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In Memory

Pat McKenna


EULOGY by Joe Demart

I.                Introduction

When I was honored by Sue and the kids to give Pat’s eulogy I started searching for the one word which is the Essence of Pat.  I came up with Loyal.  Pat and Sue’s grandson, Aiden, when asked to describe his Grandpa, nailed it - Aiden said it was how brave Pat was, throughout his life and especially at the end.  Many people may not have realized this about Pat, because he did not think of himself in that way, nor did he like to draw too much attention to himself, but Pat was extremely brave throughout his life.  I’ll return to Pat’s bravery and loyalty.

II.             History

Pat grew up in West Irondequoit and attended grammar school at St. Margaret Mary’s School,  graduated High School from Cardinal Farley Military Academy ( class of1963), and served his country by enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, stationed in Okinawa. 

He had a successful 30 year career at Kodak. Pat was a valuable member of the “Make Team”, they made the emulsion which required both science and art skills. 

Pat served his community through 30 years of active duty in the St. Paul Boulevard Fire Department. He continued in service as the President of the St. Paul Boulevard Exempt’s Club. 

After retiring from Kodak, Pat joined the Loomis Armored Car Service.  Pat says he went to work at Loomis when the rain kept him from playing golf.  Sue thought he really went to work for Loomis so he could buy and carry a pistol. 

III.           Sue & Pat

Soon after his discharge, Pat met the love of his life.  As it’s told; Joe Hill and Pat walked into McGreal’s (a popular Irondequoit bar in the 60’s). A certain Miss Sue Brown noticed Pat and thought, “I have to meet him.” Joe introduced her to Pat.  As the saying goes – the rest is history.  They were married the following year on August 8th, 1970.  According to Sue, they had a very memorable wedding, the “Talk of the Town” because Pat passed out on the altar shortly after their vows.  Sue thought; “I guess I was too much for him!  All Sue could hear was my father saying, “Are they married?”  Of course, she found out afterwards that he used to faint in church as a child; something he passed on to at least 2 of their children! Hey guys, did Pat ever tell us this story!!!!

Sue and Pat celebrated their 46th anniversary this year. Sue reflects - we were so fortunate to have 46 years together (still not enough!).   They were blessed with three awesome children, Ryan, Meghan and Duffy, and five beautiful grandchildren, Paige, Maddie, Aiden, Ruby and Libby, as well as their daughter-in-law and son-in- law, Sheri and Jason.

Over the last several years, Sue and Pat enjoyed traveling.  They made it Ireland twice, London, Bermuda, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, and cruises to Alaska and the Caribbean.” 

IV.           His Kids

When asking Ryan, Meghan, and Duffy to recall favorite memories growing up with Pat,

Ryan memories as a kid were always going to Silver Stadium to catch a ballgame.

As an adult he and his Dad went hiking and camping in the high peaks in the Adirondacks. Only problem was, they forgot to bring the tent and ended up sleeping outside under the stars.  Sherri, you better buy Ryan a tent if he offers to take you and the kids camping. 

Meg remembers drinking pop at O’Loughlin’s and climbing on the rocks.  Meghan, when was the last time you had a pop at O’Lies.  One of her funniest memories as an adult was a fishing trip on the Genesee River. Pat took Meghan, Jason and Maddie, fishing.  When Pat decided it was time to leave, it was time to leave!   After asking if everyone was ready, he thought someone said, “Yes”, he gunned the boat and ended up tossing Jason, in the Genesee River. He said it was an accident, but Meg and Sue don’t believe it. 

Duffy had a special relationship with his Father.  Pat and Duffy were ‘Best Friends”!  Duffy will miss his Dad asking him every national holiday if he had gone out to get the mail yet. When Duffy was younger, he would go to the mailbox before he realized that it was a joke!  Even after Duffy grew up, Pat tried to see if he could fool him.  If Duffy could tell Pat one thing, he wants Pat to know he’ll make sure that the garbage can is out at the curb on Friday.  Duffy – you are my hero. 

When asking the kids how Pat (and Sue) influenced their lives, they reflected; “Everything we have and who we are the results of the sacrifices that our parents made.  “We were lucky enough to spend the last week at his side to thank him and tell him that we love him.

V.              Bravery

I‘ll return to Aiden’s characterization of his Grandpa:

Pat was first taught bravery by his Father.  His Father battled polio for most of Pat and his brother, Bob’s years growing up.

