Sky Scene 05

Patricia "Pat" Neal Whisnant

July 18, 1934 ~ September 14, 2020 (age 86)


Mrs. Patricia “Pat” Neal Whisnant, educator and optimist, died on Monday, September 14, 2020. She loved God, her family, children, music and art and never missed a chance to learn something new.

Pat was born in Caroleen, North Carolina in 1934. She played piano and saxophone in her high school marching band and was Valedictorian, earning a scholarship to Wake Forest College. She graduated summa cum laude in 1956, majoring in Music and Religious Education. She worked summers at Ridgecrest National Baptist Assembly and began her first job as a minister of music at Gorham Street Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina.

Pat met Richard Dallas Whisnant, from Lexington, N.C., at Wake Forest. They married and moved to Winston-Salem in 1957 and she began work in the music ministry of College Park Baptist Church. After her first child, Richard Byron, was born in 1959, she took a job as Kindergarten Director at Ardmore Baptist Church. Her second child, Cambria Blythe, was born in 1962 in the Ardmore community. Pat realized that she wanted to keep working and that a job in early childhood education could provide more of the flexibility she wanted as a young mom. She was a true pioneer, not just in continuing a career, but also in seeing herself as a full partner in the leadership team at church. Ardmore became central to her adult life. She was one of the first female deacons, was active in Sunday School and sang in the early morning choir.

In 1975 she decided to pursue a masters degree in early childhood education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her masters research was on the father’s role in child rearing--in the mid1970’s she was interviewing men about changing diapers and supporting their wives in household tasks.

She received her Master of Education degree in 1976 and began teaching Early Childhood education at Forsyth Tech, a position she held until her retirement in the early 2000s. Through teaching teachers, she was able to impact thousands of young lives. Again, she was always seeking innovative approaches. She traveled to Italy several times to study the award winning Reggio Emilio early childhood program. In 1994, she personally organized an exhibition of the Italian children’s artwork, the “100 Languages of Children,” in Winston-Salem.

After retirement she enjoyed traveling throughout the world as well as visiting California to hang out with her grandson, Davis. She prided herself on being a “cool” grandma--playing video games, attending jazz concerts and even going on a whitewater rafting trip in her seventies.

She had many professional accomplishments, but what made Pat so special was that her personal ambition was always balanced with a genuine love for others. For decades this love came through in her work with children and then for many years in caregiving for her husband, who was partially paralyzed by a stroke in 1991. After he died in 2000, she devoted herself to work with Crisis Hotline and Shepard Center and more recently to taking care of neighbors or anyone she came across who needed a helping hand or word of encouragement.

Pat was preceded in death by her husband, Richard Dallas. Surviving are her loving children, Richard Byron Whisnant of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Cammie Dunaway of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as well as her grandson Davis Dunaway. 

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to either Trellis Supportive Care, 101 Hospice Lane, Winston-Salem, NC 27103, or the Ardmore Baptist Church Preschool/Playground Fund, 501 Miller Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27103. The staff at Hospice made Pat’s last days special for her and her family. Pat was an early and passionate advocate of unstructured play for children and would love to help make a special playground happen for the children of the Ardmore community.

A virtual celebration of life will be available on October 3rd, 2020 through YouTube. Please contact Ardmore Baptist church or her children Richard or Cammie if you would like a link to the service.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Patricia "Pat" Neal Whisnant, please visit our floral store.


You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family, or by planting a memorial tree in the memory of Patricia "Pat" Neal Whisnant


Trellis Supportive Care
101 Hospice Ln, Winston-Salem NC 27103
Tel: 1-336-768-3972

Ardmore Baptist Church
501 Miller St., Winston-Salem NC 27103

Preschool/Playground Fund

© 2020 Hayworth-Miller Funeral Homes. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use