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.
Memorial Gardens, Beaumont Hamel Way, Galway