GREAT FALLS — Pat Spoonheim - the iconic woman known for decades as "Piano Pat" who sat behind the keyboard and belted out favorites at the Sip 'N Dip Lounge at the O'Haire Motor Inn in downtown Great Falls - passed away last month.
On Thursday, U.S. Senator Steve Daines honored her with a Congressional tribute.
He stopped by the Sip ’n Dip Lounge and visited with the owner and Pat’s family and read a copy of the entry into the Congressional Record, which reads, in part:
Piano Pat was a Great Falls staple. She had been singing, playing the piano, and lighting up the room at the world-renowned Sip 'N Dip Lounge since 1963. Montanans and tourists from every corner of the world would swarm the Great Falls Tiki Bar to hear Pat belt out her rendition of some of the greatest classics. Her vast repertoire of songs would always amaze people as they made requests that soon became her next tune. Her performances brought joy to everyone who listened. For over five decades, Piano Pat entertained folks of all ages and backgrounds.
"You think about the impact she has had, Piano Pat. Her reputation, her skills, the joy that she created in so many lives. She's known not just across our state but even around our country,” said Daines.
"It was wonderful of him to come down and do a nice presentation to her family and to read her name into the Congressional Record. What a great honor for a great woman,” said Sandra Thares, the owner of the hotel and lounge.
This is not the first time Pat has been entered into the Congressional Record. Greg Gianforte honored her in the same way in 2018 with a "Spirit of Montana" award; Gianforte, now the governor of Montana, was the state's U.S. Representative at the time. His tribute to Pat stated, in part:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor a Montana musician known and loved by hundreds of thousands of fans in Montana and across the world. That’s no exaggeration, because she has played in one iconic Montana establishment for 55 years. Patricia Spoonheim, better known as Piano Pat, began playing keyboards at the Sip ‘n Dip Lounge in Great Falls in 1963. Travel publications acclaim the Sip ‘n Dip as a “must see” in Montana, and Piano Pat is one of the reasons. Pat was born and raised along Montana’s Hi-Line in the 1930s. Even during harsh winters, Pat’s mother would drive her over 80 miles roundtrip for piano lessons. She began playing professionally at the age of 14. Pat worked multiple jobs and played several nights a week to support her family.
- “Piano Pat” entered into Congressional Record
- "Piano Pat" recovering after a fall; fundraiser underway
- Remembering "Piano Pat"