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Obituary - Mrs Pat Szymanski (Akasta)

It was with great sadness I learned of the death of Pat Szymanski of the Akasta (USA.) affix, Saturday last (Nov. 10th.) at the age of 66, writes Brenda Pearson.

Pat died peacefully at home, in Conroe, Texas, with the people and the dogs that she loved, after losing her battle against ovarian cancer.

My daughter Kathryn and I met Pat in the early 90s through our good friends, Carol and Jim Sjoberg, and our combined interest in the Akita. We spent many hours in Pat’s company, at the Akita Nationals, which we visited regularly, and also at Pat’s home in Conroe where we were often invited to see, admire, maybe pass an opinion or two, on her specialist breed the Japanese Akita Inu, several imported directly from Japan.

Pat first had success with Akitas (American) with the litter mates Frakaris George Washington and Martha Washington, sired by the well known Tobes Return of the Jedi. Martha achieved great success for Akasta and was still a top winner as a veteran. Shibas were also, at some point, added to the kennel but Pat primarily began to focus on the Japanese Akita.

She is, today, acknowledged in the US and in Europe, as a knowledgeable and influential supporter of the breed, in its purest form. She visited Japan on numerous occasions and has maintained close links with the JKC. in order to keep right up to date with breed development.
In March 2004 she came over to the UK. as guest speaker at a seminar entitled An Introduction. This was hosted by the then proposed Jap Akita Club of Gt Britain and she gave valuable input to the breed situation.

To know her as a friend was to accept her forthrightness as she passionately defended her beliefs. Pat was a real character and had a wicked sense of humour. She was able to deliver a perfect punch line in dead-pan style, with perfect timing. Travel with her and the journey never seemed quite as long. Laughter was present in great abundance.

Pat never allowed criticism aimed at herto lower her resolve. Her passionate dedication to this breed survived many setbacks. Her colleagues in JACA (Jap. Akita Club of America) will miss her leadership but are anxious to carry on the fight. The greatest tribute to Pat would be if the AKC, in their wisdom, decided to recognise the JA. as an entirely separate breed, following both FCI and our own English KC.

Pat accepted the patronage of our KC. recognised Jap. Akita Inu Club and we shall miss her valued input and guidance. Pat has left us a challenge as future guardians of this lovely breed.
Our thoughts, at this time, must be with her family who will feel her loss deeply.