Patricia “Patty” Lu Ann Dieterich, age 85, formerly of Ridgefield, died Friday, May 1, 2015 in Suffield CT, after a long courageous battle with Lung Cancer. Patty was born on November 16th in 1929 in Sioux City, Iowa a daughter of the late Ellen and Forest Smith.  She spent her early childhood in Emery, South Dakota, where her father was a doctor of Veterinary Medicine treating large and farm animals. She later moved to Sioux City, Iowa and then to Ames, Iowa where she attended the University of Iowa, studying Occupational Therapy.

While there she became an active member of the Gamma Phi Beta Sorority and met the love of her life Robert Dieterich.  Bob and Patty married on Aug.19, 1950 and settled in Chicago and South Bend, Indiana.  In 1953, when her first son Steven was 2 years old, they moved to Caracas, Venezuela for Bob’s work in the printing machine export business. While living there, her second son Kevin was born in 1954. Patty, Bob and the 2 boys continued living in South America, moving to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil. She enthusiastically embraced living in a foreign culture, learning both Spanish and Portuguese. In late 1955 they returned to the United States, to live in Park Ridge, Ill. for the next 17 years. During that time she had 2 daughters Julia and Susan.

In 1971 she and her family moved to Ridgefield, CT residing there 15 years. Patty worked locally in women’s retail and for many years along side her husband in his business, Berkshire Graphics. Sadly, in 1984, her husband Robert died, and she began the next chapter of her life, moving to Vero Beach, Florida where she continued to live for 25 years. For 20 of those years, she worked as an active volunteer in the Indian River Medical Center Auxiliary. Patty returned to live in Connecticut in 2011, settling in Suffield and making some wonderful new friends. She was a lifelong Episcopalian, and a member of St. Andrew’s Church in Longmeadow, Mass.

She enjoyed traveling the world on business and for pleasure, bike riding, gardening, attending art events and theatre productions. But most importantly, she loved interacting with friends and family. They knew her as a strong, smart and independent woman with an engaging, caring and generous spirit. As one friend says, “she just had that certain spark that could light up a room”.  Patty was blessed to have 4 children, and 7 grandchildren, who all loved her dearly.  She is survived by her children, Steven Dieterich and his wife, Christina, of Suffield, CT,  Kevin Dieterich and his wife, Candace, of  Winthrop, ME and Susan Dieterich and her life partner, David Antonez, of Easton, CT and seven grandchildren. Patty was predeceased by her daughter, Julia Meetze. Patty had a special love of children; in lieu of flowers, please consider donating in her honor to a charity of your choice that supports and nurtures children around the world. Private services for Patty will be held in Ridgefield, Ct.  Leete-Stevens Enfield Chapels, Enfield, CT and the Kane Funeral, Ridgefield, CT are assisting Patty’s family.

—by the family