Pat Pooley, Rotarian Emirita

(Remarks delivered by Karen Kerry on the occasion of Emeritus Status presentation to Pat Pooley.)

Once upon a time there was a passionate woman whose intelligence and grace took her down many road/paths from her early roots in Allen Park, MI- an ethnically diverse neighborhood on the outskirts of Detroit.

She is a Rotary member who certainly demonstrates Service Above Self and a believer in the saying, ‘there is no ‘I’ in ‘Team.’ Rarely does she take the stage for public recognition but she often has contributed to the exceptional work that our Club has executed- including but not limited to service on the Program Committee, the Golf and Tennis Outing Committee, the Centennial Committee, the Social Committee and the planning of major Club Events like Stories of Service VIP Parties, Sundaes in the Park at Gallup, our Centennial Gala at Barton, among others. However, other than being labeled as a ‘hostess with the most-ess, this new Emeritus member of our Club has a serious compassionate side where she has devoted her energies to helping those less fortunate than herself.

Even as a young college student, she spent a summer at a World Council of Churches International Work Camp rebuilding an orphanage bombed out in WWll. In successfully running for School Board in 1973, she stated, ‘we should focus our attention on the elementary schools. If we fail children at this level of their education, their problems and ours are only compounded as we all grow older. Also, we should find effective and reasonable responses to the intolerable level of violence in our schools… and improve vocational and technical education at the high school level.’ Her words were as prudent in 1973 as they are today! We think that you should run again Pat! An English major in college, Pat has been as committed as anyone in this room to literacy for every child and part of her pride in our Club has been our commitment to helping all kids succeed!

Pat spent many years with, and married to, the brilliant and witty Bev Pooley, professor of law and the director of the Law Library and they lived a wonderful life together in a great house in Geddes Heights.

Pat also was blessed to see the world. Early in their marriage, she lived in West Africa for two years, while Bev was on faculty at the University of Ghana. Pat’s position was planning and executing parties for the Mobil Oil Company and she used that time abroad to sample the cooking of West and North Africa, Turkey and most extensively, France. Bev insisted that she take an opportunity to study cooking for (two) six-month courses at the famous Cordon Bleu Cooking School in London. Little did he know that that would lead to turf wars in the family kitchen and a serious entrepreneurial venture by Pat years later!

After returning home to the States, Pat and Bev had two children, Chris, an Immigration lawyer and fellow Rotarian in CO, and Rachel an archival librarian here in Ann Arbor. They have both brought amazing joy to Pat and Bev- and she cherishes the many opportunities that she has to be with them. You often see Pat and Rachel volunteering together around Ann Arbor including at Rotary events J

Pat has been active in local Democratic politics. She has a keen devotion to speaking for those who don’t have a voice. A devotee of the Ann Arbor Symphony, UMS, Summer Festival and the Michigan Theater, Pat has served as a Board member and proud supporter of all that Ann Arbor has to offer. In 2005, Pat was quoted as saying, ‘The University and Ann Arbor opened up a whole new vista for me- great music, an appreciation for theater, an introduction to students from the entire universe, sensitive friends, a grounding in the humanities as well as the motivation to be a lifelong learner.’

Not all of her work has been political, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention her 20-year love affair with The Moveable Feast, an amazing restaurant set in a wonderful Victorian brick house on W. Liberty that she started on a shoestring budget with four other faculty wives. That business went on to be listed by Zagat as one of the top 150 restaurants in the country and by Conde Nast, Bon Appetit and Gourmet as well. Not taken too seriously by their husbands at the outset, they had to shirk off early names suggested by the ‘boys’ including ‘Five Easy Pieces’ and ‘B-Cups and Tea Cups!’

When I asked Pat what she was most proud of- and there is lots to choose from- she shared that it was the food recycling program that she initiated with Food Gatherers. Even Paul Saginaw in his 2014 DSA Award from Rotary mentioned how critical it was to the mission, that Pat Pooley, then sole proprietor of the Feast, donated all of their Moveable Feast Catering Vans to pick up food all over Ann Arbor.

Pat, our community and our Rotary Club have become better places because of your leadership and passion. As one of my favorites once said, ‘It’s not the years in the life, but the life in the Years! To a life well spent! To you Pat Pooley, a true friend and… our Club’s newest Emeritus member!