Patti Ishii Halbmaier quietly passed on April 17, 2021. She was from the first graduating class of ISKL and always had such wonderful memories of life in Malaysia during the 60’s. Patti’s creative energy transformed into calligraphy, collage art, and the latest being art journaling.
Patti and her husband Jim were celebrating 50 years of marriage. Patti, Jim and their daughter Julia have lived in Arizona for the past few years. Previous to that they were in the Pacific Northwest in the Seattle area. Patti’s vibrant personality and kindness captivated so many hearts around her. She was loved wherever she went and will be greatly missed. (Contributed by Tobey Ishii Anderson ‘72)
In the course of trying to track down the members of ISKL’s first graduating class of 1967, the Alumni Department was lucky to be in touch with Patti who is the young woman at the center of the beautiful photograph. Patti generously shared her journey after ISKL, including returning to study in Iowa, meeting and marrying Jim Halbmaier in 1971 and moving with him to Germany when he was drafted. They returned to the US and settled in Washington before retiring to Arizona.
Patti recalled the special moment captured in the iconic photograph, and her time at ISKL:
“We had a very nice graduation ceremony on the school grounds of the Istana. There were quite a few people there including the ambassador and his wife, family and friends. We had a nice reception outside and, as you can see, Mr Findley even found us caps and gowns. With ISKL just getting up and running, I guess you would call us upper class students an experiment. We took most of our core classes by correspondence. Americans kids through the University of Nebraska and the British kids through another program. We spent most of our day in a study hall upstairs with a monitor. We were well behaved considering the situation.
“I think I felt like I was in another world in KL at that time 1966-1967. Things were developing so rapidly and families were coming and going all the time. We barely got to know someone and then the family was moved somewhere else. Very transient but we did make our friendships. I loved my life in KL those couple of years I was there. I still love SE Asia and have very fond memories. We'd been back to KL a number of times and each time we go back, it becomes less and less of the KL I remember. Those were the good 'ole days. Our campus was a one of a kind experience and can't even imagine going to your new campus now.”