Patricia Niles Middlebrook, 83, of Virginia Beach, died Wednesday, March 13, 2019, after several years of respiratory illness. She is survived by her husband of many years, Stephen B. Middlebrook.
Patricia was born Jan. 9, 1936, in Magnolia, Maryland. She was educated in the Maryland school system, spending the first five years in one of the state’s last one-room schools. She graduated from Swarthmore College in 1957, achieving high honors, Phi Beta Kappa and a scholarship from the National Science Foundation. Following Swarthmore, Pat obtained M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in psychology from Yale University.
Pat married her husband in 1964 and lived with him for many years in Avon, Connecticut. While there, she taught as an associate professor at Central Connecticut State University and published two widely used textbooks in her principal field, social psychology. For many years, she also owned and managed a 30-unit apartment complex located in Bristol, Connecticut.
When she wasn’t teaching or managing her apartments, Pat played golf for several years at the Farmington Country Club, winning a nine-hole championship there in 1974. She also enjoyed horse riding for a number of years until a mounting accident severely injured her right leg.
Concerned about further injury to her leg from snow and ice, Pat sought to spend her retirement with her husband in a more hospitable climate. She and her husband eventually moved to Virginia Beach, permanently becoming Virginia residents in 2007.
Pat fell in love with Virginia Beach the first time she visited it. She loved the beauty of the ocean and felt blessed when she was able to purchase an oceanfront condominium. Living there, she once said, was like being on a perpetual cruise with the ship temporarily docked at harbor side.
In Virginia, Pat became a landscape photographer filming scenes throughout Hampton Roads and along the Eastern Shore. She eschewed digital photography, using a Leica camera for which she received special training in Germany.
Pat’s greatest love (aside from her husband) had been a cat she received as a Christmas gift in 2006. “Martha” brought her years of love and happiness and also helped her deal with her long-standing illness.
Pat’s mother and father, Anne and Norman Niles; brother, Norman, Jr.; and beloved friend of many years, Alla Szamrej, all preceded her in death. She especially wishes to remember the several caregivers who administered to her in her later years particularly, Olga Yatsula of Virginia Beach, who gave her many, many hours of caring and loving service.
A funeral service will be conducted at 2 p.m., Monday, March 18, at Galilee Episcopal Church with the Rev. Andrew D. Buchanan officiating.
Share online condolences with the family at H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts.