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By Lisa Davis
Posted: 09/19/2020

- Contributed by Lisa Davis -

I don’t know how many of  you knew Patrick. He was friendly and outgoing, but not one to draw attention to himself.  Patrick died of a brain tumor early April, but he was also an indirect victim of COVID-19. He chose not to have radiation or chemotherapy and died at home with hospice care. The sad thing was, he didn’t have many visitors in his last days because of COVID-19.

When the pandemic struck, I became paranoid. I didn’t leave my house. I had food delivered. I didn’t visit Patrick anymore because I didn’t want to infect him with COVID-19. Infect him? How absurd. He was dying! Not seeing him in his last days still weighs heavily on me.

Because of the pandemic, we never had any kind of goodbye ceremony for my dear friend. When this horrible time is over, it will be too late. Some of the Village’s newer members never knew him.

I first met Patrick when he joined the EZ Walkers. He coined that phrase, which I thought was clever. He took over the leadership of the group. On each walk, he insisted on a group picture. We roped in the next person who walked by or asked the Tai Chi guys to take a photo. Patrick then emailed it to Belinda, usually with a pithy or humorous note.

Patrick was my kind and gentle friend. He helped me when I locked myself out of my car. He correctly identified my TV’s problem and offered to go to Costco with me to buy a new one, and to install it for me. He belonged to the Village volunteers. He helped his neighbors on Euclid with various problems.
Bill Vincent has asked me several times if I have come to terms with Patrick’s death. I haven’t yet, but maybe this writing will help. Bill and Patrick lived only a stone’s throw away from each other, and they did many things together.

Patrick had many enthusiasms, but his passion was astronomy. After he retired, he moved to Pasadena because of Caltech and JPL, and quickly made friends with some of their members. He and his friend Alan went far and wide to view some special astronomical events. He attended every Cal Tech astronomy lecture he could, and loved to talk about it.

Patrick tried his best to interest me in astronomy, and when I said that I needed to read something like Astronomy for Dummies, he gifted me that book.  I read it almost to the end, but I could see that I would never really be comfortable with lightyears, asteroids, and black holes.

Patrick loved science, and he and Bob Snodgrass started a science affinity group, which Bob still leads. When I said to Patrick that I wanted to belong, he said to me that the social sciences weren’t “real science”. Ouch! I spent my whole career in psychology.

Another passion of Patrick was operettas. When he first mentioned this, and I burst into the first few bars of Lehar’s Der Zigeunerbaron, he was thrilled that I knew operettas. I grew up in Vienna, and knew operettas like a later generation remembered Beatle songs. Patrick knew that Fritzie Culick, another member of our walking group, was quite a musician, and one of his hopes was that the three of us would get together and listen to operettas. I don’t know if he ever talked to Fritzie about that.

When my daughter, Sarah, once joined a Travel Buddies outing led by Bill Jennings, she and Patrick became instant friends. Whenever Sarah came to town, a visit with Patrick was a given. On Sarah’s last visit before Patrick died, we had an art orgy. A Pacific Asia Museum exhibit consisted of a huge balloon, which we entered with shoes taken off. Inside the artist had drawn zillions of images with a black sharpie: flowers and fantastic shapes, with  many embedded figures. I have a photo of Patrick lying on a padded low table in the middle of the room and gazing  at the fantastic images. It was an otherworldly experience.  We followed that with a visit to the Pasadena Museum of History, which showed photos of old-time Pasadena, and ended the afternoon at the Norton Simon.

Sarah cries every time I mention Patrick. I am still sad for the loss of my friend, and I also regret that Patrick died at a time when we were all distracted by COVID-19, and couldn’t manage a ceremony to celebrate the life of our friend. Our Lacy Park EZ Walks haven’t been the same without Patrick.

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