Patricia “Pat” Saunders
Although Pat has been a member of the Fallbrook Historical Society for just two years, she has quickly become the “face” of the organization, often the first and last person visitors see when visiting the Heritage Center.
She was formally introduced to the historical society when she attended a barn sale at the end of 2019. Her husband Gene had passed away in 2017 and Pat was looking for an organization or activity to keep her busy and bring her joy. Once she expressed her interest, she was immediately signed up as a member of the Asset Committee and began serving in January 2020.
Just three months later, board member Don McLean, Jr. asked Pat if she would consider serving as the curator for the main museum and gift shop. Ever the organizer and “idea person,” she agreed. Pat began working at the museum on Tuesdays, updating and organizing the pioneer homestead section of the main museum, maintaining a record of donations, tidying up displays and planning new rotating exhibits. She worked Saturdays and Sundays, welcoming guests and maintaining the gift shop. But it didn’t stop there.
Soon her magic touch and energy spilled over into bigger and better historical society events. Her contagious enthusiasm inspired other members and the organization was infused with “Pat Spirit.”
Although the annual Christmas Open House was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19, she redoubled her efforts and last year’s event, “A Whistle Stop Christmas,” proved to be the most successful to date. She organized multiple tree trimmings and decorating efforts throughout the facility. She organized the decorating of the Brougham carriage that is featured each year in the Fallbrook Christmas Parade. She spearheaded a Silent Auction that raised additional funds for the historical society.
“We could not have done it without her,” said Special Events Chair Leo Romero. “No one else has her can-do attitude and vision. She is amazing and we are all so grateful to have her as a member.”
Most recently, Pat assumed the position of Membership Chair. She is eagerly looking forward to planning quarterly fundraisers and reaching out to the local community.
“We have such an amazing and fascinating history here in Fallbrook,” she said. “We need more members and more visitors to share and learn from our rich heritage. There is a lot we can do to spread the word.”
Few know that in addition to the many hours she spends at the historical society, she is an art teacher and author of 33 art instruction books. She has taught at conventions and currently has two private students, whom she has been teaching for five years.
During the holidays, she donated several of her own artistic creations – hand-painted magnets, ornaments and toys – for sale in the museum gift shop. And when the organization’s budget is tight, she opens her own wallet and pays for expenses like postage to ensure members without email receive their bimonthly newsletter.
“This place excites me,” she said. “I go home smiling because I love learning more about Fallbrook, I enjoy the people I work with, and it’s such a great organization.”
Patricia and Jeanne