Pat Deihl

Pat Deihl was at the 2012 Xena, Warrior Princess Convention in Burbank, CA giving away more than two tables and a clothing rack full of  Xena memorabilia (including luggage, jewelry, jackets and sweaters, t-shirts, many boxes of fan fiction, DVDs,  videotapes, and many posters) in memory of her soul mate and life partner Mary Lee Richeson, who had passed on in September, 2010. When the tables were virtually empty, the people at the neighboring table remarked, “You need to tell your story; you need to write a book about you and Mary Lee.” Pat answered, “I’m not a professional writer; I can’t do that.”  Claudia Wilde, from Bedazzled Ink, responded, “We’ll help you.”  They planted the seed, and here we are, working on completing that book.Pat was born in 1939 in Indiana, and she began piano lessons when she was eight years old.  Music was destined to “be her life.”  She began singing in her church choir at age 10; by the time she was in eighth grade, when she began accompanying the junior high school choir there, she knew she wanted to be a high school choir director.  She sang in and accompanied choirs throughout high school and college. Pat earned her Bachelor of Science in Music Education degree in 1961 from Wittenberg University at Springfield, Ohio.  She received her Master’s Degree in Music Education in 1967 from Indiana University on the Bloomington Campus.   She taught music (and choirs) for 34 years in public schools, from grade school, junior high school, and eventually high school.  For years, Pat was also the choir director/music director at her church.When she retired from teaching in 1995, she had already created an adult community choir, The Celebration Singers,” which continues to be extremely active today, as well as another adult choir, “The Festival Choir” (consisting of choir directors and choir members from about 20 different churches in the Fort Wayne area.)  The first choir has sung together for 20 years, mostly in retirement and nursing homes; the other choir has performed primarily in churches (including three trips to Europe) for 28 years. When Pat began directing them 18 years ago, the choir also has had a prison ministry.   Her choirs are still her passion and her joy in life. Pat’s other passion and joy in life was her Mary Lee, who sang in both of Pat’s choirs and loved Pat as no other had. They began their shared lives at ages 35 and 50, in the year 1975.  (Thus, the title of this book:  We Came Alive in ’75! aptly describes how their long and rich union affected both of them over the span of their incredible 36 years together.)