Philip William Reuben Patey

September 21, 1939 to September 6, 2023


Dad passed away peacefully at the Health Sciences Centre on September 6th, 2023 after an unexpected illness brought an end to his slow struggle with vascular dementia.  Leaving with happy memories are his children Stephan (Yesenia) of Edmonton, AB, Matthew (Katariina) of Porvoo, Finland, Ian (Corinna) of Conception Bay South, NL, Andrea of Ottawa, ON, their mother Elizabeth Brown, grandchildren Jessica, Mikael, Emilia, Abigail and Andrew, brother Paul (Shirley), sisters Emily Remartinez (Felix), Catherine, Faith and Nina, a large cadre of nephews, nieces and friends, including neighbours Ruth and Art Elliot and his lifelong friend Don Downer.  Dad was predeceased by his parents Brigadier Cecil and Effie Patey, and his youngest brother Cecil.

The eldest son of a pioneering Salvation Army captain and outport nurse who moved every couple of years to build a new barracks and school, Dad was reared in every other town on the northeast coast of Newfoundland.  From St. Anthony to Pilley’s Island to Botwood to Clarenville and many points in between, he found his home in Lewisporte where he lived for more than half of his life.

Dad was a true renaissance man. A father, poet, teacher, gardener, scientist and musician, its difficult to try and describe Dad in five hundred words or less.  First and foremost, he and Mom raised the four of us, supporting us to the point where we could go out into the world on our own, and sometimes after.   He sang in the university glee club in the late 1950’s and early 60’s, eventually leaving Memorial with four degrees under his belt.  He played guitar at many an event, including in our living room.  He was a voracious reader, amassing a comprehensive collection of Newfoundland fiction and non-fiction, among many others.  He read anything about everything, to the point that he bought multiple copies of books he forgot he already owned. 

Dad was not afraid of work.  From pumping gas in Botwood, to building fish ladders to count salmon, to conducting caribou surveys, he was very proud to be the inaugural Park Naturalist at Terra Nova National Park in the mid 1960’s.  He enjoyed his profession as a teacher and then Math and Science Co-ordinator with the Notre Dame School Board and its successors, driving his brown Chevette and then his little blue pickup to every school throughout the district.  He was a union man, involved in the NLTA at every level, including the Retired Teachers Association. While he held a Masters degree in marine biology, he spent more time leading geological field trips for schools throughout Notre Dame Bay or showing his fossil collection off to interested students.  Rarely was there a rock cut that we drove through that Dad didn’t say “I’ve got to get out and have a closer look at that”.

While he volunteered for every board, committee and club that crossed his path, the one constant in Dad’s life was writing.  He was a prolific author, and over the last sixty years wrote well over ten thousand pages of poetry, some of which found their way into literary journals.  While he was proud to be a published author, he wrote primarily for himself, but thankfully would share many of his works with those close to him and fellow members of the Writer’s Alliance. 

Dad’s last year was spent as an active member of Winslowe Ridge Retirement Living, and we thank all the staff and residents for caring for him, and listening to him talk about, well, everything.  We want to send a special thanks to the amazing doctors, nurses and personal care attendants in the Emergency Department and on 4 North B who helped Dad in his last week with us.

Dad didn’t want a funeral, so he’s not getting one. However, we are having a visitation at Carnell’s Funeral Home on Sunday September 10 from 2pm to 4pm and a visitation/reception from 7pm to 9pm.  A graveside committal gathering will be held at Memorial Gardens in Galway on Monday, September 11th at 11 am.

Dad loved flowers, so he’d appreciate them.  In lieu of flowers please donate to a charity of your choice.



Graveside committal

11:00am, Monday September 11th

Memorial Gardens, Beaumont Hamel Way, Galway


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Please accept my late condolences on Phil’s passing. I just learned of this and was very saddened indeed. Phil would drop by for a cuppa pre Covid when he came to Gander for a hair cut. I was a member of Scribblers Ink Writing group. I was out when he last called so missed him. I have tried off and on to reach him and didn’t know he was in a care home. I surely would have made a visit. May he be Resting in Peace and still writing his ideas from the other side in his little pocket book.. He was a treasure.
Marion Brake

My deepest condolences to the Patey family. As a long time friend and colleague of Phil, we shared many an adventure on Canada Wide Science Fair excursions or working at the board office. Always the poet, you would never find him without a small notebook to write in. A deep thinker, a unique individual, he will be sorely missed by those fortunate enough to listen to his stories and words of wisdom. Rest in peace my friend.

