Patricia Carey Theinert

March 12, 1925 - Aug. 31, 2012
Patricia Carey Theinert

    Patricia Carey Theinert, a Navy veteran who lost a husband and a grandson in the line of duty, died at home in Bay Point on Aug. 31. She was 87 and had esophageal cancer.
    Her “patriotism never waned,” her family wrote, “even when her grandson First Lt. Joseph J. Theinert was killed in action on June 4, 2010, in Afghanistan. As both a Gold Star wife and a Gold Star grandmother, Pat continued to support our military at every chance.”
    Born in Astoria, Queens, to James Carey and Helen Fuchs on March 12, 1925, she graduated from Cathedral High School in Manhattan.
    She was married to Regis Aloysious McKeon for only three months when he was killed in a helicopter crash on June 6, 1944, D-Day, while serving in the United States Army Air Corps. He had been scheduled to return home; Ms. Theinert received his handwritten letter anticipating his return just two days after his death.
    “Ever the consummate patriot,” her family wrote, she decided to enlist in the Navy’s WAVES, or Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. She served two years as a yeomen second class stationed in Brownsville, Tex., and was honorably discharged at the end of World War II.
    She returned to Astoria, where she met William John Theinert. They married on Oct. 4, 1947, and moved to Stuyvesant Town the following year. They had two sons, Bruce and James, then moved to East Meadow where a daughter, Denise, was born. They were active in the community and members of St. Brigid’s Catholic Church there. Bruce, who was diagnosed with Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy, was confined to a wheelchair, and received constant care from his mother.
    The family first visited Sag Harbor in 1959, and fell in love with the area, spending their summers there from that time forward, and eventually purchasing property in Noyac with plans to build a house.
    In 1965, Bruce died. Ms. Theinert took a part-time job at the Abraham and Strauss Department store in Hempstead the following Christmas to stay busy, and ended up staying on for 20 years.
    Her husband died in 1980, and in 1985 she moved permanently to a small house she bought in Bay Point. She worked with the Animal Rescue Fund and for 10 years with the Bridgehampton National Bank. After her retirement, Ms. Theinert kept active, working part-time at the windmill on Long Wharf, where she shared information about the village.
    She loved life in Sag Harbor, her family said, and she loved to have fun, whether shopping or enjoying baked goods with neighbors and friends. “As the family matriarch, Pat was the pillar of strength and taught her many family members how to carry on with life in the face of loss,” her family wrote, describing her “ready laugh and generous spirit.”
    She was known to focus on helping others, despite her share of tragedies.
    Knowing how it felt to lose a son, Ms. Theinert was devastated for her son, James Theinert, when his son was killed in Afghanistan, her family said, but she appreciated the many ways her grandson was honored in Sag Harbor and on Shelter Island, where he grew up.
    In addition to her son, who lives in Sag Harbor, Ms. Theinert is survived by her daughter, Denise Koegel of Merrick, five grandchildren, and a sister, Marion Lavelle of Sag Harbor.
     A funeral Mass was said on Sept. 4 at Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Bridgehampton. Ms. Theinert was buried at the Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury. The family has suggested memorial donations to the Joseph J. Theinert Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 1650, Mattituck 11952.