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Pat Reppert, founder of Hudson Valley Garlic Festival, passes at 81

(Photo by Beth Blis)

Patricia Kinser Reppert died Friday, Dec. 29. She was 81.

A twelve-times great-granddaughter of Chief Powhatan through Pocahontas and distant cousin of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Pat was known to thousands simply as “The Goddess of Garlic.”

The daughter of Gladys Whitten and Prentice Kinser, Jr. was born in 1936 in rural southern Virginia. Her mother was a nurse and her father an orthopedist. Pat and her brother, Prentice Kinser, III, spent time with their grandparents in the outskirts of Charlottesville, VA during WWII and afterwards grew up in Danville, VA.

Pat attended nursing school at Duke, with her first nursing job in New York City. In 1963, she married Dr. Edmund “Rep” Reppert in New York and they later settled into “Shale Hill Farm” in Saugerties, where she divided her time between helping with Rep’s cardiology practice, raising horses, racing pigs and gardening. She was an avid gardener, lecturer and author with a generous spirit and a knack for inspiring others.

In May 1987, Pat opened her antique/ gift/ herbal shop at Shale Hill Farm, which became a gathering place for all types of folks. Her first book, “In the Kitchen” was a collection of her family and friends’ favorite recipes. Her next cookbook, “Mad for Garlic,” featured her favorite garlic recipes and her wonderful sense of humor. Pat was always eager to share her knowledge on any subject, and in 1989 she hosted a little garlic dinner party at Shale Hill Farm to educate people and promote New York-grown garlic. In three years, this “garlic thing” had completely outgrown the farm and it was turned over to the Saugerties Kiwanis Club. Today the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival is a two-day event that draws as many as 45,000 attendees. Pat’s segment on the Martha Stewart Show in 1996 to promote the Garlic Festival is still aired today and available on YouTube.

If you were fortunate to hear Pat speak at a lecture, you felt she was having a one-on-one conversation with you. Her southern graciousness and zest for life was always present, and her infectious laugh charmed all within hearing distance. Many times she was laughing at her own bloopers. One former mayor of Saugerties called her the “eighth wonder of the world.”

Pat is survived and missed by many loving family members and friends. She will be buried in the family plot in Danville, VA in the summer. A memorial celebration will also be held at Shale Hill Farm in late September, fittingly on the weekend of the 2018 Garlic Festival. The family requests no flowers. Donations may be made to: Bon Secours Hospice in Richmond, VA, where nurses provided wonderful end-of-life care for her (www.bsvaf.org/supporthospice) or to the Hudson Valley Kiwanis Club, which runs the Garlic Festival that Pat started (http://hvgf.org/.)

Expressions of condolence may be shared with the family at http://www.seamonwilseyfuneralhome.com/.

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- Geddy Sveikauskas, Publisher

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