Patricia Marie Buffin Miles passed away on February 7, 2020, at the Community Restorium in Bonners Ferry. Services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, February 15, at United Methodist Church, 6568 Lincoln Street, Bonners Ferry.
Private interment will be held in the Grandview Cemetery, in Bonners Ferry.
Born the second daughter to Miriam Butler and Roy Buffin at her Grandma Sadie Buffin’s home in Moyie Springs, Patricia joined her sister, Carol, in a little railroad house on Meadow Creek. The year was 1939 and the only thing tougher than the times were the people and families who lived through them.
The Buffin Family soon added a son, Gene, in 1941 and became a family of five until Roy suddenly took ill and passed away in 1944. Miriam and her brood had to vacate the section housing and moved into to Bonners Ferry immediately.
The Buffin family met Bill Leslie while Miriam was camp cook at the KV Ranch near Port Hill. Soon after Miriam married Bill, they all moved into a one room shack for a short time. If you asked Pat, they were only there for eight or nine days before Miriam said they had to move. In reality, according to her older sister Carol, they lived there for eight or nine months when Bill upgraded them to two one-room shacks at Round Prairie.
The Buffin kids started school at Addie in a one-room school house, built their home near Leslie Springs and moved to the North Bench. Pat transferred to the McKinley school then to Mt. Hall opened in the 50s.
Pat broke her leg helping in the kitchen during sixth grade, slipping, believe it or not, on some Jell-o. This began Pat’s life of many bumps, bruises, cuts and scrapes.
Looking back, she was one tough cookie. She was Bill’s right hand man in the woods while logging their property.
As youngsters, Pat and Gene were instigators and troublemakers, but mostly they were doers of things.
In one story Pat talked about wanting ice-cream, but there was no cream or milk, so she and Gene snuck under the neighbor’s fence and milked their cow. Ice cream for everyone that night!
Pat’s younger years and her shenanigans with her siblings were some of her fondest memories and she recounted them often with a sparkle in her green eyes. They welcomed sister Ruth Ann in the late 40s and brother Steve in the early 50s.
Pat and Gene continued their hooligan ways while Carol stepped up and helped Miriam with the little kids.
Pat attended Bonners Ferry High School and married Roy Miles in 1956. Their marriage resulted in four children; Patsy, Donna, Laurrie and Walter. Their family lived a nomadic life following the crop harvests around the Central Washington and northern Oregon region.
In 1963, Pat and her family moved permanently to the Stump Ranch in the Curley Creek area of Moyie Springs. Pat began her 37-year career at Boundary County Hospital in 1967. Until her retirement from the ECF Wing in 2004, she supplemented the family income with her work at the hospital, home health care and cleaning the laundry-mat after hours.
She became lifelong friends with Regina Unruh and Melvina Amoth and together they traveled across the United States and she relived her adventurous childhood days with them.
Many other people became Pat’s second family over those years- every one of them held a special place in her heart and although they are too many to name, you know who you are and we all thank you.
Baking chiffon cakes and huckleberry picking in Boundary County were a couple of her favorite things. Recipients of her cakes knew just how much love went into each cake.
It is important to mention that Geri Garten and Pat became close while bringing life into this world catching babies, holding the hands of new mothers and escorting the dying into the hereafter.
There was just no better compliment to Pat, she mattered to many. Together they mattered.
Over the years, life dealt a few tough blows to Pat and her family. Her husband went missing in the early 80s; he was sturgeon fishing when his boat capsized in the Kootenai River near Copeland.
In 1997 she lost her brother Gene, and Laurie passed soon after from her battle with cancer. Pat took Laurrie’s children as her own, beginning again ... again. Kayla and Brett filled her home with joy and all new challenges, but in true Pat form, she persevered.
In 2010, Pat became a caregiver to the only other man in her life besides Roy, her brother-in-law Jim.
After his amputation, she was able to be there for him as he had been there for her for so very many years. She lost her youngest brother Steve in 2014.
After retirement and a battle with cancer of her own, her daughter Donna came to live with her and they resided in their home near Leslie Springs until Donna passed away in 2016. It was a particularly difficult year, losing Jim in March and Donna in December.
Pat moved to the Restorium and began yet another lease on life.
She was an involved community member at the Restorium, where she knew all the best gossip and all the goings-on.
There are not enough thank yous for the caregivers at the Restorium or her dear friend Geri, who held her hand and mattered in the way she had mattered to many.
Pat is survived by her granddaughter Kayla (Trevor), grandsons Brett and James, son Walter Lee, grandsons Brandon Michael and David, daughter Patsy, granddaughter Amanda (Ben) and great granddaughter Elizabeth. She is also survived by her sisters Carol and Ruth Ann as well as nephews, nieces, cousins and friends from the old days as well as all her new friends at the Restorium.