Patricia Weeks, 75, of Garnet Valley, a retired licensing executive and vice president of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, died Thursday, Oct. 8, of complications from Parkinson’s disease at Sunrise of Granite Run, a senior living facility in Media.
As a licensing executive, Mrs. Weeks helped pave the way for the research of medical scientists to become actual medicines and treatments for patients, said her husband, Walter Weeks.
The field straddles biomedical science, patent law, and commerce, and required Mrs. Weeks to master all three.
“Pat Weeks had an illustrious career in support of the mission of the Fox Chase Cancer Center,” said Kurt Schwinghammer, a vice president there and chief business development officer of Fox Chase International.
"She achieved national prominence as an expert in technology transfer and published numerous articles and books on the impact of technology commercialization on regional economies,” he said.
For many years, she was a leader of the Association of University Technology Managers, the professional society for licensing executives. She was on the board of directors, and was the organization’s president in 2003.
Lively and vibrant, Mrs. Weeks believed strongly in female empowerment and mentored many women executives who often became her friends. As part of that process, she hosted what she called “goddess parties,” with wine, food, music, and dance.
“Being a goddess meant being open to enjoy who we are and all that life has to give us," said her longtime friend Meryle J. Melnicoff, retired director of business development at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia. "It also meant a commitment to fun and partying! Nobody loved a good party more than Pat.”
Mrs. Weeks was a past chair of the board of BioStrategy Partners Inc., a consortium of academic medical centers and research institutes that helps make research marketable. She was a board member for Ideas x Innovation Network (i2n), which supports emerging businesses in Chester and Delaware Counties.
She was former chair of the Philadelphia chapter of the Licensing Executives Society and a member of the Association of Women Entrepreneurs as well as the Women’s International Leadership Institute. She was also on the advisory board for Temple University’s Fox School of Business MBA program.
Born in Vallejo, Calif., Mrs. Weeks was the eldest child of Nedra Gallagher and Navy Chief Gunner Richard Charles Ely. When her father was transferred from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic, her mother drove the family from California to New York in their Studebaker.
Mrs. Weeks was 3 years old at the time. She grew up in the newly established hamlet of Levittown on Long Island.
In 1958, she was the only girl among 13 junior high students chosen to participate in a math and science program developed under President Dwight Eisenhower and NASA in response to the Soviet Union’s 1957 launch of the Sputnik satellite.
She graduated from the Queen of the Rosary Academy in Amityville, N.Y., as president of the senior class and won a Regent’s scholarship toward college.
In 1966, she graduated from the State University of New York College at Oneonta. Later, she earned a master of science degree in organizational development from the University of Pennsylvania.
Mrs. Weeks married Walter J. Harsche in 1966. The couple lived in Hatboro and Willingboro, N.J., where their two children were born. Later, they moved to Moorestown. They divorced in 1997. He is deceased.
In 2002, she met Walter Weeks. They married in 2003 and moved from Moorestown to Foxfield at Naamans Creek in Garnet Valley, an over-55 community. Mrs. Weeks was president of the homeowners association.
Besides her husband, she is survived by a son, Michael Harsche; a daughter, Megan Harsche; four grandchildren; three sisters and a brother; seven nieces; and five nephews. A nephew died earlier.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a memorial service will not be held at this time.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, P.O. Box 5014, Hagerstown, Md. 21741.