My condolences to the family.

Mr. Patey was one of a kind, he always had a smile for everyone. Growing up in Lewisporte with Nan Sanger meant we would see Mr Patey regularly and I always enjoyed his sense of humour and looked forward to his stories; when everyone else had lost their patience with my chatter Mr Patey would still be entertaining me with stories and conversation. I’ll never forget the day I found a rock with shell fossils in it and I ran home as fast as I could to tell nan that we had to bring them to Mr Patey to examine right away!! I’ve always wondered what he did with that fossil.

Stephen, Matt, Ian and Andrea,

I’m so sorry to read your sad news. Sending you all condolences and hugs xx. Thinking of you all during this difficult time.

Lynnette Coish-Samuelson

We deeply regret of hearing of Phil’s passing! He was good friend and Science education colleague as well us serving on the NTA Provincial Executive.
He will be deeply missed as a friend and community member. I will always remember him pulling out his notebook to write down an important thought. RIP Phil!!


Thinking of you Andrea and family. <3

Many thanks to your remarkable dad for bringing one of my favourite people into the world!

Sincere condolences to Philip’s family. Phil and I have been friends for close to fifty years. We first met while engaged in activities with NLTA Special Interest Councils and more recently with Central Division of the Retired Teachers Association.
I will miss the many indepth discussions we shared, especially those about events in the history of the province.

Sincere condolences to the family. I got to know your Dad primarily in my former role as a math-science coordinator. Needless to say, your Dad, a well-respected educator, left many of us with fond and interesting memories of him.

To the family of the late Phil Patey.,. Please accept my condolences.

I first ‘saw ‘ Phil when his father was principal of our school in Botwood. He was a big boy and I a little boy so we did not interact much.

Many years later we both took a Biology course together.
At Christmas, he was one of the three of a class of 43 who received a passing grade.

Later, when he was the maths/science coordinator with the Lewisporte school district and I was a science curriculum consultant with the Department of Education, we had many occasions to interact. I always appreciated his perspective on educational matters. Sometimes these perspective were different but added an interesting dimension to the issues.

He was very informed and talented individual who made a significant contribution to science education in this province.

Dr. Harry Elliott

Matt, Katariina & Family

We are so sorry to hear of your fathers passing. A loving father, grandfather & scholar and I have lots of great memories of him . I have had many a conversation that started “Stokes” when I seen him at the grocery store.

Our sincere condolences to you all

Hugs Corey & Kim Stokes

The Patey Family : Please accept our condolences on the passing of your father. Phil was a very intelligent, well-read, and talented person. He touched many lives. Bert and Eda Harding

Sending our sympathy to Philips family, from Emily’s Ontario friends. Blessings to all

My grandmother Norma lives across the hall from Mr. Patey and we had the pleasure of meeting him for the first time in April. My son brought his guitar in to play for his great grandmother. Next thing we knew, Mr. Patey was over to see who was singing. He told us story’s about how he has lived all over Newfoundland, and about his musical talent.
My sister, myself and kids went in again a few weeks ago, with guitar in tow, and it was a gorgeous warm & sunny day so we went outside on the deck with our grandmother. My son started playing & singing and sure enough, Mr. Patey came out with us. He always had such sweet things to say to my son, and told him he was very talented.
Please accept our condolences from our family to yours and keep all those precious memories close to your hearts!
Venessa, Donald, & Amelia Clarke
Tom, Jeanette, & Meghan Hollett

To Phil’s family, Paul and sisters.
Please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of Phil. I met Phil when his father taught me in Grade XI many years ago. I have served with him as a member of the Retired Teachers’ Association and had visits from him in our home in Botwood.. We will all miss him here in Central.

We were so sorry to hear of Mr. Patey’s passing. He was our neighbour for many years and we miss seeing him. I got to have many chats with him when he worked with the school board as I was the secretary at the elementary school. He always had such a warm smile – I know he always enjoyed his visits to the school. May all your memories of such a wonderful man help you through these difficult days.

