HANFORD — Fortunate. That’s the word most people use when talking about Patricia Blue’s Christmas windows; because anyone who saw the decorated windows of Hanford Furniture during the holiday season was fortunate enough to have seen the magic, wonder and hard work that went into those windows.
For many years, families would wait with anticipation for the unveiling of those famed Christmas windows, each year better than the last. Blue’s family said making children happy with her decorations is what kept her going year after year.
“She was a wonderful person,” Rusty Robinson, Blue’s grandson, said. “She was an inspiration for Hanford and very giving to the Hanford community.”
Patricia Blue, who died Sept. 21 at the age of 87, and her husband, the late Gordon Blue, owned Hanford Furniture on Seventh and Douty streets together for over three decades.
The Blues were married in 1949 and remained partners in every sense of the word for 51 years, until Gordon Blue’s death in 2001.
The Blues were pillars of the community and part of the core group of Hanford residents committed to the success of downtown Hanford. They took part in the Rotary Club, Hanford Improvement Association, and were also instrumental in the formation of the Downtown Historical District.
Patricia and Gordon Blue were even two of the original owners of the Victorian Inn, now called the Irwin Street Inn.
In 2007, after the doors of Hanford Furniture had closed earlier that year, Blue received the Fred Martella Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hanford Chamber of Commerce.
Craig Johnson, owner of Salmon’s Furniture Galleries, said when he thinks of Blue, he thinks of both Patricia and Gordon.
“They were a team,” Johnson said. “They built that store together and it was a wonderful store. They were real furniture people.”
Not only were the Blues good people, they were good competitors, Johnson said. He said he wished Hanford Furniture was still around today because the competition made all the furniture stores downtown strive to be better.
Johnson said he was sad to hear about Blues death and has definitely missed the beautiful store that was Hanford Furniture, especially the Christmas windows.
“The windows were 100 percent Pat,” Johnson said. “They were Pat’s baby.”
Blue lived her whole life in Hanford; from riding horses in the Hanford countryside in her early years to attending dances with her friends as a teenager. In high school, she was even named Miss Kings County.
Robinson said Blue knew people from all walks of life, from Hanford business owners to her wonderful customers and everyone in between. Elegant, sincere, approachable and full of heart were just some of the ways he described his grandmother.
“She had a lot of wit and humor,” Robinson said. “She was an absolute pleasure.”
Blue remained active even after Hanford Furniture closed. She operated a furniture store in Fresno with Rusty, Thomasville at River Park, and was driving to Fresno at least three days a week up until May.
“She loved what she did and the people she did it with,” Robinson said. “She loved her employees and they loved her back.”
Blue is survived by her only daughter, Kristy Blue, Robinson and his wife, Theresa, and her great-grandson, named Patrick in honor of her; not to mention many “adopted” family members.
“She’ll be dearly missed by family and friends and, I believe, by the entire community of Hanford as well,” Robinson said.