Patricia Joan Compton, born March 9, 1982 in San Francisco, died
suddenly at her home in Winters, California, of heart failure on
April 6, 2013. She was 31 years old. Patty spent her early years in
Piedmont, California, then moved with her family to Chicago Park, a
community near Grass Valley and Nevada City, California. She often
spoke with her friends about how much she loved growing up in a rural
area full of orchards and fruit trees – an experience that influenced what
she later chose to be her life’s work.
Patty is survived by her mother, Linda Anthenien Compton of
Chicago Park; her father, Charles Adams Compton of Grass Valley,
and her three siblings whom she remained close to all of her life: Steve
Compton (Liza) of San Francisco, Tracy Compton O’Banion (Matt) of
Corvallis, Oregon, and Molly Compton of Grass Valley. She is survived
by numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins in Orinda, Berkeley, Lake Tahoe,
and Switzerland, and by her paternal grandmother Patricia Adams
Compton of Pasadena, California. Her maternal grandparents Oscar and
Joan (Underwood) Anthenien of Orinda, and her paternal grandfather
Richard Brown Compton of Pasadena predeceased her.
Patty attended Nevada Union High School in Grass Valley, then
spent six years in the engineering department at Stanford University,
earning a bachelor’s degree in product design in 2003, and a master’s
degree in mechanical engineering in 2005. During her graduate years,
she was a popular teaching assistant in the Product Realization Lab with
responsibility for the machine shop and metal foundry. She was recruited
by Apple to work at its Cupertino facility on the iPhone during the time
that the company was secretly developing this revolutionary product.
After her years in Silicon Valley, she returned to school for a master’s
degree in horticulture (pomology) at UC Davis, then worked for the US
Department of Agriculture at its UC Davis site in the field she loved
most: plant hybridization and horticulture.
Patty was a gifted artist in several media: oil, acrylic, textiles,
and metal. Her silver jewelry pieces were featured in a number of art
exhibits. She was an accomplished athlete who participated in crosscountry
running and soccer during high school, and achieved national
championship status as a member of the Stanford Cycling Team in
mountain bicycle events during graduate school. She participated in
education abroad programs in Avila and Barcelona, Spain and was fluent
in Spanish and Catalan. Patty was an avid reader and a high energy
Sierra Mountain back packer. She loved canning fruit preserves, cooking
Chilean food, and attending to numerous sewing projects. Shortly before
her death, Patty had completed a complicated puzzle quilt designed for a
soon-to-be-born niece. She was often seen driving about in her pick-up
truck with her beloved 14-year-old dog, Shelby. Those who knew Patty
admired her resilience and generous spirit, and will remember her quick
grin and elegant presence.
The family plans to hold a private memorial service during the
summer. Patty will be much missed by her family and by her many dear
and good friends.
Patricia Joan Compton