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Pat Fiddes

Art teacher, opera aficionado, matriarch

Patricia “Pat” Fiddes, a longtime Claremont resident, died on July 4, 2013 in Newberry Springs, California. She was 82.

Ms. Fiddes was born on August 28, 1930 in Venice, California to Diceia and Raymond Perine, the eldest of 2 daughters. She was raised in Pasadena and attended South Pasadena High School, where she was known as a talented opera singer. While there, she met her future husband, William “Bill” Fiddes, a veteran who was finishing his senior year after having left school early to serve in the military during World War II.

After graduating in 1948, she attended South Pasadena College. She married Mr. Fiddes in 1949 and the couple welcomed their first child, a son named Scott, in 1950. In 1953, they had a second child, a daughter named Kathy. That same year, the family moved to Claremont, where they resided for over 50 years.

While Mr. Fiddes worked as a plumber, Ms. Fiddes was a homemaker for many years. In 1970, she became a ceramics teacher for Claremont High School. She also taught evening classes with the Claremont Adult School.

“She made me the artist I am today,” one of her former students, Suzanne Francis, said. “She was an amazing teacher, and wasn’t afraid to tell you that you were doing it wrong or it didn’t look good.”

Ms. Fiddes painted many different styles over her life and enjoyed being able to share her painting skills with her students. She also lent her artistry to family holidays, her granddaughter Sara recalled, providing festive decorations, huge Christmas trees and home-cooked meals topped off with delicious homemade pies. 

Ms. Fiddes was very active with various interests and hobbies. She was a well-known tennis player among her friends. She loved opera and, in her free time, you could often find her enjoying a good theater production with one of her many friends. She also loved to travel and had the privilege of going to some amazing destinations with her lifelong friend Jeanine, including France, Mexico, Hawaii and Japan.  

Ms. Fiddes retired from teaching in June of 2001, shortly after losing her husband Bill. In 2004, she moved with her daughter to Newberry Springs, California where she lived out her remaining years.  

Friends, family and former students remember Ms. Fiddes as being full of life. She was known for her strong personality, her can-do attitude and her tell-it-how-it-is philosophy. She touched many people and will be greatly missed, family shared.

Ms. Fiddes is survived by her children, Scott Fiddes and Kathy Russell; by her grandchildren, Wendy Hull, Jason Reinhardt and Sara Diaz; and by 7 great-grandchildren.

A service for Ms. Fiddes will be held on Friday, September 6 at 2:15 p.m. at Riverside National Cemetery, 22495 Van Buren Blvd. in Riverside. A memorial luncheon will take place following the service at 3:15 p.m. at the Mission Inn, located at 3649 Mission Inn Ave. in Riverside.

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