When SD Times started in 1999, we began interviewing for a copy editor. One resume immediately stood out from the rest.
It was from a woman named Pat Sarica, who died last month at the age of 66. Though Pat wasn’t working with us then, having gone to work in the publications department at New York’s Stony Brook University, her imprint on the paper (and on our corporate culture) was unmistakable.
Pat was the personification of what we call today “the grammar police.” She was curmudgeonly, disgruntled, often ill-tempered and mostly intolerant of anything in the office that wasn’t working toward getting the paper out the door — basically, everything you’d want in a copy chief and managing editor, a position she attained not long after joining us. But she had a warm, funny side as well, telling us of her life with her beloved mother, her cats and her pride in her nephew, Jimmy. But in our office, perhaps her best line was when she once called copy editors “publishing’s equivalent of postal workers.” Those of us who’ve done time on a copy desk know exactly what she meant.
It’s impossible to sum up a person’s life in just a few words — proud St. Bonaventure University graduate with three favorite words she’d only let you know if you guessed them, avid reader and old movie buff, and above all a caring friend — but as Pat herself would appreciate, there’s only so much space on the page. I’m sure she’d take her skilled knife to this, and make it so much better. (The words were tsunami, maritime and coutourier. Don’t ask me why.)*
Godspeed, Pat. You were a joy to be with, and you’re already deeply missed.
*It was pointed out to me that the original version of this article left off the end parenthesis here. Pat would have caught it.