Self-taught Lauritzen a journalism pioneer
Updated: April 1, 2013 6:37AM
To know Pat Lauritzen was to love and appreciate her in so many ways for so many reasons.
Lauritzen, who died Feb. 6 in Florida at 83, car-pooled her four children and their friends to indoor and outdoor swimming meets and practices for years when her family lived in Hinsdale.
“Mom was a self-educated, well-read woman who managed to raise us with her husband, Henry Lauritzen,” said oldest son Bill Lauritzen, who was Hinsdale Central’s state breaststroke champion in 1969 and now teaches college English in China.
“She taught herself typing in the 1960s so she could have a career after her children were gone. She began as a reporter and managing editor for The Doings, and went on to work at various newspapers in Southern California.
“She was an avid reader and photographer, and studied nature, science, philosophy and astrology. Mom squeezed so much joy out of life, always ready to laugh. She loved animals. At one time she owned four dogs, three cats and a goat.”
Former publisher Peter Teschner promoted Pat from Doings reporter to managing editor in a short time.
“She earned it by merit,” Teschner said from his home in Florida. “I was sorry to lose her.”
The perky Pat with a pixie haircut was my first Doings boss 43 years ago. She put the fun in journalism.
“If you need anything, call her,” Teschner said at the time. “She has a ton of friends. She can tell you who they are and how to get a hold of them.”
I took that advice to heart in building my own contacts.
Pat Lauritzen leaves behind another son, Peter (Hinsdale Central Class of 1973); daughters Jonni (’68) and Tracey (’74), four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
“They’re going to miss her,” legendary Hinsdale Central swimming coach Don Watson said from Austin, Texas. “She was very instrumental in helping build our program, taking kids back and forth at all hours from wherever we were. She was her own person, a true flower child.”
LITTLE BIG MAN
There was a feel-good moment at the state wrestling meet in Champaign two weeks ago when 106-pound freshman champion Rudy Yates of Brother Rice approached 6-foot-2, 285-pound undefeated Red Devils’ heavyweight Brian Allen and said, “Man, how tall are you?”
The two then circled the arena arm-and-arm, waving to cheering fans and vowing to be buddies forever.