Patricia Runyon, (f/k/a Pat Frohling), 91, passed away on April 6 in North Branford. Pat was passionate about life and embraced it every day with an insatiable curiosity and lived with a commitment to being the best version of herself she could be.
Notable among Pat’s passions was her devotion to social and economic equality and justice. Pat worked and advocated for these things through a number of organizations and in her personal life. Moreover, a fervent conservationist and naturalist, Pat advocated for the environment throughout her life and, in more recent decades, against climate change. Pat immersed herself in the outdoors through hiking, backpacking, and canoeing and as a serious amateur botanist. Pat’s unquenchable curiosity also led her to travel the world, immersing herself in the cultural, historical, and natural aspects of places such as India, Bali, Mexico, Alaska, New Zealand, and Kenya.
Closer to home, she was an active member of the Unitarian Church in Ann Arbor and for more than 20 years relished annual stays on Monhegan Island in Maine with her family. Pat also loved art and was a talented painter. She enjoyed many music forms and enjoyed reading non-fiction, attending serious theater, and watching PBS and BBC programing on nature and history. She enjoyed cooking and was practically a chocolate ice cream addict.
Her children and grandchildren remember her as a loving, devoted, and supportive mother and grandmother who exerted a sage and positive shaping influence. Pat was born in New York City and grew up with her late older brother William Runyon in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. She attended and earned a bachelor’s degree from Douglass College (now a part of Rutgers University) and, later in life, earned a master’s degree in library science from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. A homemaker during her children’s formative years, Pat later worked as a librarian and media specialist near Detroit. Pat also had a full and rewarding family life.
She married the late Robert C. Frohling in 1954, and is survived by their sons Nathan Frohling (wife Deb Bloom) and Daniel Frohling (wife Susan Frohling) and her grandchildren Morgan, Emma, William, John, Katherine, and Samuel Frohling. Some years after Robert’s death, Pat met and married the late Herbert Mueller, and she embraced his children and grandchildren as her own. She was preceded in death by Herb’s son Mark Mueller, but is survived by Herb’s other children, Sarah Hernandez (husband Chico) and Gary Mueller (wife Cindy), and his grandchildren, Laura, Helena, Nolan, and Joanna. We will all greatly miss her.
The family will be holding a private celebration of her life in June. Pat had requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Connecticut Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, 55 Church Street, Floor 3, New Haven, CT 06510-3029.
To leave an online expression of sympathy, please visit www.keenanfuneralhome.com.