Family: Husband: Jimmy McKeehan; daughters, Sydney, 7, and London, 3.
Occupation: General Manager, Pilot Convenience Store, West Broadway
Patricia Sutton McKeehan is competitive.
That’s probably why she always has the “Eye of the Tiger” reverberating in her head. Whether she’s racing to get ahead of the person in front of her at the Turkey Trot or trying to have her baby before a woman in an adjoining birthing ward delivered hers, McKeehan is competitive.
McKeehan grew up in Blount County. Her mom, Erna Sutton, is originally from Santiago, Chili, while her dad, John Sutton, is from Great Britain. The family has lived here since Patricia was a first-grader. She graduated from Heritage High School and attended Pellissippi State Community College and started working at Pilot 16 years ago while she was in college.
“I would not trade living here for anything. I love it here,” McKeehan says.
McKeehan did leave for a year when she pursued a career with American Airlines as a flight attendant in the late 1990s. She was based in New York City and says she was ready to come home after less than a year.
McKeehan said she missed home, so she came back to Blount County. “When the folks at Pilot found out I was back, they asked me to come back to work for them.”
McKeehan met Jimmy McKeehan when they were in band at Heritage High School. “We just dated a little bit in high school and then moved on,” she says.
After she came back to Blount County, the two reconnected. “We dated for about a year, and then we got married in Jamaica.”
McKeehan says she loves her job because of the contact with people.
“I love the people I work for. I enjoy it each day. My passion is to place a smile on as many people’s faces as possible,” she says.
Here is Patricia McKeehan:
Who are you most like, your mother or your father and why?
“My mother because she has passion but she’s a little hot tempered. My dad is calm like a typical British guy. I’m more like my mom.”
What is your favorite quote from television or a movie?
“I deal with the lottery every day. When I’m swiping someone’s lottery ticket, I say, ‘Big money, big money, no whammy.’ It was from ‘Push Your Luck,’ a game show.’”
What are you guilty of?
“Smoking a good Cohiba - that’s a type of cigar, and it is smooth.”
What is your favorite material possession?
“Tweezers. If I had to go on a island, I’d grab my tweezers. A girl needs tweezers. That’s it. I’ve got to have my tweezers. They work for everything.”
What are you reading currently?
‘”One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.’ I read Dr. Seuss to my kids.”
What was your most embarrassing moment?
“Falling off the treadmill while The Rush was full. I’m trying to compete and all of a sudden, boom, I fall.”
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
‘”Being on, ‘The Price Is Right,’ take a hot air balloon ride with my family, and go see the group ‘Gypsy Kings,’ live in Spain.”
What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
“Competitive. I’m competing against everybody, and sometimes they don’t know it. When I was having a baby, I was trying to have my baby before the lady in the other room. At the ‘Turkey Trot’ road race, I just had to beat this old lady in front of me, and she had no idea.”
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“Have the ability to cook. I don’t cook. I eat out, and I know every location where kids eat free every day of the week.”
What is your passion?
“Putting a smile on as many faces as possible.”
With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
“That would be my deceased father-in-law. He never got to meet his grandkids. He passed away before Jimmy and I were married.”
If a movie were made about your life, who would play you and why?
“Sandra Bullock. I just like her. She’s funny, and she’s dramatic, and she has that range. She can be funny, and she can be serious.”
If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
“The Victorian era, because I want to wear those big dresses. They would be beautiful to wear, to go to balls and dress up.”
What is the best present you ever received in a box?
“It was some pink ice earrings I got when I was 15. My husband gave them to me on one of our dates. He had them wrapped in a taco box. He said, ‘I’m hungry, get me a taco,’ and when I opened the box, I found the earrings.”
What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
“Use Lava soap to clean burnt pans. She knows I can’t cook and that gets burnt stuff off.”
Are you a cat person or a dog person?
“I’m definitely a dog person. I love the loyalty of a dog. They love you unconditionally. But today, I’m a cat person because they’re low maintenance.”
What is your theme song that best describes you?
“‘Eye of the Tiger,’ because I’m so competitive.”
What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon and why?
“‘The Littles.’ That was the one my sister would let me watch with her.”
What irritates you?
What’s one place in Blount County everyone should visit?
“Sam Houston’s Schoolhouse. I went there as a kid. I think it’s amazing, and a lot of people don’t think to go there and visit.”
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself at 18?
“Be an optimist. There is power in positive thinking. I think when I was younger, I wanted to impress everybody and didn’t think about being who I was and loving myself for who I was. Make sure you take something from bad experiences, but don’t dwell on them. Move on.”