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publicist Pat Adams

by Jane George | June 7, 2000

Once upon a time there was a girl named Patti who just wouldn’t say couldn’t. She was sure that she could do anything if she wanted to badly enough ... When she grew up she still didn’t believe that there was anything she couldn’t do. And she would tell her three children, “You can do anything you want to, if you want to badly enough. I believe in you.”

So reads a bedtime story that Pat Adams wrote for her grandchildren. Its theme carried throughout Pat’s life. Feminist, activist, writer, artist, actor and communications guru, Pat had countless talents and enthusiasms, but her greatest gift was her unwavering and empowering belief in those whose lives she touched.

Packing a big heart and big opinions in her tiny frame, Pat was opinionated, obstinate, tenacious, stubborn, enthusiastic, opinionated, energetic, witty, creative, artistic, loving, opinionated, a flaming extrovert, fun, funny, energetic, energizing and, yes, opinionated.

Her first job in journalism was at age 14 as a sports reporter. Throughout an exciting and varied career, she wrote for the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Maclean’s and many other publications, and was co-founder of NOW magazine. A hilarious public speaker, her witty reflections appear in her book, Waking Up with the New Woman: A Primer for Life in a Liberated Age.

After overcoming some tough challenges in her youth, Pat met the love of her life, Tony Adams, at a time when she had lost her faith in love. Together they raised Pat’s three gifted, creative children, Michael, Kathy and Shari Hollett, who each pursued career paths that paralleled their mother’s three greatest enthusiasms – journalism, art and theatre.

A keen and supportive mentor, Pat nurtured the careers of countless young people, many of whom attended “Pat’s Party,” held in lieu of a funeral after her death from leukemia on September 17, 1999, at age 62.

Emile Zola wrote: “If you asked me what I came here to do, I will tell you I came to live OUT LOUD.

Pat Adams lived out loud every day of her life. At “Pat’s Party,” we came together to discover a new ending to Pat’s story ...

And then, one day, the girl who wouldn’t say couldn’t got very sick. She tried and tried to get better because she wanted to stay with her husband, children, grandchildren and friends When she learned she would not get better, she made sure that they would all remember what she taught them. I believe in you. I believe in the unlimited possibilities that lie ahead for each of you. I will always believe in you.

Patti left many generations of boys and girls and men and women who wouldn’t say couldn’t. And all of them knew that they could do anything they wanted to, if they wanted to badly enough.

The End.

This feature was first published on’s predecessor site CoolWomen.


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