By John Desmond Finny
1936 – 2014
Patsy Bubela was a really memorable person. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about her was that she was so complete; in the truest sense, she was a Lady for all Seasons. Her talents were so many that it is difficult to mention them all in a few lines. She had a really important ability in the fields of conceptual architecture and design, the more than 60 houses she built and remodeled in San Miguel de Allende as the two books she published on Colonial Architecture with her friend Bob Schalkwijk are a testimony to her talent. Her knowledge of the plastic arts was wide and her taste impeccable, which showed in her professional flair for decoration. She was extremely creative and imaginative; every detail absorbed her attention. Those of us who have the pleasure and privilege of living in one of her houses benefit from this every day. But she was also very practical. Everything worked: she always seemed to have a solution. Typically, a short while ago it took her only a few minutes to design for us a bookcase, which provided just the right combination of space and capacity.
She applied these talents to all her many creative activities, whether as a curator or directing local artisans. Indeed, during many years she has made a notable contribution to national and international cultural life. I know of no person anywhere who has done more for so many people at all levels. She was kind, thoughtful and a wonderful friend, always considering what would be the best solution for someone else’s personal problems. She helped everyone she could, taking much trouble and sparing no effort. She was a founding member of the Dispensario de Fatima, a free clinic in San Miguel de Allende, which treated many ill people and for which she worked relentlessly as its director together with Paolo Moretto, to support it for many years. Despite feeling extremely unwell, she continued in this way until the very end, worrying selflessly about others’ needs. Yet with all these talents and personal qualities, she was also great fun and socially a veritable ball of fire. She had a quick wit and wonderful sense of humour, reflected in a rich fund of anecdotes from her eventful life. We would go to breakfast or receive her for lunch, always waiting for some new gem to emerge. She was, quite simply, the most wonderful company.
So, Patsy was a star who passed all too soon across our firmament. What on earth shall we do without her? The answer is that we shall not be without her. She lives on in every house and room she designed, in her books, in the families of every person she helped, in every page of the memoirs which will now come out and, of course, in all our hearts. Her presence and infectious laughter can still be heard. She will remain a small, vivid, beautiful person, an example and education to everyone around her. She is with us now.
Patsy passed away in Mexico City on October 15th surrounded by her loving family, she is survived by her husband Peter Bubela, her children Sioban, Tony, Bruce, Alan, Alejandra and Stephanie, her fifteen grandchildren and her brothers Louis and Alejandro.
Please join us for a Mass in her honor to be held on Saturday, November 1st at 11:00 AM at the Templo de San Francisco (San Francisco’s Church).