Remembering Patricia Bow
by Brandon Sweet in today’s Daily Bulletin
Patricia Bow.Retiree Patricia Bow died on January 7.
Bow joined the University of Waterloo in 1998 as a communications officer, doing writing, editing, proofreading and publications work in Communications and Public Affairs (a predecessor to today’s University Communications unit).
She is remembered by her former CPA colleagues as a kind, gentle person who was always read to tackle a new writing project with quiet gusto.
“She was such a rock for our communications office, such a quietly competent and professional writer who you could count on for any type of writing assignment,” writes Martin Van Nierop, who led the University’s communications team from 1986 to 2010. “But more than that, she was friendly, kind and nice, someone who you couldn’t help but hold in the highest regard as a person.”
Bow was the assistant editor of Waterloo magazine and contributed to the Gazette, the Daily Bulletin, and the University’s website. She had an uncanny ability to make sense of the most complicated research and could write in a way that made it understandable and interesting. She was also the main backup editor of the Daily Bulletin, filling in as needed for editor Chris Redmond, and was the content lead for UW Mobile, a push news app for BlackBerry and iPhone developed by Waterloo student startup Polar.
“Pat is…a true ‘editor’s editor,’ meticulously organized, careful in all things,” wrote colleague Kelley Teahen on the occasion of Pat’s retirement in 2011.
“Pat is one of the best proofreaders I’ve ever worked with,” says Teahen. “Her gifts were widely known and people from other areas of the University would request that Pat go over their material as a kind of gold-standard safety check.”
Indeed, she was the office’s go-to grammar expert and senior wordsmith, the keeper of the CPA Style Guide, and always willing, with a red pen in hand, to review documents and mark them up with gentle, but firm, corrections. She was known to use a magnifying glass during the proofreading process, in order to catch errant double spaces and mix-ups of “en” and “em” dashes.
Chris Redmond remembers her as “a source of the perfect word and the dryest comment.”
Bow’s writing efforts were by no means confined to her day job: she was a published author with more than 20 works to her name, including science fiction and fantasy aimed at young adult and middle-grade audiences.
“I started out trying to write romance fiction,” she was once quoted as saying, “but the body count kept getting too high.”
Bow won a Waterloo Regional Arts Council award in 1997 and a CCAE gold medal in 1999. Her 2004 novel The Bone Flute was nominated for an Ontario Library Association Silver Birch Award.
Pat is survived by her husband Eric, son James and daughter-in-law Erin (both published authors) and two grandchildren. She was 70.
Her memorial is on Saturday, January 14, with a visitation from 10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., and service at 11:00 a.m. at the Church of the Holy Saviour on 35 Allen Road East in Waterloo.