Patricia Anne Trainor, 79, of Cripple Creek in Clarksville, Del., passed away on Jan. 1, 2021, at Beebe Healthcare hospital in Lewes, Del. She was born in Baltimore, Md., on Dec. 5, 1941, two days before the Pearl Harbor attack.
She was the daughter of the late Patrick F. Trainor and the late Viola J. Myers. Her parents divorced in 1947, and she and her sister spent the summer at Camp Maria in Leonardtown, Md. The next year, they went to Saint Joseph’s Academy in McSherrystown, Pa. When their father married Honora “Nora” Sullivan in 1949, they returned to Saint Mary’s School in Govans. Sullivan was the youngest of eight (as was Patrick, both from Irish families) and was a devoted, caring stepmom to her readymade family, until her death in 1959.
Trainor graduated in 1959 from the Institute of Notre Dame, the former all-girls Catholic high school in Baltimore. In 1962, she graduated from Saint Agnes Hospital School of Nursing, where she worked as an O.R. nurse until 1968. Trainor joined the Navy, was commissioned lieutenant (junior grade), did her basic training at Newport, R.I., and was assigned to Oakland Naval Hospital in California.
In 1969, she volunteered to serve in Vietnam on the U.S.S. Repose and then the U.S.S. Sanctuary in Da Nang harbor. On those tours, she visited Hong Kong and Bangkok, and the ship went regularly to Subic Bay in the Philippines to be serviced. She made lieutenant in September of 1970 and was discharged in November.
Trainor was one of eight students accepted to the nurse anesthetist program at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, which she completed in 1973. She began her CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) work at Arlington Hospital in Virginia. It was among the first nurse-practitioner specialties in the United States.
In 1977, she earned a bachelor’s degree in anesthesia from George Washington University. In her long career administering anesthesia, she never lost a patient. She gave anesthesia to Joe Theismann, the then-Washington Redskins quarterback after he was “blindsided” and suffered a nasty compound fracture. They brought a TV into the operating room so he could watch the rest of the game, and Theismann told her, “Just put me to sleep.” That was depicted in the movie “The Blind Side.” She retired in 2005 from Virginia Hospital Center, formerly Arlington Hospital.
While hospitalized recently, Trainor heard from her shipmate “roommate,” Abby. They had continued their long friendship, visiting on Marco Island and the Outer Banks. They attended the poignant and unforgettable dedication of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial in Washington, D.C. Trainor also heard from Gail, her 24-hour-call partner on weekends at Arlington Hospital. They worked many years together and golfed together as members of Woodholme Country Club. They traveled to many conventions, playing golf wherever they could.
Trainor was a member of Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club’s ladies golf group and a true Tiger Woods fan “through thick and thin.” She was thrilled when Woods won last year’s Masters. She recently celebrated her 79th birthday where the JUGs (Just Us Girls) delivered cookies and FUN cards.
Trainor is survived by her best friend and sister, Mary Alice Fenneman, known as “M.A.” or “Katie” to family, and a devoted nephew, Robert “Bob” Vollmer. Trainor was Bob’s second mom, who gave him his first dog, first bike, first cowboy boots and took him to Bermuda when he was 19. She and her sister traveled extensively over the years: a grand tour of 11 European countries in their 20s; to Nova Scotia and PEI; to British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest; and California and Florida many times. Finally, they made their dream trip to Ireland, including Northern Ireland, where the Trainor clan had its roots in County Armagh.
Trainor’s friends will remember her sweet smile and wicked wit, and her love of golf and Tiger. She especially loved her Lhasa apso dogs, Chloe and Sophie.
Trainor died after a long fight with heart, lung and kidney disease, requiring home dialysis the last four years. Her family and friends can rejoice in knowing she left this life in God’s mercy he spared her from COVID, and she died peacefully. “Let us all accept God’s blessing of Patricia Anne Trainor and remember ‘all the best times,’” the family shared. “God bless us all as we begin 2021, in peace and love.”
At a later date, there will be a celebration of her life with a Mass at Saint Ann’s Catholic Church in Bethany Beach, Del., and burial will be at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Millsboro, Del.