Richard W. Pattee

Dick wasn't the best at anything. Yet, he was the best of everything. He had an enormous and universal capacity for wonder, whether it be about science, nature, or people's stories. Friends and strangers alike were grilled relentlessly about minute details of their lives. Few escaped interrogation.

Dick had a rare ability to connect with children. He would gravitate toward them, crouch into the "Pattee Squat" to put himself at eye level, and engage in deep and earnest conversation. We suspect that this came so easily because he never matured beyond the age of twelve.

Unlike most 12-year-olds, Dick was equally happy eating ice cream or broccoli. He ate continually and indiscriminately. His tremendous ability to consume calories was a marvel to behold, eclipsed only by the glacial pace at which he did so.

As a thru-hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail, he adopted the whimsical trail name Giraffe and never gave it up, often introducing himself to strangers with an enthusiastic "Hi, I'm Giraffe!" Once he got started walking long trails it seemed he couldn't be stopped. He volunteered extensively with the Peninsula Trails Coalition and Olympic National Park, and enjoyed maintaining trails almost as much as he enjoyed using them. The mountains and trails which Giraffe so loved are grieving with us.

Dick was an avid cyclist ever since getting his first bicycle at a police auction in fifth grade. He will be sorely missed by members of the Sequim and Port Angeles cycling community. Everyone agrees that, although great fun to ride with, he was utterly worthless to draft behind.

To his friends in the Sequim Bay Rowing Club he was known as Richard, in part because it sounded sophisticated and nautical, but primarily because it was easier to hear his name when he was being reprimanded for his poor form. "Weigh enough and glide, Richard."

For most of his adult life, Dick refused to accept the medical wisdom that he should stop living. He joyfully played the hand he was dealt, never thought to fold, and felt lucky to still be in the game. Inevitably, entropy triumphed on August 12. After 59 years of defying the Second Law of Thermodynamics, Dick's colossal heart finally broke, leaving us all heartbroken.

Dick was a lifelong environmentalist. In the ultimate act of recycling, several of Dick's organs have already given new life and renewed hope to their new owners. May his gentle and adventurous spirit live on through them.

Giraffe leaves behind his adored and adoring wife Heidi (The Zookeeper). This comes as no surprise, since he had been leaving her behind on trails, bikes, and skis for their entire 43 years together. He delighted in embarrassing her by telling the story of how they first met at "Summer Science Camp for Nerds" at age sixteen.

Dick is warmly remembered by a community of beloved friends and family whose lives have been made richer, more joyful, and decidedly more adventurous by his friendship.

Published in The Peninsula Daily News from Aug. 29 to Aug. 30, 2018