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PRESIDENT'S LETTER

 

More than a decade ago, SAH/SCC conducted a series of programs we called “Modern Patrons". The idea came from our newsletter editor, Julie D. Taylor, and featured a series of small salons with original homeowners who engaged the modern masters to build them a house. These programs were always fascinating. Over the years, it became harder and harder to do “Modern Patrons” programs, as we began to lose more and more original owners.

It is with great sadness, therefore, that I report the passing of one of those patrons Patricia Leddy (1929-2022).

Pat commissioned the Leddy Residence (Richard J. Neutra, 1958) in Bakersfield. From a pioneer Kern County family, Pat rejected Victorian architecture and small-town living. After graduating Bakersfield High School, she studied dance with Martha Graham and furthered her studies at Connecticut College. With further degrees in creative studies from UC Santa Barbara and in filmmaking from Brooks Institute, Pat flexed her creativity as a dancer, artist, writer, and publisher. Later in life, she proudly returned to school at Mills College, where she earned her MFA in creative writing.

Pat returned to her native Bakersfield, taught dance at the high school and college levels, and started the Santa Barbara Review with her partner James Aeby.

Pat generously hosted SAH/SCC and SAH International at her home in Bakersfield. Always the star of the show, she regaled visitors with stories of Neutra and Graham. Pat and her husband were among Neutra’s>most unusual patrons in that they elected to build their Neutra-designed home themselves. The architect must have approved, because he was a frequent visitor and they struck up a decades-long friendship. That relationship was recently celebrated in a New Yorker magazine article.

Patricia Leddy is an example of the remarkable people one can encounter through SAH/SCC—people you would never have the opportunity to meet otherwise. I have always said that I came to the organization for the architecture, and stayed for the people. And we sincerely thank SAH/SCC board member David Coffey for introducing us to this remarkable woman.

Pat>’s is a life worth celebrating and a powerful reminder of living life to the fullest. It is also a reminder of the power of good architecture to stimulate and engage people—and create a richer life. She was a modern patron in the fullest sense of the idea. She was a star until the very end.

 
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