Dunkirk and Fredonia has lost a lodestar. Pat Christina was a leader, a mentor, a role model,
and an inspiration. Everything she did, she did with finesse, compassion, style, and boundless
energy. She gave everything she had to her family, her students and to her community. Pat
died at home on Thursday, July 14, 2022, one day shy of her 86th birthday, after a lengthy
illness that stole the energy that defined her life.
Patricia Lynch Christina grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania. She was born on July 15, 1936 to
Florence and Joseph Lynch. She was one of five children in the Lynch family. It was as a young
woman in Erie that she developed a keen sense of civic duty and commitment to others. Pat
missed her high school commencement ceremony because she was chosen to speak at the
American Red Cross conference in San Fransisco in 1954. She was a gifted public speaker
and her dedication as a volunteer, assembling and sending aid packages to people suffering
from disasters earned her this honor.
After graduating from East High School in 1954, she worked full time and attended Villa Maria
College, earning a teaching degree. She completed her graduate degree at Fredonia State
College while at the same time substitute teaching, raising three young children, and overseeing
the building of the family’s home in Castile Heights.
While she was still “Miss Lynch”, she taught at Dunkirk High School where by all accounts she
had high standards but was beloved by her students. It was while teaching in Dunkirk that she
met high school band director Andrew Christina. Pat and Andy were married in St. Ann’s Roman
Catholic church in Erie on December, 26, 1964. They celebrated their 50th anniversary with
their three children and other family members in Erie in December, 2014.
Pat taught at several schools throughout Chautauqua County; Brocton, Fredonia, Silver Creek
and Cassdaga, but she finished her career, coming full circle and retiring from Dunkirk in 1999.
She was extremely proud to be a Dunkirk teacher and would promote the school and its
students at every opportunity. She taught with passion and conviction. She was thrilled when
they asked her to be the Master of Ceremonies for high school graduation several years in a
Pat lived a life of service, enriching this community through her many acts of volunteering. She
was a member of the League of Women Voters, a board member of COI, she was an active
member of the Dunkirk Teachers Association, and was an elected member of the board of the
Town of Pomfret for 21 years. She was also a past member of the AAUW, St. Anthony’s
Bishop’s Committee and the Dunkirk American Legion Auxiliary. She was the recipient of the
Fredonia Chamber of Commerce Spirit of Fredonia Award in 2004 and she was honored for her
service by the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce in 2011. Pat was instrumental in
helping to write the grant that created the Chautauqua County Teachers’ Center. She worked
tirelessly to help create the Fredonia-Pomfret Office of the Aging Senior Center. She was also
part of the group of civic leaders and grape farmers that established the Concord Grape Belt
Heritage Association. She was active in the Newman Center, teaching religious education,
helping to create Education Sundays, travelling with fellow parishioners to volunteer at Friends
of the Night People in Buffalo. After she retired, she was active in the Chautauqua County
Retired Teachers Association, serving a term as president, organizing guest speakers for
Pat had an innate sense of ethics, integrity and generosity. She was a fierce defender of the
underdog and imparted those values to her family, her students, and anyone who knew her.
She was always game for an adventure or a road trip. She cherished her family and made a
beautiful home. She was a fantastic cook, hosting hundreds of dinner parties and holiday
gatherings for family and friends. She took pleasure in spending time by the water, and had a
special fondness for Presque Isle. She had strong opinions, a sharp wit, was a voracious
reader, and was able to discuss, with facts and reason, politics, religion, culture, literature,
theater, you name it. Rousing discussions were frequently held around the Christina family
dinner table. She loved anything and everything related to the Irish, frequently recalling her
father asking “What would you be if you weren’t Irish? You’d be ashamed”, and noting that St.
Patrick’s Day was “the most beautiful night of the year”.
One of her most cherished traditions was traveling twice a year to New York City with her
daughter where they traversed Manhattan from the Lower East Side to the Upper West Side.
Even when it was difficult for her to walk, she would persevere to Elizabeth Arden for a spa
afternoon and dinner and cocktails at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center. And of
course, shopping at Lord & Taylor and Macy’s. She also loved attending the theater and
listening to live music. A special memory was going by herself one year while in NYC to Lincoln
Center to see Alan Alda in the play QED at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. Alda was one of her
most favorite actors. She was able to score a last-minute front row ticket for the sold-out
performance. Pat always figured out a way to have fun and make things happen.
She was proud to have been able to meet many important leaders in the Democratic Party, from
John F. Kennedy during the 1960 presidential race to Bill Clinton in 1992, to Hillary Clinton
during her run for senate in 2000. She visited Senator Chuck Schumer several times at his
office in Manhattan when she was there for the Association of Town Boards annual conferences.
As staunch a Democrat as she was, she was happy to join forces with any elected official when
they were working toward the same goal, making the community work for all. She had the ability
to forge relationships with many people across the political aisle. Pat was the living
embodiment of the spirit of John F. Kennedy’s quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you,
but what you can do for your country.” She leaves a lasting legacy of which her family is
Pat is survived by her husband Andrew, daughter Kara Christina and son-in-law Andrew Ludwig
of Fredonia, son Barrett Christina and partner Jodie Corbeil of Dover, New Hampshire, a sister,
Sr. Rita Lynch of North East, Pennsylvania, and her beloved grandchildren Diana Ludwig, Owen
Ludwig, Tatum Christina and Piper Christina. She is also survived by several very dear nieces,
nephews and cousins.
Pat was sadly predeceased by her son Brian Christina in May, 2022. Also by her brothers
Robert Lynch and his wife Hattie, James Lynch and his wife Madeline, and sister Evelyn
Kiehlmeier and her husband James. Friends are invited to a memorial mass at St. Anthony of
Padua Roman Catholic Church in Fredonia on Saturday, August 6 at noon and a celebration of
life at Manning’s on the Lake (Demetri’s) directly following. If desired, donations may be made to
Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the League of Women
Voters, or the Democratic candidate of your choice.
“There is a destiny that makes us brothers. No one goes his way alone. All that we send into
the lives of others comes back into our own.” Edwin Markham