Born Patricia Averdick in Middletown, Ohio, she completed her BA in political science at St. Xavier College in Chicago, then married the writer Bruce Dobler in 1961. She moved, as the spouse of a writer and professor, to Iowa City; Exeter, New Hampshire; Putney, Vermont; Anchorage, Alaska; Tucson, Arizona; El Paso, Texas; and finally Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There she herself began writing after raising two daughters, Stephanie and Lisa, completing her MFA at the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied poetry with Ed Ochester, Lynn Emanuel, and Louis Simpson. In 1986, poet Maxine Kumin selected her book as the winner of the Brittingham Prize in Poetry from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. That same year she joined the faculty of Carlow University where she founded and directed its Women's Creative Writing Center until her death. Dobler was also a popular leader of Carlow's non-degree writing workshop, Madwomen in the Attic. Her final book, Collected Poems, was published posthumously by the Autumn House Press in 2005.
- Collected Poems, poetry (Pittsburgh: Autumn House Press, 2005)
- UXB, poetry (Pittsburgh: Mill Hunk Books, 1991)
- Talking To Strangers, poetry (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1986)
- Forget Your Life, poetry chapbook (Omaha: University of Nebraska Press, 1982)
- Bob Hoover (2005). Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Obituary of Patricia Dobler. Retrieved April 18, 2006.