To Phil’s children, Catherine, and other members of Phil’s family whom I have met and or worked with, I would like to extend my sincere condolences. I have known Phil since the 1970’s mostly through or at NTA Science council, NTA functions and workshops but also over several years on dewelopment of the Grade Twelve Program/ Curriculum Guide for Earth Sciences. Phil was always super friendly, asked lots of questions about the natural world as well as the human one. I was aware of his poetry but not aware though that he was so prolific.
A great contributor in many ways
Ray Penny

My condolences to Philip’s family,
I met him when I joined the board of the Writer’s Alliance. He had various positions on the board but they all translated into a kind of super village elder role,(r bit like the Wise Old Elf in the Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom. cartoons) His generosity of time and effort, his enthusiasm, kindness and unassuming wisdom were an example of volunteerism as it ought to be done.
He’ll be greatly missed.

Fred Armstrong

What a beautiful tribute to a man who was larger then life. To all the Patey family we offer our sincere condolences on the passing of Philip. Our memories of him will always bring a smile to our face. Rest In Peace Philip.

So sorry to hear of Phil’s passing and I extend my condolences to all of the family. I have fond memories of his immense knowledge of so many topics and his willingness to engage in conversation on any of them. He was a help to me when I taught Junior high Science as well as high school biology. Phil was a wealth of knowledge and his field trips were memorable. He certainly will be remembered for his great contribution to education in the Lewisporte area.

Anyone who took biology at MUN in the 1960s would remember Phil , his irrepressible smile , intelligence and teaching/ instructional skills in the Biology Labs at that time.
It’s wonderful that his life was so full of his signature contributions to all aspects of career choices. and to the communities of which he was a part .
Condolences to Phil’s extended family.

George Winters

I am so sorry to hear of your dad’s passing so suddenly. Phil and I served on the Central Division of Retired Teachers for many years. We had many great chats and he would tell me about his writings like getting up 5:00 am to write poetry. He would say that that was the best time to think and write. I will miss him very much. My condolences to all of his family.

To Mr. Patey’s family, please accept my condolences in the passing of your Dad. While I never met him personally, his room was right across from my mom’s at Winslowe Ridge and she talked of him often. He would come over to her room or meet up on the balcony when my niece brought her son, Donald, around to play guitar and sing for Mom. Your Dad was very interested in Donald’s playing and singing and really seemed to enjoy the impromptu sessions. He always encouraged Donald to keep it up.
I know from the obituary that you have many wonderful memories of your Dad. I hope you can add this one to your list. May he rest in peace.

To the Family of Mr. Patey, please accept my sincere condolences on his passing. I too, am a former student of his (Deer Lake 1962) . A few years later I became the secretary at the High School and worked with Teachers Smith, House, Dollimount and Chaulk . I remember that his name was often referenced. Having read the words of condolence from Bev and Sid and realizing that we are now in our mid to late 70’s, I’m sure that you can understand the respect that he earned all those years ago.. Godspeed Mr. Patey.

We are so sorry to hear of Phil’s passing. He was indeed a very professional, multi-tallented and friendly individual who always welcomed a discussion on any subject by anyone at any level. To the entire family, we exend our most sincere condolences.

Sorry to hear of Phil’s passing. We were the same age and biology students in the early 1960s at MUN. Peace and Blessings to the family..

We are writing as former students of Mr. Patey in Deer Lake 1960-63 if memory serves. We recall a teacher who exhibited a wide range of interests and knowledge well beyond the classroom subject for the day and period.
In particular, he impressed with his understanding of nature and of the environment.
He did not require the authority devolved from a school board to command attention of a class but rather earned it from an empathetic personality and command of the subject.
As students through to the graduate level, we experienced many teachers but among them Mr Patey stands out!
Our sincere sympathy to his family.
RIP Mr Patey

Phillip’s FamilyAs you mourn and celebrate your dad’s life we are with you in spirit,for we too are mourning the loss of a great neighbour and friend who was a constant in our lives for many, many years!If we were there we would reminisce about “yarning over the fence,,” about meals shared on special events,and also meals passed over the fence,,about our grandchildren being taught about rocks and trees and fossils and possibilities,!Of course I would talk about his intelligence and his innate curious nature which enriched his life and so many others in the process!I would talk about his love of argument and dialogue!I would talk about a bond we shared in our love of literature ,and discussion of the same especially the works of Newfoundlanders but never limiited to them!And I would speak of his contribution to this area as a wise educator in his various roles ,continued post retirement in his workshops for children, and in all the other organizations he served!I led the Chamber of Commerce today in celebrating his life and dedication to the Chamber! And Paula Gale above mentioned his life in our Church Men’s group!Phillip was different no doubt it,, but he was in love with the physical world, discovering it new every day and communicating what he felt through his lively mind and writing hands!Forget him?How could we ever forget this unique man and neighbour?We communicated by phone almost weeklly and informed him about what was going on in Lewisporte and every time we look out our kitchen window we will see him sitting by his greenhouse,with pen in hand, writing, thinking,, smiling and we will know that when he smiled it was because he was exited by the knowledge ,as he often expressed “I’ve got another line!l You have another line now Phillip our friend,Go work on It! With respect…Art and Ruth

