STUART, Fla. — Mary Patricia Pinkerton Wickstrom, 84, peacefully passed away on Good Friday, April 18, 2014. She had moved to Stuart in 2005. Pat was born July 3, 1929, in Des Moines and grew up in Oskaloosa, graduating from Mahaska High School in 1947. She then enrolled at Florida State University where she graduated in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism.
Upon graduation, Pat moved to Daytona Beach where she worked for the Daytona Daily News and then the newly founded NASCAR. She became the first female member of the Daytona Beach Century Club, for driving a car an average of 100 mph for one mile on the beach race course.
Later, Pat worked for the Orlando Sentinel, where she met Karl Wickstrom, who was also a reporter there. The two of them worked together covering the Inaugural Daytona 500 in February 1959. One month later, they were married. During the following years, Pat and Karl became proud parents of four children. They continued reporting, writing and raising their children. The family moved to Ft. Lauderdale in 1960 and settled in Miami in 1963.
In 1967, Pat and Karl founded Wickstrom Publishers, creating magazines Aloft, an in-flight magazine for National Airlines, and Florida Sportsman, a nationally respected outdoors magazine where she was the copy editor from 1969 to 1980. As Executive Editor of Aloft, Pat shared with thousands her passion for travel, books, art and fine cuisine. She visited places such as London, Israel, Mexico and New York, but her favorite place was home near her family.
Later, her desire to help others led to a change in careers, starting with earning her Masters Degree in Social Work, from Barry University at the age of 55. She then worked for the Veterans Administration and the Miami Jewish Home Alzheimer’s Project.
In 1995, Pat retired and moved to Ft. Lauderdale, where she lived next door to her daughter and son, and enjoyed time with her children and grandchildren. She later on became a huge fan of NASCAR racing and seldom missed a race on TV. In 2009, she returned to the Daytona 500 for the first time, with two of her children, for the 50th anniversary of the Great American Race.