Pat Catanzariti grew up in Cinnaminson, New Jersey, and went to Douglas College where she majored in Medical Technology. She worked at Cooper University Medical Center for six years until leaving for Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceuticals. After a 28-year career there, she retired in October 2016. Most of those 28 years were spent in the laboratory environment. However, she went back to graduate school, received a Master’s in Clinical Pharmacology, and ended her career in Data Management.
She met the love her life, Carole Ramos, in 1990, and in 2004 they were married in Canada because they couldn’t wait for the United States “to figure it out.” Pat and Carole had a horse farm in the Pinelands of New Jersey for 17 years, selling it in 2011 to live by the water at Slaughter Beach.
Pat loves to play golf, fish, and be on the bay in her kayak. Mostly, she enjoys relaxing with Carole, their three cats—Ricky, Xena, and Gabby—her family, and friends.
When did you start volunteering at CAMP Rehoboth?
At Sundance 2012, with my dear friend Jane Blue, working as a food server.
What events/activities have you been involved with as a volunteer?
Besides serving food at Sundance, I’ve been a volunteer at Broadwalk on the Boardwalk, a Health Advisory Committee member, and now, the Chair of the Volunteer Development Committee.
Of the many events held by CAMP Rehoboth, which is your favorite?
I enjoy Sundance and serving the food! I like to have fun with the people and make them laugh when they are in line filling up their plates.
What is your best volunteer memory?
As I get more involved with CAMP Rehoboth, it is not really a memory so much as I am amazed at the inner workings of the organization. It is truly fascinating to see the vision—“to be the Heart of the Community“—work so fluidly with our group of dedicated volunteers.
Name a childhood mentor or someone who influenced you while growing up.
I have two—my parents! My dad instilled a strong quality work ethic into me. My mom…still alive today at 92…is a real character. She has been a constant in my life, loving me through all my trials and tribulations. When you have a foundation like that, you feel there is nothing you cannot accomplish.
If you could go back to the age of 18, what do you know now that you wish you knew then?
That I was gay! I would still be a party girl and young at heart, but I would be more socially conscious to the issues and fight more for the rights of LGBTQ.
Favorite season here at the beach?
I would have to say summer. Due to the weather, there are more chances to golf, fish, kayak, and have friends and family visit.
Do you have an LGBTQ hero? Who and why?
Many people have fought hard for so many and continue to do so every day. I wish I had the stamina and the guts that many of these people in the forefront have each and every day. I thank them wholeheartedly. With that said, I must mention my niece. She came out about eight years ago to a fairly “cold reception” from her parents. It was a very difficult time for her (and me) to go through. However, she remained strong in her convictions as both an adult and as a lesbian; she held her ground. She loved her parents through the turmoil and eventually they came around. Today she is a beautiful woman in a loving relationship which her parents accept.
The LGBTQ community has made significant progress in the fight for equality. Did you expect to see this in your lifetime?
Yes, I did expect to see it because there are many smart and strong people fighting with us and for us. However, there is more to be done and we must continue to be diligent in who we put into political office…every vote counts.
Given the current political climate, are you concerned about the possible loss of rights for the LGBTQ community?
Most definitely yes! I am hoping that this November shows a strong shift towards more Democrats in the Senate and House.
Best year of your life and why?
I haven’t lived it yet! Every year gets better and better from the last.
Christmas, because it is a time when all of my extended Italian family gets together for the seven fish dinner in my Mom’s basement. I also love all of the houses decorated inside and out…oh, and the parties!
What advice would you give to the younger LGBTQ community?
Keep fighting for what you believe in and never give up because our rights can be taken away in a heartbeat. Don’t take anything for granted.
How long have you been coming to Rehoboth?
I have been coming to Rehoboth since the late 90s when our dear friends Styk and Remy bought their first place here and we would come and visit. Always a great time!
Since you began coming to Rehoboth, name the biggest change(s) you’ve seen.
I know that most folks say the traffic, hence why we live out in Slaughter Beach. But I think my biggest concern is with all the new developments and people moving here. I just hope that our Baltimore Avenue remains the “gay” mecca that we enjoy walking down regardless of the season. I would love to see it filled with more gay-owned, gay-friendly restaurants, bars and shops.
Name three events that have shaped your life to where it is today.
Having a strong family, meeting Carole, and my career at Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Favorite U.S. city and why?
New York City because there is always so much to do and see. It truly is the city that never sleeps.
What are you most thankful for?
I am most thankful for Carole and our beautiful home here in Delaware. She makes it and our life together very special every day.
We owe a debt of gratitude to Jane Blue for introducing you to CAMP Rehoboth. Thank you for your support, Pat, and the time you spend helping at events, and for volunteering on committees at CAMP Rehoboth. We hope that you will continue to volunteer and be a part of the CAMP Rehoboth family.▼