Patricia Morris Surman

Patricia Morris Surman passed away on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2024 in Houston, Texas. She was 89 years old. She was surrounded by family and her husband, Robert “Bob” Surman, of almost 68 years.

Pat, as her family and close friends called her, was born on September 3, 1934 in Cincinnati, Ohio to Harriett Stafford Johnston and Marlin Lindley Morris.  She met the love of her life, Bob, when they both were sophomores at Withrow High School. Following high school, Pat attended the University of Cincinnati and became a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority.  Although Bob attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, they continued to see each other often.  Pat took the Humming Bird Train from Cincinnati to Nashville to visit many of their college weekends. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Education in 1956 and accepted a job in Houston as a Kindergarten teacher.  Bob graduated then too with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and accepted a job with Dupont at their La Porte Chemical Plant near Houston. The two married on June 9, 1956 and immediately moved to Houston to live and work. She continued as a teacher until son, Mike, came along and soon after a daughter, Lisa. She taught elementary school when the kids were older until Bob accepted a new job with DuPont in Atlanta, Georgia.  They lived three years in Atlanta followed by another five years in Wilmington, Delaware. Their final work move with DuPont was back to Houston in 1976. They settled in Seabrook. Pat was a devoted wife, mom, church volunteer and amazing cook. She spoiled everyone with her meals, love of baking, compassion and beautiful advice.

Tragedy struck in 1990 when Pat and Bob were in a serious car accident caused by a driver running a red light. Pat fractured her neck and was left partially paralyzed. She lived with this paralysis that affected all four limbs and much more for 34 years. She lived by the motto “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” She exceeded all expectation in what she was able to accomplish. She became a substitute teacher and worked from her wheelchair for years. Her constant faith, love of family, friends and dear neighbors sustained her, as did her devoted husband Bob. She battled with her paralysis and the basics of living day to day, but did so with grace, grit, determination and prayer. Her hands and fingers didn’t work well, but she found a way to accomplish her goals, attend all of the big family events and maintain her radiant glow.

Pat is preceded in death by her parents; sister, Jane Morris Mueller and her husband, Lester Mueller; brother Jack Morris, who died at the heartbreaking age of four; brother-in-law Tom Rachford and niece Lori Rachford Spindler. Pat is survived by her devoted husband, Bob, her son, Mike Surman and his wife Cindy Runte Surman, daughter, Lisa Surman Kelleher and husband, Mike Kelleher. She leaves behind six grandchildren who she adored — Shawna Surman, Matthew Surman and wife, Lauren Surman, Kelsey Surman Hawkins and husband, Graham Hawkins, Clara Kelleher Ostrander and husband, John Ostrander, Michael Kelleher, Caroline Kelleher — plus two great grandchildren, Axel Surman and Gage Ostrander. She also is survived by sister, Betsy Morris Spencer and husband, Dickson Spencer; sister-in-law, Jane Surman Rachford; nephew Tim Rachford and wife, Debbie Rachford; nephew Mike Mueller and wife, Cheryl Mueller; niece Sue Mueller Brunner and husband, Fred Brunner; nephew Scott Mueller and wife, Stephanie Mueller; and nephew Matthew Mueller.

The family would be remiss without mentioning the outpouring of love from next door neighbors, Patti and David Leestma, considered extended family to the Surman clan. We are grateful for their years of love, support, baked goods, hospital visits, happy times and prayer.  Their six adult children have been rays of sunshine for Pat for many years. Pat and Bob have considered themselves the surrogate grandparents of the 21 Leestma grandchildren. Special thanks too to neighbors Wendy and Jay Carpency for the many hospital visits, food deliveries, hugs and laughter. Pat felt blessed surrounded by the continued care and concern of plenty of others on the block who frequently visited too.

A Celebration of Life is scheduled for Sunday, April 7, from 3 – 5 p.m. at Bay Oaks Country Club, 14545 Bay Oaks Boulevard in Houston.  In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis,, 1095 N.W. 14th Terrace, Miami, FL 33136 or Clear Lake United Methodist Church,, 16335 El Camino Real, Houston, TX 77062. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Crowder Funeral Home, Webster, Texas.

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