Patricia Wright Oliveira passed away on the 17th of March 2020 in Salt Lake City. She was born in Ogden, Utah on the 5th of April 1923, the sixth of eight children born to Bertha Olivia Eccles and William Arthur Wright. Her father served three missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder David O. McKay called William Arthur to serve his last mission in Dresden, Germany, in 1931. The family was to join Arthur in Germany, but after a few months there, Arthur became ill and passed away. Patricia, who 9 years old, never saw her father again. The dedication of her parents to the Church of Jesus Christ had an important impact on Patricia and she became of woman of great courage and faith.
She married George Kirk Graff in 1942 in Salt Lake City. She was active in service work in Salt Lake City, often volunteering with the Red Cross. She had five children: Jonathan K. Graff, Christopher C. Graff, Patrick W. Graff, Maria P. Graff (Brimhall) and Lily Ann P. Graff (Nichols). Her husband became estranged from her and 1958 she separated from him. Despite encouragement from sisters and friends to settle somewhere in the Salt Lake area, she felt impressed to sell everything and move to Madrid, Spain to be with her brother David Eccles Wright, who was working with the U.S. Government and was stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid from 1956 to 1960. Patricia took her five children in tow, along with many suitcases, and moved to a land where she knew only her brother and his family and had to learn a new language. At that time the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was not yet established in Spain and the only church recognized by the Spanish government was the Catholic Church. In 1960, Patricia's brother Dave was reassigned by the U.S. Government to another embassy in Latin America. In two short years Patricia had grown to like Spain and the Spanish people and she decided to stay. She met a Spanish man, Jose M. Oliveira, to whom she introduced the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. After investigating the Church for a few years, Jose decided to get baptized, but had to travel to Bordeaux, France, where he was baptized there on the 12th of March 1966. Jose Oliveira became the first Spanish man to join the Church and stay in Spain where they became a force and leaders in getting the Church recognized there. In 1966 Patricia and Jose were married and later sealed in the London Temple. From this union Ester Jasmine Oliveira (Jefferies) was born.
Patricia became a font of information and inspiration for the Spanish people who began to join the Church in small numbers from 1966 through June of 1969, when the first LDS missionaries arrived. Spanish law began to change by late 1967 and they decided to recognize the few churches that already had Spanish members. In 1968 the first Spanish branch was organized and in May of 1969, Elder Romney of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles came to dedicate Spain for the preaching of the Gospel. Patricia was instrumental in helping to organize the Relief Society, the Young Women and combined youth programs within the first Spanish District of the Church, and later in the first stake in Spain. She taught Spanish members by precept and example the concept of members serving each other in the Lord's Church. Patricia always had an open heart for the downtrodden and suffering. She had many friends who were in awe of her desire to be with them and of her love for them. She is remembered in Spain today with great love and fondness by hundreds of members of the Church.
Patricia is survived by her husband Jose M. Oliveira, her six children, and scores of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Due to COVID 19 emergency restrictions, a family only funeral service was held at Holbrook Mortuary in Salt Lake City on Friday, March 20, 2020. Interment followed that day in the Ogden City Cemetery.
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