Patricia Friedland, a quiet philanthropist who owned Pat’s Coffee and Tea in downtown Cannon Beach for about two decades, died May 30 at an adult family home in Seattle after fighting cancer for two and a half years. Her niece, Betsy Friedland, was with the 81-year-old when she passed.
A Tolovana resident since the mid-1970s, Patricia Friedland bought the coffee shop — a hexagonal hut that once stood in a courtyard on North Hemlock Street — soon after moving to the area.
The business, which also sold tea sets and baskets, was a popular venue for residents to discuss important local issues — “and, of course, gossip,” said Hank Johnson, owner of the Wave Crest Inn.
“It became, for a little slice of Cannon Beach, a great hangout,” former Cannon Beach City Planner Rainmar Bartl said. He added that many of Friedland’s friends came to know her, and each other, by becoming regulars.
“She really did kind of provide a living room for the community,” said Beth Holland, who sold flowers near Friedland’s shop for about 15 years. “Having a central location, and having people coming and going, kept everyone connected.”
Friedland often employed young women parttime to look after the shop, teaching them customer service skills and giving them business experience.
“She was a wonderful mentor for all the girls who worked there,” said Betsy Ayres, a Cannon Beach resident whose daughter worked at the coffee shop.
Friedland’s niece was also one of those (very parttime) employees. “To have that responsibility as a 10-year-old — that was big,” Betsy Friedland said.
“We always called it ‘Miss Pat’s Finishing School for Girls and Young Women,’” said Barbara Grant, Bartl’s wife.
Friedland sold the coffee shop in 1998, but the old guard continues to hold klatches at the Lumberyard Rotisserie and Grill.
The group gathered soon after Friedland’s passing. Most drank straight black coffee in honor of Friedland, who, as a stubborn half-Swede, refused to cater to the persnickety cream-and-sugar needs of the growing Starbucks fan base, according to Betsy Friedland.
Born and raised in Portland, Patricia Friedland graduated from Oregon State College (now Oregon State University) with a degree in recreation in 1956.
After working for the U.S. Army Special Services from 1958 to 1960 in Wurzburg, Germany — where she planned athletic programs for service members — Friedland took care of the mentally ill population at facilities in Oregon and Colorado, according to Emily Nelson, Friedland’s sorority sister and friend of more than 60 years.
From there, Friedland taught leisure studies at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash., for several years.
“Pat felt very strongly about college education,” said Celine McEwan, president of the Seaside High School Scholarship committee.
Through the Patricia Friedland Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, Friedland contributed to the Seaside High School Scholarship Fund. She even helped select scholarship recipients.
“She was looking for mental toughness, someone who could take adversity, ’cause life’s not a bed of roses,” McEwan said. “College is not like high school, and she was looking for kids that would make the transition and had goals.”
Friedland was a longtime supporter of the local arts scene, including the North Oregon Coast Symphony and the Cannon Beach Arts Association, said her friends Rex and Diane Amos.
In addition to donating her time and money to local charities, Friedland gave to several area nonprofits, such as the Cannon Beach Library, Camp Kiwanilong, the North Coast Land Conservancy, the KMUN Tillicum Foundation and The Harbor (the domestic and sexual violence resource center for Clatsop County).
Though she had a curmudgeonly streak, Friedland’s friends remember her as generous of spirit. “She was funny. She was very sharp, well read. She didn’t miss anything, even to her dying day,” Betsy Friedland said.
A fan of jigsaw puzzles and international travel, Patricia Friedland had a “sense of serenity about her, this Old World charm — of having a space around her that was peaceful and well put together,” Holland said.
“Pat lived courageously and died courageously,” wrote her friend, the author Ursula Le Guin, who lives parttime in Cannon Beach.
Friedland is survived by her younger brother, Thomas Friedland, and younger sister, Marion Palmateer.
A memorial service is scheduled for July 17 (time to be announced) at the greenhouse owned by Holland and her husband, former Cannon Beach Mayor Mike Morgan, in Haystack Heights. For details, email Betsy Friedland at firstname.lastname@example.org.