Of Mount Lebanon formerly of West Mifflin, died peacefully, surrounded by her family, on Jan. 12th, 2019. She is the beloved mother of David (Barbara) French, Dianne (Mark) French Melodia and Deborah (Mark) French Gorman, wonderful grandmother to Eileen (Patrick) French Jordan, Rachel French (Aaron) Todaro, Kate Melodia, Olivia Melodia, Taylor Gorman and Connor Gorman. Proud great grandmother to Max Todaro, Will Todaro and Pepper Jordan.
She is preceded in death by her loving husband, William French, LTC FA AUS (Ret) and her long time companion and friend, Walter Kolar, her mother Diana Jordanoff Kaye and father Zlate Penchev Jordanoff , her brother Nicholas Jordanoff as well as her granddaughter Kayla Dianne Gorman.
Pat’s life was lived large and she inspired hundreds of people with her passion and drive. She was a tireless advocate for the things that she believed in…art, music, dance, food, ethnic culture and diversity. She was a legendary party giver whose generosity knew no bounds. She honed those hostessing skills as an officer’s wife, where she excelled at introducing disparate people and finding a way to connect them, skills that would later serve her well in her professional life.
Pat French was a member of the Duquesne University Tamburitzans and from the moment that she became a “Tammie” her heart knew no greater love. Her passion for the group was evident in her work (Director of Promotions and Development) and in her tireless advocacy. Her work took her across the globe multiple times, she had visited every continent except Antarctica, and she met and charmed people from all walks of life in service to the promotion of the group. She raised the profile of the Tammies, both in the US and abroad, and raised funds for the many overseas tours that she helped facilitate. She was involved in tours to Latin America, the Soviet Union, Paris, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria and was in the process of finalizing a World Tour in 1987 when Duquesne decided to abruptly change leadership. While this turn of events broke her heart, she didn’t let it defeat her.
Pat was a first generation American, her parents immigrated from Bulgaria, and while they never forgot their homeland, she took her dedication to that tiny but mighty country to heart. She broadcast for Voice of America, worked as a translator for the State Department and was a presenter at the Plovdiv Trade Fair. After moving back to Pittsburgh from her travels as an army officer’s wife, Pat became involved with the Bulgarian Macedonian Beneficial Association, the local meeting place for the immigrants and their families who had fled the “old country”; the place that she had loved and called home when she was a child growing up in West Homestead. Under her guidance, the local ethnic club became the present day BMNECC, an internationally recognized center for the preservation and presentation of Bulgarian culture, a non-profit open to all people, regardless of their ethnic heritage.
Because of what the Bulgarian club had taught her, she was able to become a goodwill ambassador for both the US and Bulgaria and did much to forge positive relationships between the two countries governments, businesses and educational and artistic entities. As a result of her work on behalf of Bulgaria, Pat was named a Honorary Consul by the Bulgarian Government and was awarded the Kiril and Metodi medal for her contribution to Bulgarian culture.
Patricia French’s life may be over in this world, but her example will be a guiding star for her family and friends. She reached across borders both physical and metaphorical to bring people together. She opened her home to the hungry, the immigrant looking for a touch of home, the college kid needing a place to sleep. She has nurtured many “children” and watched with pride as they have grown and prospered. And when they have fallen, she has helped them stand again. She has stood up for herself when it wasn’t seemly for a woman to do so. She has fought for what she believes in and will be missed by the many communities that she loved.
Family and friends will be received at the SAVOLSKIS-WASIK-GLENN FUNERAL HOME INC., 3501 Main Street, Munhall on Thursday 6-9 PM and Friday 2-4 and 6-9 PM. A Funeral Mass will be Saturday, 10 AM at the St. Bernard Church, 311 Washington Road Pittsburgh, PA 15216. Everyone please meet at church. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to the BMNECC 449 West 8Th Avenue West Homestead, PA 15120, for the establishment of the Patricia Jordanoff French Memorial Library.
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