Cover photo for Sylvia "Pat" Townsend's Obituary
Sylvia "Pat" Townsend Profile Photo
1938 Pat 2023

Sylvia "Pat" Townsend

May 12, 1938 — July 22, 2023

Sylvia Pat Townsend of Ruidoso, N.M., spiritually ascended into the arms of her and our Lord Jesus Christ on Saturday, July 22, 2023. Pat was born to John and Rosalie Aiello on May 12, 1938 in Gallup, N.M. where Mrs. Aiello's family maintained significant business ties. Later the family relocated to Trinidad, CO., the hometown of Mr. Aiello and where the Aiello family was well established in the Trinidad community. Shortly thereafter, the family relocated to Albuquerque, N.M. where brother Jack and sister Doris joined the family and then to Houston, TX where Mr. Aiello worked in the import business and where the final additions to the family, sister Jean and brother Jimmy joined the family. Due the Mrs. Aiello's health the family relocated to Albuquerque where Pat spent the majority of her young years. It was after relocating back to Albuquerque the family name was changed from Aiello to Harlow, a change Pat did not like, preferring the Aiello family name.

In Albuquerque, Pat attended St. Mary's Catholic School and graduated from Highland High School. Pat attended the University of New Mexico graduating with Bachelor of Arts degree in education and afterward taught elementary education for the Albuquerque Public Schools.

In early 1959, Pat met the love of her life, Henry Townsend, a self-employed drywall contractor from Clovis, N.M. For both it was love at first sight which only grew and strengthened over close to 64 love filled years of marriage. After dating for several months Henry proposed and Pat accepted but only after informing Henry that God and her Catholic faith are first. Henry accepted knowing that by and through Pat's unwavering faith in God her love for him was true and eternal, and that by her example he would come to share Pat's faith and love for God resulting in his own baptism and embracing the Catholic faith.

After being engaged for several months, Henry commuted between Albuquerque and Clovis to be with Pat while maintaining his construction business. Henry and Pat could no longer wait to be together and were married in late November 1959. Pat moved to Clovis where she taught school and in 1960 their first child, a son, was born. In 1961 Henry's construction business took the family to Redwood City, CA where their second child, a daughter, was born. Missing New Mexico and its mountains, Henry brought Pat back to New Mexico after six months in California relocating in Albuquerque where Henry reestablished his construction business with his brother Gayland where three additional children were born; three sons and one daughter.

In Albuquerque, as their business grew and prospered, Pat maintained the family home filled with faith and love for God, endlessly caring for Henry and the children. It was during this time Pat became an avid and accomplished bowler, bowling with two leagues, and evident by a room filled with trophies.

With a change of professions, Henry now the rancher and Pat the rancher's wife, the family moved to Roswell, N.M. in 1973 to be close to Henry's and Gayland's newly acquired cattle ranches. Pat emersed herself into Roswell community life. Within days of settling in Roswell she registered the family at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Parish where for many years she taught parishioners' children the tenets of the Catholic faith. Utilizing her beautiful soprano voice, she sang in the church choir and served as a cantor at weekly Mass. The highlight of Christmas midnight Mass was Pat's solo of "Oh Holy Night," which was one of the only reasons some parishioners attended midnight Mass. Pat not only emersed herself in church life and pro-life charities, but also Roswell community life as an active member of the Roswell Assistance League enthusiastically and tirelessly serving the Roswell community. Not only was Pat a musical artist but a visual artist as well, having won multiple awards for her beautiful paintings which hang in the homes of family and friends throughout the region. Finally, it was during Pat's time in Roswell that her love for tennis fully blossomed becoming an avid tennis player, playing nearly every day with her informal women's tennis league.

As the rancher's wife, Pat fully participated in ranch life. During times of roundups, branding, shipping, and later marking lambs and shearing, Pat would join Henry at the ranch, where she was up before dawn to prepare breakfast, out in the corrals and barns to help with the tasks of the day, and then back to the house to prepare a full midday meal for Henry and crew. During shearing Pat would be among the sheep pulling Cholla cactus from the wool before the sheep were ushered into the shearing barn to be shorn. Being among the tightly packed sheep Pat would question, in the most composed manner she could muster, how can a 110-pound sheep feel like 500 plus pounds when they would inevitably step on her toes?

In 1995 Pat moved with Henry to the heart of Texas and their ranch located near Mercury, TX, equal distance between Brady and Brownwood, TX. There, Pat enthusiastically and without hesitation again emersed herself in church, ranch, and community life, and after nine years in Texas, Pat asked Henry to move back home to New Mexico which she missed. When asked if she wanted to live in Roswell she said no, let's go to Ruidoso where it's cool, and there they stayed living together for nearly 20 years. During her final years in Ruidoso, Pat remained active in her church choir and dedicated countless hours to pro-life charities.

Pat is preceded in death by her father and mother, John and Rosalie Aiello Harlow, brother Jack Harlow, sister Jean McMurrough, and son Eric Kent Townsend, and daughter-in-law Lynn Townsend. Pat is survived by her devoted husband of 63 years, Henry Townsend; sister Doris (Ken) Walker; brother Jim (Terri) Harlow, children Greg Townsend, Susan (Rich) Cada, Hank Townsend, Patrick Townsend, and Sharon Townsend; grandchildren Katie Mahoney, Jacqie (Cody) Craig, Joe Cada, and Jake Townsend; and great-grandchildren Angela, Zoe, and Isabella; as well as numerous nieces, nephews.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday, August 14, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. at St. Eleanor Catholic Church in Ruidoso, N.M. A rosary will be said prior to Mass at 9:30 a.m. The family has requested that remembrances be made in the form of contributions to a pro-life charity organization or pregnancy resource center of your choice.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Sylvia "Pat" Townsend, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Rosary

Monday, August 14, 2023

9:30 - 10:00 am

St. Eleanor's Catholic Church

Ruidoso, NM 88345

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Mass

Monday, August 14, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am

St. Eleanor's Catholic Church

Ruidoso, NM 88345

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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