Patricia White Hardee

Published 12:43 am Sunday, November 5, 2017

Patricia White Hardee

BATON ROUGE — Patricia White Hardee, 83, beloved wife, sister and mother, died peacefully at her residence, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017, surrounded by her family.

A celebration of life will be announced at a later date.

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Arrangements are under the direction of Rabenhorst Funeral Homes in Baton Rouge.

Pat White, or “Patsy” as she was known, had an electric and fulfilling life. She was born in Baton Rouge, the daughter of Matthew and Enola White.

Drawn to the limelight early in life, Pat appeared on an episode of “Our Gang” and won a song-and-dance contest at age six. Later she was voted “Most Beautiful 15 Year Old Girl in the South” in a national contest. It was not long before the accolades began to pile up; by the time she was 19, Pat had earned the titles “Miss Carnation,” “Miss Louisiana State University,” “Miss Pan-American Fiesta” and “Miss Esso.” In 1953, Pat was first runner-up in the “Miss Louisiana Pageant” and in 1954, first runner-up in the “Miss Baton Rouge Pageant.” This early acclaim inspired Pat to relocate to New York City at the age of 20, where she soon realized success as a print model and SAG television actress. Pat lived in the “Big Apple” for 25 years and raised her three children there with her first husband, Dino Cerutti.

During her early years in New York, Pat was the “Vanna White” of her era, starring as hostess of a number of popular show series: Dollar a Second, Concentration, The Big Payoff, Treasure Hunt, Stop the Music, Haggis Baggis and Name That Tune. There was a time when Pat could be seen on TV at least three times a day. Additionally, she was a print and television commercial star for a number of well-known products, such as Kent, Winston, L&M, Colony and Parliament cigarettes; Revlon, Breck, Clairol and Toni hair products; Boston Globe; Modern Bride; Rosenfield’s House of Fashion; TV Guide; April Showers; Princess Dial; Nytol; Bufferin; Diet Rite Cola; Christian Dior; and Bumble Bee Tuna.

In time, Pat transitioned to teaching courses in acting, diction and posture at New York’s John Robert Powers School. Then in 1980, she moved back to her home town of Baton Rouge where she met and married her second husband, Larry Hardee. Over the years, Pat and Larry lived in a number areas of the southeast including Asheville, N.C., Amelia Island Plantation, Fla., Baton Rouge, Crowley, and Gueydan, La., San Antonio, Texas and Natchez.

Pat’s diverse interests and talents brought her success in a wide variety of creative endeavors both during and after her television fame. She enjoyed being a poet, pianist, song composer, book author, and designer of clothing and accessories. Additionally, Pat became quite accomplished at ballroom dancing and won a number of competitions with her husband, Larry. Lastly, Pat took up acrylic painting and was particularly proud of her series of angel paintings which she sold at a gift shop on Amelia Island during the 1990s.

In everything Pat accomplished, she was guided by deeply-held religious principles. In a 1988 interview for Rouge Magazine, she said, “I had achieved all my professional goals, but when I Stopped to analyze my life, I wondered if that was all there was to it. So, I started searching and Christian Science found me. It answered all the questions I had.” Ultimately, Pat became a journal-listed Christian Science practitioner and was frequently published in the Christian Science Monitor, Journal, Sentinel and Herald.

After buying a home in Natchez, Pat and Larry found great joy and deep meaning in hosting neighborhood homemade ice cream socials where they spread love and joy one scoop at a time. Natchez locals were honored to participate in these festive gatherings which often included guests playing live music. Pat’s ice cream recipes were recorded in her book, “Pim Pam of the Porch,” which was available in Natchez gift shops.

Those who knew Pat might remember her by one of her favorite lines: “Make as little of it as quickly as possible,” “You know what’s good for that? Ice cream!” “Function in disaster, finish in style,” and “… with love.”

Pat is survived by her husband of 34 years, Larry Hardee; three children, Marc Cerutti, Diana Cerutti and Steven Cerutti; and one sister, Anne White.

In lieu of flowers, Pat would have requested that you pick up the phone and call someone who means something to you.