Patricia `Tricia' McNelis

[ Age 46 ] Health system worker known for her `sense of adventure'

December 30, 2007

Patricia "Tricia" McNelis, a longtime Bon Secours Health System employee, died of brain cancer at her Catonsville home Dec. 23. She was 46.

Born in Philadelphia, Ms. McNelis briefly lived in Massachusetts before moving to Winter Haven, Fla., with her family in the mid-1960s. She attended Catholic schools from kindergarten to 12th grade and was a 1979 graduate of Santa Fe High School in Lakeland, Fla. Afterward, she attended the University of South Florida in Tampa for a little more than a year.

In 1981, she eloped with her first husband by escaping out of the window of her parents' home with her father chasing the young couple - a story that family members still share as an example of the "sense of adventure she had all her life," her second husband, Keith Weiner of Catonsville, said.

She spent the next three years living in Germany and traveling around Europe with her first husband, an Army officer. The couple separated in 1984 and she moved to Maryland in 1985.

She spent her first few years back in the United States working various clerical and administrative jobs for government contractors. In 1986 she met Mr. Weiner and they were married four years later.

In 1989, she began working for the Sisters of Bon Secours as an executive secretary for the geriatric services department. She worked for the health system until her health began failing in 2006.

During her 17 years with Bon Secours, she also worked for the internal audit department and most recently in the finance department, serving as the administrative assistant to the system's chief financial officer. While in the finance department, she was instrumental in organizing Bon Secours' annual Dedicated Service Award event and its systemwide Leadership Conference.

She also organized numerous charitable giving events for the health system, including a quarterly clothing and toiletries drive for the Women's Resource Center of Bon Secours and an annual Easter basket drive for the needy.

She cared deeply about the humane treatment of animals. Once she got into trouble with a state trooper for making an illegal emergency turn on Interstate 70 so she could rescue an injured bird on the roadway, her husband said.

"She couldn't stand thinking of animals being hurt," Mr. Weiner said. "She couldn't even watch movies like Bambi - nothing where an animal was harmed, even if there was a happy ending. She was funny like that."

She was also passionate about the environment, insisting on double-sided copying at work to save paper and collecting used newspapers from her office, where they would be thrown out, and bringing them home so they could be recycled.

In her spare time, she enjoyed interior decorating, gardening and dining out. She was known among family and friends for her exuberant joke-telling style and a sense of humor she maintained even as she battled cancer over the past 18 months, her husband said.

Services will be held at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at Bon Secours Spiritual Center Chapel in Marriottsville.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by a sister, Marianne Moye of Winter Park.

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