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Patricia Lawless Rafferty

January 4, 2021

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Patricia Lawless Rafferty, 82, of Rockbridge Baths, Va., passed away on Monday, January 4, 2020 in Lynchburg from complications of COVID-19, after suffering with dementia for several years.  She was born on March 12, 1938, in Scranton, Pa., the daughter of the late Marion M. and John P. Lawless.

Pat cherished and was loved by her family:  her husband of 58 years, U.S. Army (Retired) Colonel John L. Rafferty, Sr.; her daughter, Dr. Moira Rafferty, and her husband, Dr. Robert Bass, of Lynchburg; her son, U.S. Army Brigadier General John L. Rafferty, Jr. and his wife, Tracey L. Rafferty, of Fort Sill, Okla.; and grandchildren, Eleanor Bass, Daniel Bass, Erin Rafferty, and Evan Rafferty.  She treasured her many friends and her extended family including Betsy and Donald Slover of Lake Henry, Pennsylvania; John and Florence Lawless of Dunmore, Pennsylvania; Erica Weiss Cole of Pleasant Valley, Maryland; Hal and Rose Marie Flanagan of Dallas, Texas; Tom and Barbara Flanagan of Frederick, Maryland; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Pat was a proud graduate of Marywood University in Scranton, receiving her BA in Education in 1960.  She later earned a Master’s degree from the University of Scranton.  When she married John in 1962, she became an Army spouse, supporting him and making homes for her family in Germany (Frankfurt and Heidelberg), Scranton, Rockville, New Orleans, Indianapolis, and Great Falls, Virginia.  She loved children, and for over 30 years, she taught first and third grades, working in a variety of different school systems.  She loved her work and was recognized as a Distinguished Educator by Fairfax County Public Schools.  She was proud to have taught over 600 children to read in the course of her career. After moving to Rockbridge County at retirement, she served as a patient volunteer with Rockbridge Area Hospice for 10 years, traveling all over the county to care for patients and going above and beyond the usual duties to help them and their families.

Music was a lifelong avocation, and Pat had a beautiful, clear soprano voice.  Among her many musical activities, she especially enjoyed her years singing with the choir of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown, which made performing trips to Spain, France and Brazil, and with the Rockbridge Choral Society in Lexington.  She was a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Lexington and served on the Justice and Peace Committee. Pat was an avid reader and loved travel, visiting 30 foreign countries with her husband, John.

A brief graveside service will be held on Sunday, January 10, 2020 at 1p.m. at Oak Grove Cemetery in Lexington.  A full memorial and celebration of Pat’s life will be held this summer.

The family would like to express gratitude to the nursing staff of the Heritage Green Memory Care unit for eight months of skilled and dedicated care, treating our beloved Pat as one of their own family members. Heartfelt thanks also are extended to Dr. Peter Betz, Dr. Burak Gezen, Dr. Colleen Arnold, Dr. Laura Kornegay, Dr. Eli Ceballos; home health aide Beth Terry; Susan and Jerry Bass, and the many friends and relatives who supported Pat and John during her final years; and to Reverend Dennis Roberts and Father Joseph D’Aurora.

Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg, is assisting the family.  To send condolences, please visit

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