Patricia "Patsy" Johnson Profile Photo
1942 Patsy 2024

Patricia "Patsy" Johnson

April 5, 1942 — March 31, 2024

Cold Spring

Patricia Diane Haas Johnson (“Patsy”)


April 5, 1942 - March 31, 2024


At 7:30 am on Easter Sunday, Patsy Johnson passed away, with loving friends by her side. Born in Lake Forest, Illinois to Patricia Lillian and John Haas, and loving sister to her brother, “Johnny” Haas, 6 years her senior. 


Patsy‘s childhood was spent outdoors exploring the forest and the creek that surrounded her beautiful home. Curiosity and imagination filled her days, and when she wasn’t engaged with nature she would be found lost in a book. Patsy‘s weekends were filled with trips to museums all over Chicago with her darling father, who instilled an unending appreciation for art. 


Her divine respect for nature coupled with her adventurous spirit, soon led her to Aspen, Colorado – a place her brother, Johnny, had visited as a teen. Upon his return, his little sister vowed to live there once she was “grown up.” Taken by the beauty of the majestic mountains and the feeling of the city of Aspen, she found friendships, work, and love and eventually married there. She soon gave birth to her son, Robert John Appleton, who sadly predeceased her on May 17, 2022. 


Robbie was the true love of her life, and their bond was unbreakable. Though her heart was forever broken from the loss of her son, it remained open and full of love and gratitude. Self-aware and committed to carrying on, Patsy made space for everyone. She did not sulk, refused to be needy, and would help anyone in need. 


There was no one quite like Patsy. 


Her compassion for others and a deeply rooted understanding of life's challenges led her academic pursuits. She first attended the University of Minnesota, where she became a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, and later received her B.S. in Alcohol and Drug Counseling & Family and Youth Development. At St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis, she earned her Masters degree in Human Development with an emphasis on Women’s Studies, graduating when she was 54 years old.


Patsy considered a doctorate program but instead continued to focus on providing counsel for families and youth in crisis at various agencies throughout Minneapolis. She balanced her impactful work with play, which she knew was a key ingredient to happiness, dabbling in part-time work in fine retail shops in Aspen and Minneapolis to quench her fashionable sensibilities.  Her helpful, upbeat nature also led her to a catering business partnership with her best friend, Michael Westberg, who remains in Minneapolis today. 


In the summer of 1999, Patsy relocated to San Diego to be near her brother Johnny and his family where she found work with the National Railroad Corporation. Patsy loved to travel but mostly by rail and road. She later joined Amtrak in NY since her loving son was living in New York City. It was Robbie who introduced her to Cold Spring, a walkable village surrounded by natural beauty with easy train access - a perfect fit. 


Patsy seamlessly became a cornerstone of the village of Cold Spring. She was a substitute teacher for Haldane, Garrison, and Manitou schools focusing on students with special needs. She was an enormous advocate for the library as well as a Patron and always had stacks of books and DVDs to return.  


“Patsy”, “Pats”, “Ms. Johnson” was a recognizable smiling face in the village of Cold Spring for over 20 years. She defined grace, warmth, confidence and generosity. She was a good neighbor. She had an excellent, sharp sense of humor and was an incredible conversationalist. Patsy was an authentic force for good, despite the deepest wounds of loss that she experienced in her life. 


Now, she is forever united with Robbie and at peace.


Patsy was predeceased by her older brother, Johnny Haas and is survived by her niece, Hilary Lynn Orozco, and Hilary's children Taylor Nicole Duran and Sam Haas Orozco; her nephew, Mike Haas, and his children Mia Haas and Ben Haas; her best friend, Michael Westberg. 


Patsy’s memorial service will take place at Butterfield Library in Cold Spring on May 8 from 4-7pm. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to this library, a cornerstone of Patsy’s life here. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Patricia "Patsy" Johnson, please visit our flower store.

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