Obituary for Patricia Ann Bloomgren
Patricia Ann Hamilton Bloomgren, 74, of Stillwater, Minnesota, died peacefully on December 21, 2021 with her daughter Kara by her side.
Pat was born on May 28, 1947 in Farmington, New Mexico, to Gene Cade Hamilton and Kathryn Lorene Hall. She grew up in Aztec, New Mexico, and graduated from Aztec High School in 1965. She was an honorary graduate and an accomplished musician, particularly in flute and piano. She played the flute in a school band and was in the All-State Band for three consecutive years. She was also the drum majorette for three years. Pat played in a piano quartet (2 pianos and 4 girls) and taught piano. The quartet played Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony in several recitals in the Aztec region.
Pat earned a Bachelor of Science degree in geology from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado in 1969. In 1971 she earned a Masters of Science degree in geology from Colorado State University at Fort Collins Geology at the University of Minnesota. Pat fell in love with the lakes and trees of Minnesota the first time he looked out of an airplane window. It was here that Pat built her career and started a second family among the people of the geological and environmental community.
Pat was a pioneer in advancing women in the workplace and an early environmental advocate who regularly spent her time and energy on causes she believed in. As she built her career, she not only focused on moving herself forward, but also served as a mentor and coach to help others, especially women, achieve their goals. Pat was a dedicated civil servant. Her colleagues described her as “having a keen knowledge and sense of humor; she really loved her job and she did it well. She was a pleasure to work with.” Pat worked for the State of Minnesota for more than 30 years until she retired in 2008. She began as a hydrologist in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), but eventually her career took her to various senior leadership positions for the DNR, Board of Water and Water Resources Soil Resources, Pollution Agency, and Ministry of Health. Below are some highlights from her long career.
At DNR, Pat was a key person in the Minnesota Flood Plain Management Program with responsibilities in program management, rule-making, and promotion of the program. It had to win the cooperation of local governments and get them to issue rules and regulations for floodplain areas through ordinances. Pat was also a key member of the National Association of State Floodplain Managers, working to promote and advocate a national approach to reducing the effects of flooding in the United States. She had a great ability to explain and present technical aspects of the disciplines in which she worked in a very clear and understandable manner. She was an excellent communicator and was greatly appreciated for her knowledge, understanding, and approach to problem solving.
At the Department of Health, Pat spent months in the area after the 1997 flood in the Red River Valley, representing the state Department of Health and local governments trying to recover. Her regulatory experience and the knowledge she has acquired from every agency of the state government in which she has worked has enabled her to provide guidance on groundwater, well management, house and business pollution and clean-up, waste collection and – provide disposal. After the SARS epidemic in 2003, Pat offered her expertise in planning a pandemic that she hoped would never occur to several state agencies.
Throughout her life, Pat’s thirst for adventure led her to take on various jobs. During her college days, she worked as a factory worker at a Massachusetts textile mill, changing the spools on the machines that made colored ropes. For another summer, she cooked for a group of geology students doing fieldwork in Colorado. She also worked on a weed farming project for a couple of weeks. It’s really true that she didn’t mind getting her hands dirty. During her career, she re-energized by traveling to Alaska, where she spent time interviewing guests from various national parks, particularly Denali, about what they liked and didn’t like about the campsites.
Pat was a good friend to many. She had nearly 70 years of relationships with the Krib Kids, a group of children she met in elementary school in Aztec, New Mexico. In her retirement, she loved drinking coffee with the Smart Ladies group every Wednesday. This group discussed current events, challenged each other intellectually and supported each other emotionally. She also cherished many friends from her college and career years in the geology and environmental community for decades and stayed in touch until her final death.
Outside of her work life, Pat had time for a few other passions. She was an avid gardener and every year increased the size of her garden and the variety of flowers or fruits in it. Nor was there a pet or animal that Pat did not love. She donated for many animal causes and had at least a few pets for most of her life. She shared these passions with her grandchildren Cruz and Linnea. She loved it when they helped her weed the garden or pick strawberries. Nothing was more fun than rolling on the floor with these two kids and the kittens. Time with the grandchildren was a time well spent in retirement. She took them to the beach or out shopping and loved spending hours fishing with the children to see her daughter Kara on the lake.
Pat loved traveling, whether in the US or abroad. Outside of her hometown of Minnesota, her favorite place in the US was her university town of Durango, Colorado. She always made a point of visiting there whenever she went to Aztecs to see her family. Pat was fortunate to have a circle of friends and family who would love to travel to accompany her on her journey around the world. Her son Brian took her on several road trips to Aztecs to see his family. They liked driving the entire distance from Minnesota to New Mexico in one long day of more than 20 hours. She always liked to take the less traveled route or the adventure that wasn’t planned. Often times when she was driving, she turned abruptly to see where a road would lead; their sense of adventure never ends. While she often wandered closer to her home, visited places in the outlying state of Minnesota or traveled to the western or southwestern states, she also enjoyed traveling on to countries such as Argentina, China, the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Ireland, Panama, Russia or Scotland. She brought Kara with her on one such trip, and they were able to compare her driving skills as the two of them attempted to drive a gear stick, maneuver through roundabouts (a challenge when driving on the left side of the road), and constantly weaving around the local goats.
Pat was preceded in death by her parents, Gene and Kathryn Hamilton. She leaves behind her children Kara (Randy) Topper and Brian Bloomgren, grandsons Cruz and Linnea Topper, sister Janice Baxter and nephews Michael Baxter and Kevin Baxter (Kim Tran).
The family would like to express their love and gratitude to Oak Park Senior Living and the St. Croix Hospice for looking after Pat over the past several years. The help and support from the staff was outstanding and meant so much to us. We also want to acknowledge the relentless help of Cousin Diane who supported and guided Pat during her last difficult years.
A memorial service to celebrate life will be held in the Spring of 2022 at the Cremation Society of Minnesota, 1979 Old Hudson Rd, St. Paul, MN 55119.
Instead of flowers, donations can be made to Environment Minnesota at or Heifer International at or Planned Parenthood of North Central States at.
Arrangements by the Cremation Society of Minnesota.
Published by the Cremation Society of Minnesota on January 4, 2022.