Patricia Weeks

Patricia Harsche Weeks Patricia Harsche Weeks, 75, a retired licensing executive and vice president of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, died Thursday, Oct. 8, at the Sunrise at Granite Run Assisted living facility in Media, Pa., from complications of Parkinson’s disease. Whether called technology transfer, licensing, or business development, Mrs. Weeks’ field was turning the work of medical scientists into actual medicines and treatments that can be prescribed to patients to end their sufferings and save their lives. It is a field that straddles biomedical science, patent law, and commerce, and requires mastery of each. For many years, she was a leader in the Association of University Technology Managers, the national professional organization for people who do what she did. She served on AUTM’s Board of Directors and was its president in 2003. While her world was populated by patent attorneys, research scientists and licensing executives, not known anywhere as “life of the party” types – but Mrs. Weeks was. Female empowerment was her thing, and she mentored countless female executives – but not just in the office. She organized “goddess parties,” filled with wine and food, music and dance, for colleagues she always seems to make into friends. “Being a goddess meant … being open to enjoy who we are and all that life has to give us. It also meant a commitment to fun and partying! Nobody loved a good party – lots of music and dancing required – more than Pat,” said her long-time friend, Meryle J. Melnicoff, Ph.D., retired director of business development at the Wistar Institute of Philadelphia, another national cancer center. The cliché “any excuse for a party,” was never more true than for the first goddess party, which Mrs. Weeks convened to celebrate her hysterectomy. The highlight of the party was when she ceremonially buried her ovaries in her Moorestown back yard. Once, in the 1980s, she heard that Macy’s in New York was attempting to get into the Guiness Book of World Records by organizing the worlds largest assembly of tap dancers to dance a single routine. “She dragged me into the city on a very hot Sunday in August where we were given tee shirts and straw hats, quickly learned a tap routine, and tapped down Fifth Avenue to Sammy Davis Jr.’s `The Candy Man,’” recounted her friend and former high-school classmate Barbara T. Cogswell. In that school, Queen of the Rosary Academy in Amityville, N.Y., Mrs. Weeks had been president of her senior class. But Mrs. Weeks was far more than fun and games. “Pat Harsche Weeks had an illustrious career in support of the mission of the Fox Chase Cancer Center,” said Kurt A. Schwinghammer, Ph.D., Vice President, Research & Development Alliances, at Fox Chase Cancer Center and Chief Business Development Officer of Fox Chase International. “She achieved national prominence as an expert in technology transfer, including her serving as president of the Association of University Technology Managers. Pat published numerous articles and books on the impact of technology commercialization on regional economies.” Mrs. Weeks was chair emeritus of the board of BioStrategy Partners and a member of the board of the Ideas x Innovation Network (i2n), which provides resources for young technology and energy companies in Chester and Delaware counties in Pennsylvania. She was former chair of the Philadelphia chapter of the Licensing Executives Society, a member of the Association of Women Entrepreneurs, of Women’s International Leadership, and was 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 Ely and Chief Gunner Richard Charles Ely. When Chief Gunner Ely was transferred from the Pacific to the Atlantic, his wife drove the family from California to New York in their Studebaker when Mrs. Weeks was 3 years old. She grew up in the newly established Levittown on Long Island. In 1958, Mrs. Weeks was the only girl among 13 junior high students chosen to participate in a math and science program developed under President Eisenhower and NASA in response to Russia’s 1957 launch of the Sputnik satellite. Upon graduation from high school, she won a Regent’s scholarship. In 1966, she graduated from State University of New York College at Oneonta with honors. She also had a Master of Science degree in Organizational Development from the University of Pennsylvania. Also in 1966, Mrs. Weeks married Walter J. Harsche. The couple lived in Hatboro, Pa., and in another Levittown, Willingboro, N.J., where their two children were born. Later, they moved to Moorestown. They divorced after 31 years of marriage. With the new century a new man arrived in her life, another Walter: Walter Weeks, a Philadelphia native with a Ph.D. from the Harvard Business School. They were married in May of 2003. They later moved from Moorestown to Foxfield at Naamans Creek in Garnet Valley, Pa., an over-55 community of 514 homes. Mrs. Weeks, of course, became president of their homeowners association. Mrs. Weeks is survived by her husband; her children, Michael Harsche (Laura) of Mount Laurel, N.J., and Megan Harsche of Saint Davids, Pa.; her siblings: Sue Claire Harper of Rehoboth Beach, Del., Joanne Buckley (George) of Leland, N.C., Terry Fries of Wantagh, N.Y., Richard Ely (Linda) of Hanover, N.H.; and her four grandchildren, Lucas, Grace, Abigale and Caleb Harsche. Mrs. Weeks is also survived by seven nieces and five nephews. She was preceded in death by her father, Richard C. Ely, her mother, Nedra Gallagher Ely and her nephew, Gregory Buckley. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a memorial service will not be held at this time. She was cremated. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, P.O. Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5014.

Published in The Daily Times from Oct. 10 to Oct. 11, 2020.

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