Patricia Lokey's unexpected death last week has left another void in our community.
Mrs. Patricia, whom I met when I was a young boy growing up in Thomson, was a special person. And everyone who ever met her seemed to think so, too.
For years and years, Mrs. Patricia served as pianist at area churches. She also taught piano lessons to hundreds of area students, including my son, Daniel Palmer.
She also served for many years as the late Judge Robert L. Stevens' administrative secretary. It was during that time that our paths crossed a number of times when I came to Thomson to cover a big court story or one that was occurring within the Toombs Judicial Circuit.
Mrs. Patricia always treated me so nice whether I came to her office in person or if I had to call seeking information from Judge Stevens about a particular case or hearing. I could not have asked for her to have been any more helpful than she was to me. Her professionalism in that office was set to the highest standard, because she wouldn't have had it any other way.
She also was a thoughtful, considerate person - always going out of her way to assist others or to have a listening ear to someone's problems. Mrs. Patricia was a people-person - one who cared deeply about others and their feelings. She went out of her way to help others when she could, no matter the situation.
Her wisdom and strong belief in God helped to make her the special person she was to me and so many other people, who knew her, loved her and respected her.
She was truly a remarkable person.
Mrs. Patricia also was genuine. There was no put-on to her. She was true to herself and true to others.
I remember the late Judge Stevens mentioning on several occasions that he wouldn't be able to function without his trusted secretary.
"She keeps me straight," Judge Stevens would say.
It's so hard to believe that Mrs. Patricia is no longer with us. But we can all be assured of one thing - she's in Heaven today, playing sweet music for the largest congregation ever.
I'll miss seeing Mrs. Patricia in our community and I know her many friends and especially her family will, too. She was a wonderful servant of God and the music she brought to others brightened so many lives for so many years.
I will never forget my friend or what she taught us about life. I think it would be her wish that those of us who are not as close to God as we should be to become closer to Him.