Pat Tylman calls it quits after 39 years as LO's Welcome Lady

Lake Oswego is a less welcoming place now that Pat Tylman is no longer the Welcome CLIFF NEWELL - For many years newcomers to Lake Oswego were greeted by Pat Tylman, but changing times have forced her to step down as the Welcome Lady.

Tylman started her career as a welcomer in 1973, and she was stunned when she realized she had been in this profession for 39 years. Time flies when you are having fun and making people happy.

“I’m already missing it,” Tylman admitted.

But changing times can affect even the Welcome Lady.

“My primary name source disintegrated,” Tylman said. “I was perfectly willing to go on, but my main source was concerned about invasion of privacy issues, so I couldn’t get names, addresses or phone numbers any more. Next I would have had to follow moving vans around.

“I really enjoyed doing it all these years, and I felt I provided a good community service and kept people shopping locally.”

Tylman’s career as a welcomer began a few years after she moved from Illinois to Lake Oswego. It all started when she volunteered to host a coffee sponsored by Welcome Wagon, a well-established national welcoming business. Two hours later she got a call.

From there it was an easy jump to becoming the assistant to Thelma Sweeny, Lake Oswego’s Welcome Wagon Lady. When Sweeny retired, Tylman was the Welcome Wagon Lady all by herself. Everything went happily until Welcome Wagon decided to stop making home visits in 1998.

“I guess they weren’t making enough money,” Tylman said. But the solution was simple.

“I thought, ‘I’ll start my own business,’” Tylman said. “I started in 1999. It lasted until last week.”

As the Welcome Lady, Tylman was Lake Oswego’s ambassador of goodwill, and in all her years of welcoming newcomers to the LO community she can report nary one negative experience. She showed up in her welcome-mobile, bringing gift certificates and entertaining conversation.

“I would tell them a lot about our community,” Tylman said. “I had lots of interesting discussion. They really unloaded on me. It was so much fun meeting all of those ladies and hearing all of the different stories. I averaged 30 to 40 calls a month. I just enjoyed helping people. It was a flexible job. I still had time to play bridge and go to my Bible study.”

She couldn’t have done her job nearly as well without the understanding attitude of her husband, Vince, who is perhaps Lake Oswego’s leading crepe chef.

“Vince was very supportive,” Tylman said. “Even though dinner was delayed some nights and sometimes he got no breakfast or lunch.”

Yet after nearly 40 idyllic years, Tylman’s dream job finally came to an end.

She said, “It was harder the last couple years. There are so many women working now, and they didn’t necessarily want to have meetings in the evening.”

Tylman has only been retired as the Welcome Lady for a week, but she is already filled with nostalgia.

“It was a fun job,” she said. “I’m trying to decide how I’ll get through Thanksgiving and Christmas. By January, I’ll be really bored. It’s the end of an era.”

Still, Pat Tylman will have many warm memories.

“Everyone seemed to enjoy me coming,” she said.

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