Patricia “Piano Pat” Sponheim, 86, of Great Falls is now singing in the Lord’s choir. She passed away peacefully at her home with her family.
Pat was born in Havre and raised on the Hi-Line in Rudyard. When Pat was in grade school, her mother drove her over 80 miles round-trip to take classical piano lessons in Havre from Ruth Locke who was a well-known classical pianist. Pat continued to take classical piano lessons until she was a teenager. At the age of 14, she started playing in a dance band on weekends in dance halls up and down the Hi-Line from Shelby to Havre. She was valedictorian of her senior class and graduated in 1952.
Pat married Donald Sponheim in 1953. They had three children and moved to Great Falls in 1961. They divorced in 1966. As a single mom, Pat raised her children while working two jobs. She worked as a medical transcriptionist for 38 years at the Great Falls Clinic, and simultaneously worked at the Sip N Dip Lounge for over 50 years as the widely recognized piano player known as “Piano Pat.” Her fans were worldwide. Piano Pat became an icon in the Great Falls community, but if asked, she would shrug off any claim to fame. She touched the lives of many through her musical talent and loving kindness.
Besides her love for music, Pat cared deeply for her family and friends and showed it by her love and generosity. Pat is survived by her children, Danny Sponheim, Danelle (Gary) Bell, and Diana Jo (Jim Clark) Sponheim; brother, Robert (Linda) Wehr; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
To read the complete obituary and share condolences, visit the Schnider Funeral Home website.