four of their children were born.
As a young mother raising the four little ones, Pat was busy making a wonderful home for her family. They moved to Menomonie, WI for a couple years before settling in Sturgeon Bay, WI, where she taught both Physical Education and Special-Ed until she found her passion in facilitating adult continuing education at the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC). So taken with it, she returned for her Master’s degree in continuing education at UW-Eau Claire in 1978. She truly had the knack for bringing people together – those who had the talent to teach with those who had the desire to learn. The women she worked with became lifelong and most treasured friends.
Her gift for people also shone forth in her involvement in her local Catholic parish. If there was a parish picnic or potluck dinner, you could be sure that Pat Hyland was there to set up, serve, and clean up. She was always willing and ready to volunteer. Pat also contributed to her local parish by obtaining autographed Green Bay Packer items for church auctions. After 21 years at the NWTC, Pat finally retired and moved to Green Bay, WI, which enabled a new hobby – a Packer Backer! Becoming known as “Grandma Pat” to the late 90’s Green Bay Packer players, office staff, and equipment manager “Red” Batty, she frequently attended the Packer’s training camp seeking autographs and offering players rides from the Stadium to the practice facility. She really spent time getting to know the players – sending them birthday cards, “get well” cards after injuries, “thinking of you” cards to encourage them after dropped passes, and even “congratulations” cards for new draft picks or for players setting franchise records. She often received mail addressed to “Grandma Pat” from both Packer players and their wives.
She was an avid golfer, enjoyed bowling, aerobics, sunbathing and hanging out at the pool – especially with her sister Millie. In the last few years, Pat enjoyed her card group, Christian fiction, Hallmark movies, and game shows on TV. Pat also loved watching golf, tennis (her DVR was always set for Djovak Nokovic who was her guy!), and of course the Milwaukee Brewers, which was a particular balm during her last days.
Pat’s greatest joy was always her family. She and John were faithful followers of their children and grandchildren’s activities, even taking the family car on the road to follow girls’ softball tournaments cross country and chaperoning Broadway and Co to show choir competition trips. An eventual move from Green Bay to Appleton, WI, allowed them to be closer to their grandchildren and made trips to LaCrosse and Phoenix, AZ to visit children and grandchildren more frequent. Pat loved nothing more than to have the entire family gathered around the house for holidays, birthdays, and summer fun. The entire family, including all the in-laws, had the privilege of learning the traditional Polish birthday song “Sto Lat.” For some of the youngest grandchildren, it was the first song they successfully memorized! During her final confinement, nothing brought her quite the joy as watching pictures and videos sent to her Kindle and her digital picture frame from her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
In her final weeks, Pat was also greatly comforted by her strong Catholic faith. She maintained her daily routine of praying the rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet as well as the weekly TV Mass. She was able to receive Holy Communion thanks to a neighbor who volunteered at her local parish. What a joy and a blessing! Divine Mercy Sunday (the weekend after Easter) was a particularly special devotion for Pat. She attended each year at St. Pius and was blessed to watch it on-line this year. She would donate “How To Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet” brochures to her parish and would be sure to promote the Divine Mercy Sunday devotion at every opportunity.
Pat is preceded in death by her husband John C. Hyland, her daughter Janet Marie Hyland, and by her parents Frank and Helen (Zych) Sala, her sister Jeanette (John) Lassa, her brother Frank (Betty) Sala, and her sister Mildred (Richard) Soderberg.
She is survived by her three children Timothy (Natalie) Hyland, Scottsdale, Christine (Gregory) Wert, Appleton, and Susan (Robert) Pretasky, LaCrosse, her six grandchildren John Hyland, Austin, TX, Amanda (Bryan) McConnell, Caledonia, Brooke (Luke) Gietman, Neenah, Eric Wert, Cambridge, RJ Pretasky, Saint Paul, and Andrew Pretasky, LaCrosse, as well as her two great-grandchildren Milo Cupertino McConnell, and Michael Martin Gietman. Pat is further survived by her Lassa, Sala, and Soderberg niece/nephews and their families, her favorite cousin Carol Davis, and many other beloved Sala/Zych cousins and extended Polish relatives.
The family would like to thank all those who offered prayers for Mom and brought her Holy Communion; particular thanks to Pat Jankowski and to Sister Lucia of the Missionaries of the Word. A heartfelt thanks also to Greg, Ashley, Jenny, and especially Mom’s beloved nurse Elaine from Heartland Home Health Care for their tender care for Mom. Also special thanks to Dr. Servais, Dr. Chapman, Dr. Kokontis, Dr. Nonn and Dr. Parrish along with their entire teams for their dedicated medical care of our Mom over the years.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday May 4, 2021 at 10:30am at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 222 E. Fremont St., Appleton. Friends and family are invited to gather in the evening on Monday May 3rd in the Sacred Heart Room at the church anytime from 4-7pm for a visitation with a brief prayer service at 7pm; also at 9:30am on Tuesday until the time of the Mass.
Internment with short prayer service will take place on Tuesday May 4th at 3pm near the Mausoleum at St. Joseph Cemetery, 3737 Egg Harbor Rd, Sturgeon Bay. Friends and family are invited to join the family for this time of prayer followed by a gathering of remembrance and sharing at the Lodge at Leathem Smith afterward.
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