So sorry to hear of Phil’s passing and my heart and prayers goes out to his family and friends. May he rest in eternal peace and may his family find peace and comfort that he is in a better place now. Much love,
Firas Khalid

While I only met Phil on one previous occasion some years ago, I recently had the opportunity to travel to Terra Nova with his son Ian who was then going on to the old homestead in Lewisporte. For a good portion of the drive out, Ian shared with me some of the great memories he had of his Dad and regaled on what a prolific reader and poet he was,. You are could hear the pride in his voice.
I appreciate that while Phil was advanced in age and health, I know the entire family will take great comfort in all those memories and pride in his many accomplishments. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this unfortunate time.

So sorry to hear of Phil’s passing. Carol and I send our deepest condolences to all the family. I have very positive memories of working with Phil when I was.teaching Math and Chemistry at Lewisporte High School and he was the Math and Science Coordinator at the District office. And we served on the NLTA Executive together, commuting regularly from Lewisporte to meetings in St. John’s. Phil was always considerate and thoughtful, with the best interests of teachers and students in mind. Our sympathies to you all in your loss. Ed Hancock

Very sorry to hear of Phil’s passing. He was always very positive in his interactions with me, always put the students interest first and was usually the most interesting person in the room! My condolences to you all.

Stephan, Matthew, Ian and Andrea, and all of the Patey family, we are so very sorry to hear of your father’s death. As a child of this town, I have known of him for most of my life but I have had the true honour to have gotten to know him, if only briefly, in a deeper way in my two years now as minister here at St. Matthew’s. Stories of his life, the faith instilled in him at his mother’s knee and how all of that was comfort and guide for him in the latter stages of his earthly journey were a true privilege to listen to. The contributions he made to all of the areas of his life that you have mentioned in his obituary will be testament to his having used the gift of his life well. He especially gave faithful service here at St. Matthew’s as a very valued member of the Men’s Group. Until the days before he left to go into care, he was faithfully coming into the church office with his brown leather “satchel” and tending to the business at hand as the Treasurer for the group. I know he found friendship and purpose in the faithful business, the cooking and serving of food and in the fellowship and laughter shared around table with that group. Do know that he will be missed by many here and remembered fondly. We are thinking of you all and will hold all who knew and loved him best in our prayers as we gather for worship on Sunday, giving God thanks for the gift of his wonderful life. We pray there is comfort for you all in the knowledge that many others are thankful that his life touched theirs and will be remembering him along with you all
Reverend Paula Gale and the church family of St. Matthew’s United, Lewisporte, NL

To the Patey family….So sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing. Deepest condolences to all.

Sorry to hear of Philips passing. A very interesting man.. Rest in peace, friend.

I am so sorry to hear of Phil’s passing. I have many warm memories of him from when I worked with the NLTA.. My deepest sympathy to all his family.

I remember Phil from my university days. He was a very interesting person to know! Deepest sympathy to his family and friends. Rest In Peace!! – Jim Butler

I am so sorry to hear about your Dad. I have some special memories. He stayed with me here in St. Anthony in 2010 to go moose hunting. At the time, my daughter Hayley was very interested in rocks and I remember her showing off her little collection to your father. He was in his element explaining what they were and some interesting things about them. Funny enough, Hayley is now an Environmental Geoscience Major in University and loves rocks and fossils – she has started quite a collection herself. I have actually heard her exclaim over rock cuts when we have been driving in new areas. Again, so sorry for your loss – my deepest sympathies to you all.

Your description and list of accomplishments of your father were simply amazing. I wish I could have met him.
My thoughts are with your family.

Sending my heartfelt sympathies Andrea and family. May your father rest in peace and may the many memories of a life well-lived bring you all peace. His obituary is a lovely tribute to an obviously special man.
Big hugs to all.

Ian and family, thinking of you at this time.