Patricia Stroud Croom, born January 28, 1938, daughter of Lawrence Monroe Stroud and Cleta Mae Parks Stroud, died peacefully in her home in Chapel Hill on February 20, 2023.
Patsy was predeceased by her husband of 60 years, Dr. Robert DeVane Croom, III, her two younger brothers, Larry Ray Stroud and Michael Moody Stroud and her parents. She is survived by her two children Robert DeVane Croom, IV (Susan), Patricia Croom Halsey (Jason), two grandchildren, Robert Jacobsen Croom and Jackson Currie Halsey, her brothers-in-law Frederick Hailey Croom (Mishoe Brennecke) and John McLean Croom (Larissa Boudnikova), sister-in-law Henrietta Brown Croom, nieces Elizabeth Bonner Croom and Maria Johnovna Croom, nephews Frederick Hailey Croom, Jr. and Alexander McMillan Croom, and close family friend Hector Allen MacDonald.
Patsy was born in Hartsville, South Carolina but World War II brought her family to Maxton, North Carolina where her father helped build gliders at the airbase. After the war, the Strouds stayed in Maxton, where her grandfather, father, and later her brother Larry, worked as upholsters.
It was in Maxton, as first grade classmates, that Patsy first met her future husband, Bob. But it was not love at first sight, as she was quick to tell people. That changed their senior year in high school when their principal suggested she let Bob escort her to a beauty pageant.
After high school, Bob and Patsy continued dating while she attended nursing school at Charlotte Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, and he went to Davidson College. They married in 1962 while Bob was in medical school and began living in Chapel Hill. Except for a few years, they lived there for the rest of their lives, making many close friends along the way.
Patsy loved being a surgical nurse and she worked at Scotland Memorial Hospital, UNC Memorial Hospital, Johns Hopkins and, later in life, the Durham Ambulatory Surgical Center. It was Patsy who taught Bob how to perfect tying surgical knots while he was in medical school.
Over the years Patsy also spent time volunteering through various organizations. She enjoyed working in her yard, especially growing zinnias which she lovingly shared with friends and family. She had a charming, yet mischievous smile, and a great sense of humor and quick wit. She was a “crazy cat lady” who loved her own cats but also fed all the neighborhood cats.
Patsy always put her family’s needs above her own. She helped care for her younger brothers throughout their lives and her mother when she got older. As a wife, she deeply loved her husband, and as a mother she raised her children with kindness, respect, and laughter. But it was her grandsons that brought her incredible joy and occupied much of her time in the later years of her retirement, which she carefully documented with many pictures. She answered to both “Dadum” and “Meme” as each grandson had different names of affection for her.
The last four years of Patsy’s life were not easy, as she was diagnosed with Lewy body Dementia and required around-the-clock care. During this time, she received wonderful care from a dedicated team of caregivers, her physicians, and strong emotional support from her close friends. Her family is very thankful for all the love and support for Patsy during these years.
A brief service will be held for both Patsy and Bob on May 6, 2023, at 3:00 pm in the rose garden at University United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill (inside if the weather does not cooperate). They both loved animals, nature, and wildlife. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Orange County Humane Society Donations | Orange County, NC (orangecountync.gov) , Carolina Tiger Rescue Memory – Carolina Tiger Rescue or to the charity of one’s choice are welcomed. Walker’s Funeral Home of Chapel Hill is assisting the family.
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