Cover photo for Evelyn "Patti" McGee's Obituary
Evelyn "Patti" McGee Profile Photo

Evelyn "Patti" McGee

February 21, 1935 — November 11, 2022

Sullivan's Island

Evelyn "Patti" McGee

Evelyn Moore McGee (Patti), 87, beloved wife of Joseph H. McGee (Peter), passed away peacefully on November 11, 2022, after a long illness, surrounded by her loving family. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. Her many passions included her family, her community, horticulture and gardening, and above all people – friends she’s known for a lifetime, and those she’d just met. Patti was born on February 21, 1935, daughter of James Carlisle Moore, M.D. and Evelyn Brabham Moore, and grew up in Marion, SC. She graduated from Marion High School and attended Converse College where she served as yearbook editor, was inducted into the Order of the Gavel and earned a BA in history in 1957. After graduating, she interviewed for teaching positions in both Washington, DC, and Charleston. As she was fond of saying, she turned down a higher paying job in Washington because she wanted to live in Charleston, and that was the smartest decision of her life. She lived on Lightwood Alley with her closest friends and taught history at St Andrews High  School. She met and married the love of her life, Peter McGee, in 1960. They remained happily married until her death.

Patti was dedicated to her beloved Charleston, serving as a community leader and volunteer. She served on the Women’s Council of the Gibbes Museum of Art, and as its president in 1971. She loved her years as a member of Junior League of Charleston and served as president in 1972. She also worked with the Charleston Arts and History Commission and the South Carolina Historical Society, and served as the South Carolina Advisor to The National Trust for Historic 
Preservation.

In 1977, Gian Carlo Menotti, the founder and Artistic Director of the Spoleto Festival USA, asked Patti and Peter if they would consider opening their home to chamber musicians after their performances next door at the Dock Street Theater. They agreed without hesitation, and for nearly 20 years Patti and her family hosted daily wine and cheese receptions throughout the Festival. Patti also served on the Spoleto Festival board, and in 2017, she and Peter were recipients of the Mary Ramsay Civic Award, presented by the Festival in recognition of their extraordinary gifts to the Festival and the Charleston community. Patti inherited her love of gardening from her mother, and was first known for her gorgeous window boxes and welcoming courtyard garden at her Church Street home. Her contributions to the world of gardening and horticulture, made a lasting imprint, both in Charleston and beyond. Her effervescent love of gardening was contagious. She helped found the Lowcountry Garden Club in 1988 and was a life-long member. She and Peter were also founding members of the Charleston Horticultural Society in 2000 and she served on the board until 2007. Patti was awarded the Charleston Horticulture Society 1830 Award in 2009. 

In 1989, Frank Cabot invited her to join the advisory board and then the board of directors for a new national nonprofit, the Garden Conservancy. Patti’s knowledge of Southern garden history was instrumental to the Conservancy’s early efforts, including preserving the garden of Elizabeth Lawrence in Charlotte, NC. She served until 2015 when she was named Director Emerita.

She was also involved with the Southern Garden History Society and, in 2012, was named by the Garden Club of America as an Honorary Member for her efforts to advance horticulture. Patti is survived by her husband, Peter; her daughters, Madeleine McGee and her husband F.C.  (Bunky) Wichmann of Sullivan’s Island; Evelyn McGee Colbert and her husband Stephen Colbert of Montclair, NJ; and six grandchildren, Madeleine, Peter and John Colbert; and Joseph, Lucy and Theo Wichmann.

Her Funeral Service will be held Saturday, November 19, 2022, at Second Presbyterian Church, 342 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC, at 11:00 am. Afterwards, family and friends are invited to drop by the McGee home. The Interment will be private.

The family would like to express their sincere appreciation to the many kind and caring nurses and doctors, especially Dr. David Ellison, from Roper St. Francis Hospital who aided Patti during her long struggle with Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).

In lieu of flowers, the family invites support of the Charleston Horticultural Society with gifts designated for the Patti McGee Memorial Garden Fund. Donations may be made online, or mailed to 46 Windermere Blvd. Charleston, SC 29407. 

Arrangements by J. Henry Stuhr Funeral Services.

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Past Services

Funeral Service

Saturday, November 19, 2022

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Second Presbyterian Church

342 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29403

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