Near at the end of his life, racked with pain, Pat demonstrated great courage and bravery.  The cancer came on unbelievably fast.  He showed no sign of fear, and he would never let us think he was worried.  When the doctors informed him he had a tumor on his hip (initially the size of golf ball), Pat told his friends that it was probably a “Titleist”! 

In his final few days, as the cancer was spreading rapidly and he was heavily medicated, Pat would continually wake up briefly with a one-liner and a little smirk. A few examples

Sue worried when he was in pain or restless.  She grabbed his hand and said “It’s OK”… Pat opened his eyes, laughed, and puzzlingly whispered, “How do you know?”

After receiving the worst and hopeless bad news, heavily medicated in the hospital, he looked around and asked, “no fruit basket? …hmm I would have thought I would receive a fruit basket”.   Well Pat, you’ll be happy to know that a fruit basket arrived at your house the other day!

Pat maintained his humor throughout his ordeal.  I believe he used his humor to help his family accept and understand.  He was thinking of his family.  He wanted them to know he was okay, that he loved them and not to worry.  Yes, this is bravery and courage.

VI.           Loyalty

Pat is a model of being a loyal husband and father, and grandfather.  The kids told Sue, we could count on him to come through with no hesitation.  Whether it was picking up a grandkid or fixing something, he’d be in his truck and headed over in minutes.  Pat’s not a big talker, but he loved talking about the grandchildren. 

Loyal to his life friendships, he met monthly with his St Margaret mates, and kept in touch and attended reunions of his Farley class.  He had friendships which lasted his lifetime. 

Pat was a loyal worker with a very strong work ethic.   He never complained about the long hard swing shifts.

Pat was a loyal fireman.  One of his achievements was being elected Chief of Company 4.  Company 4 is actually a gang with no purpose.  When the company was formed by a bunch of knuckle heads, there was no doubt Pat would be the leader.  He will always be our “Chief”. 

Pat was a loyal friend, always willing to help whenever you asked.  He would there for anything needing to be done.

He was loyal to his sport teams, and enjoyed his favorite brands of beer and Irish whiskey.  He was always trying to get the guys to drink his Rolling Rock and Jameson.  One of us will have to step up to the task – there are two bottles of Jameson left at Danny’s camp.  He loved the Red Sox later in life, tossing the Yankees out of his life.  Duffy and I will never forgive him this big mistake. 

He liked being outside, golfing, hiking, boating.  For many years he had a motorcycle and enjoyed cruising around, or just sitting in the backyard overlooking the Genesee River.

He enjoyed the annual trip to Cranberry Lake with his gang and the kids.  We had too many adventures and near misses to convey today.  Jeff says; I never saw him wear sneakers. He always had Docksiders on. He was the best dressed camper at Cranberry Lake.  Jeff, the Docksiders were cheaper than sneakers. He got them off the black market from the Bamann brothers.

If you asked Pat what his favorite places were, he would tell you Ecuador and Cabo San Lucas.  Earlier this year, he went on a golfing trip to Cabo with his St. Paul Buddies, Gary, Buddie, Danny, and Jack!  He had the best time!  It was very special to him.

He loved turkey hunting in Gouvernuer with Danny, Gary and Joe twice a year.  It was fun and we have a lot of good memories.  Pat - - Gary, Danny and I went hunting in Gouvernuer the past weekend.  It was not the same without you, Pat!  Sue, many of the friends and acquaintances Pat made were sadden by his passing.

All of us will think of Pat and remember our friendship when we hear certain things and Patter-isms:  

“Time to head out” – the last beer at the exempts.

“Lo foremo” – a Kodak work group phrase his working compatriots used . It means “we will do that”.

“The Rig” – the current SUV or pickup he was driving.

VII.         Close

In closing,

Pat, we loved you living, and we love you still.  We are all going to miss you, but thanks for the pocketful of memories. Many people come and go in our lives, but very few make a worthwhile memorable impression. You Did.

You were Dependable, Loving, Loyal, and Funny.

 You will be remembered as a great Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother, Uncle and Friend.

You were loyal to all of us.

You were Brave. 

We love you Pat, Go, be with God.

The Irish Blessing:

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

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10/07/16 06:02 PM #1    

Randy Kuster (Exempt)

So sorry for Our loss of Pat McKenna. He was a good friend to all, & will be missed.

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