Community leader Patricia (Pat) Jaffer passed away on September 16, 2023, at the age of 94.
After meeting and marrying her husband, Mo, in North Dakota, Pat and her family moved to Monmouth so that Mo could take a teaching position at Oregon College of Education (now known as Western Oregon University.
Pat was born in Iowa in 1929 right at the beginning of the Great Depression. The daughter of first-generation farmers, Pat grew up instilled with a great passion for justice and service.
Despite being in a new place, both Pat and Mo were heavily involved in the Monmouth-Independence community. Pat served as director of the Ella Curran Food Bank in Independence for over 25 years, and as a board member, coordinator, and treasurer of the non-profit Neighbor’s Helping Neighbors, providing low-income housing in Independence for nearly 30 years. Moreover, she served as a Monmouth city councilor and a member of the Polk County Planning Commission.
“Pat was an amazing leader and humanitarian in our community. ” shared Ella Curran Food Bank Director Patty Nevue.
Pat was a two-time recipient of the Monmouth-Independence First Citizen award for her efforts both in community building and on behalf of others.
“We were blessed to have a person that cared so much about others in our community,” said Mayor John McArdle. “She inspired so many. We will miss her.”
A woman of faith, Pat helped shepherd the local Methodist church through many iterations serving on multiple church boards and committees, pushing for action on social issues ranging from food insecurity and the lack of support for underprivileged children in the local area to the plight of refugees worldwide.
“She really believed in what she did and made it happen,” said her son Danny Jaffer. “She didn’t take no for an answer.”
When asked what he wanted his mother’s legacy to be Danny shared, “She lived the truth she believed in.”
Donations in tribute to Pat may be made to the Ella Curran Food Bank (food donations to: 854 N. Main St., Independence, 97351; cash to: PO Box 547, Independence), the Central Lions Club of Monmouth-Independence (P.O. Box 101, Independence), or to the Mo & Pat Jaffer Scholarship Fund, WOU Foundation (345 Monmouth Ave. N, Monmouth, OR 97361).