Patricia Covey

Patricia Ann "Pat" Covey

1950 - 2022

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Obituary of Patricia Ann Covey

Patricia (Pat) Ann Covey, 71, died Sunday, March 6, 2022, in Iowa City, Iowa, after a weeklong battle with acute respiratory distress. Pat’s birth name was Patricia Ann Maroney. A small memorial gathering will be held at a time and place to be determined later. Pat grew up in Memphis, TN, where she was raised in a single-parent family, her mother having become ill and unable to help with her care. Her father often struggled financially but encouraged her education and her pursuit of artistic and intellectual interests. She taught herself to read at a very early age because she was captivated by images of ballet and intent on becoming able to read books about ballet. She attended Central High School and the University of Memphis (then called Memphis State University) and taught for a few years in the Memphis City Schools in the early 1970s. She met Ed Covey in 1980 during his five-year stay in Memphis, and they were married in 1981. After leaving Memphis in 1982, they lived in Tucson (where both attended graduate school), Troy, NY, and Atlanta. The couple and their young son David moved to Iowa City in 1995. She had an MFA degree in poetry from the University of Arizona, and many of her poems appeared in literary journals during the 1990s. After 2000, she almost entirely abandoned her poetry writing but actively kept up with what other poets were producing. During the 1990s she taught part-time in several colleges and universities, and from 1998 to 2004, she worked as an editor at ACT Inc. in Iowa City. Pat was strongly driven by the beauty and power of language, and much of her life revolved around literature and the arts. She was not fond of mechanical, financial, and technical details and typically preferred to let others take care of those. She was an accomplished writer and an avid reader of novels, poetry, and essays. Among the writers she especially admired were Saul Bellow, Sharon Olds, Joan Didion, and Arthur Rimbaud. She also subscribed to many fashion, decorating, and cooking magazines. Although she rarely cooked, she eagerly supported her spouse’s passion for preparing wholesome gourmet dishes. She was a devoted mother and tried to ensure that her son would share her linguistic and artistic interests and skills. A connoisseur of children’s literature, she had a collection of children’s fiction and often quoted passages from such books as Abel’s Island, Wait Till the Moon Is Full, and Madeline. She sometimes read to her spouse from The Wind in the Willows or Winnie the Pooh for comfort. Pat was a zealous feminist and a supporter of various social causes. She advocated acceptance of gender fluidity and nontraditional gender roles and also argued strongly for the preservation and encouragement of many traditional feminine values. Pat was often shy, but she also was very emphatic in expressing her emotions and occasional psychological pains. She valued a sense of humor in herself and others and found humor in many situations. She loved the ocean, which she saw for the first time at the age of thirty-three. Two of her favorite places were Cape Cod and the area around Stinson Beach and Mount Tamalpais in California. She loved animals—not only pets, but also the deer, rabbits, and raccoons that frequented her yard, the catbirds and wrens that serenaded her from the shrubberies, and the finches that raised a family each year in her hanging plant. Pat was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Iowa City and a frequent participant in Paul’s Book Club at Prairie Lights bookstore. Pat is survived by her husband Edward Hume Covey (Iowa City) and their son David Edward Hume Covey (Chicago). She was preceded in death by her sister Linda Maroney and both parents.