Patricia Laird

October 6, 1928 ~ January 9, 2022 (age 93)


Patricia (Pat) Laird passed away at her home in Ripon, CA on January 9, 2022, a year and a month after she lost her husband James Laird. She was born in Modesto, CA to Harvey and Amanda Michels on October 6, 1928. She attended Modesto High School and Modesto Junior College.

She worked briefly for the Modesto Bee and Bell Telephone. After the war she met James on a blind date and then married the love of her life on June 20, 1948. She lived in Modesto, Oakdale, and Ripon, and was a life-long member of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church.

Pat was a homemaker most of her life, took pride in her home, and had dinners on the table every night without fail. She loved the holidays, and she made Christmas extra special for the whole family. When she was able, she never missed Mass, and volunteered for many years at St. Stanislaus School. She loved to travel, entertain family and friends, and watch the SF Giants on TV. She enjoyed researching family history and the history of California, and the Oregon Trail.

Pat’s claim to fame is being the beautiful blonde young woman waving from the back of a car in the popular 1948 photo of Modesto’s Burge’s Drive-In. The photo was originally published in the 1948 Modesto Junior College Buccaneer year book, and can now be found online, in books, and in various establishments. Burge’s Drive-In was the inspiration for the Mel’s Drive-In in the ‘American Graffiti’ movie. 

Pat will be remembered for her tireless work ethic, strong character, generosity, love of the church and her family.

Pat is proceeded in death by her husband of 72 years, James Laird. She is survived by five daughters, Kathryn Marcellino of Modesto, Susan Sperry of Twain Harte, Joan Lehman and her husband Craig of Santa Rosa, Jane Meyer of Reno, NV, and Nancy Lewis and her husband James of Ripon. She had 14 grandchildren and 34 great-grandchildren, and a sister-in-law, Jean Laird of Concord.
The family would like to acknowledge the compassion and care given to both Pat and James by the many caregivers for the last several years, and to Bridge Hospice of Modesto.

Funeral services will be private.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the charity of your choice, or St. Stanislaus Church, 709 J St., Modesto CA, 95354,  209-524-4381. https://sites.google.com/ststanscc.org/ststanislausgatheredasone/online-giving 

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