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Chico State

Fond Farewell: Retired Associated Students Bookstore Staff Member Patricia Johnson

Stars shine above Trinity Hall.
Jason Halley / University Photographer

Patricia Johnson, who served the Associated Students for 23 years, passed away January 27. She was 65.

Born March 9, 1956, in San Francisco, she graduated from Chico State in 1978 with a degree in business administration. She worked for King Chevrolet for a few years and in 1989, she was hired to work at the Associated Students Bookstore. Over the next two-plus decades, she would be awarded Employee of the Year numerous times.

“Hands down, Trish was one of the top employees that worked at the AS Bookstore, now the Wildcat Store. She could answer any question—and we got some good ones,” said Nancy Mantle, former associate director of retail services. “Yet one of the areas where she excelled the most was supervising the student cashiers. She was great at training, providing clear expectations, then mentoring them to become the best they could be. She had a great connection with our students, and they loved her.”

Portrait photo of Patricia Johnson

Mantle said she is confident that students who worked for Johnson remember the experience they had and know it’s part of the reason they are successful today. Bob Paolone, retired associate director of the book division, shared a similar sentiment, noting that Johnson’s impact was widespread on not just students, but faculty, staff, and other customers, too.

“Trish was an inspirational employee to work with, she was a team player. She always had a positive approach not only to the task at hand but also providing excellent customer service to students, faculty, and the staff at the AS Bookstore,” he said.

After leaving Chico State in 2012, Johnson put her exceptional customer service and team leadership skills to work in jobs with Enloe Medical Center, the Terraces Senior Living Center, and Therapeutic Solutions Behavioral Health Services.

She also enjoyed baking, gardening, collecting recipes, and Hallmark cards for every occasion. As the result of moving many times in her childhood, her family expressed that she had an unparalleled ability to fit a large amount of personal cargo in a car trunk or moving van, which earned her the nickname “Packin’ Patty.” The name also held true in her role as a dedicated mother, shuttling her children to sports competitions in their youth and helping them move as adults. Her family and friends remained dear to her throughout her life, and she had a reputation as an unconditional cheerleader.

Johnson is survived by her son, Chris, daughter Andrea, father Robert, and siblings Bob, Karen, Paul, and Mike.

A celebration of life will be held Saturday, March 19, at the Chico Masonic Family Center at 1110 W. East Avenue from 1–3 p.m. The University flag will be lowered Monday, March 14, in her memory.