Our mother was finally called home to be with our Lord on Wednesday, May 6th, 2020, but also to be with her husband and soulmate, Gene. Their story was one of fairytales and romance novels. Patricia Nell (Rodgers) Bissell was born on May 8th, 1934 in Jacksonville, FL. Not yet graduated from Jackson SHS, she met the dashing Navy sailor, Gene Bissell.
Mom fought severe eye disease from a very young age and wore prescription glasses from age six. Feeling unattractive and unlovable, she meets Gene. An orphan from birth, he was adopted by what turned out to be a very troubled mother with whom he barely bonded. Shipped off to military boarding schools at age 12, he too felt scarred. These two would later say they were 1/2 of a human being until they met and were made whole together. So, there she is cowering in the corner of a local skating rink, as she usually would be, petrified by the sight of this man approaching her. He sticks out his hand and drags her onto the rink floor. Their love bloomed from there. But her family didn’t approve of this “older” man and didn’t bless their plans to wed. So on her high school graduation night in 1954, they threw caution to the wind, piled into his car and eloped to Waycross, GA. He was her one and her only from that day forward.
A surrendered Christian, devoted mother to 3 boys and later a mentor to 3 daughters-in-law, grandmother to 6 grandkids and great grandmother to 3. Pat lived a true life of service. Serving first her Lord and savior Jesus Christ as she remained a Christian throughout her life. Then as the consummate “soccer Mom” (football and baseball then) to us 3 boys. Later, she joined dad and started their own life insurance agency in 1971, E. C. Bissell & Associates. She was instrumental in growing that business, ultimately transforming it to a Property/Casualty Independent agency when she studied and received her P&C agents license. Bissell & Associates Insurance remains as a successful business today, almost 50 years later and is an enduring legacy to her and our dad. Everyone who met Pat adored her and was struck by her genuineness and empathy. Her clients at the agency loved her too and many of them remain customers to this day.
Pat is survived by her 3 sons: Michael Eugene (Ruby), David Scott (Page) and Robert Patrick (Lisa); 6 grandchildren; 3 great grandkids plus numerous nieces and nephews. She will be interned at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery alongside her beloved husband. These two are finally reunited and we earthlings couldn’t be happier for her.