Patrick Ford Dwyer|
April 14, 1961 ~ June 4, 2013
On June 4, 2013 Pat finally decided that he was ready to end his fight with ALS, and he set sail from us on a quintessentially perfect sunny Northwest afternoon surrounded by family and friends.
Pat was the fifth of the six Dwyer sons of John and Elizabeth Ann Dwyer. From an early age, Pat loved cars, and he graduated with distinction from South Seattle Community College in automotive mechanics. He then found out that boats had even more interesting engines, and he began working as a fisherman and boat engineer. The fishing life proved even more rewarding when he worked aboard the fishing vessel LYNDA out of Ketchikan, Alaska with his future wife Jennifer Gore, a lifelong Ketchikan resident.
Pat went from fishing vessel worker to fishing vessel owner in 1986, forming the company St. George Marine at age 24. He worked with Norquest, Trident, Icicle and Alaska General Seafoods. He and Jennifer became the justifiably proud parents of Brenna and Sean. He coached his kids in baseball, soccer and basketball, and played indoor soccer with numerous friends.
Pat was always the go-to guy for any question on all things mechanical. Family, friends, and industry cohorts would call him from literally around the world for answers to how to get something mechanical fixed, or even which car to buy. He excelled at buying and selling vehicles and equipment, finding gems of sales at auctions and on Craig's List, almost never making a bad deal (a couple VWs proved exceptions).
He was also the brawny on-site leader in any major home project, from taking down trees to putting on roofs to wiring a house. He happily dispensed advice at no charge on everything from national health care to the state of the electrical power grid in Kenmore.
Pat was diagnosed with ALS in 2005, and his initial reaction to the diagnosis was that he had so many things he wanted yet to accomplish - his only concession to ALS then became a change to his timetable. While others would counsel a protective and conservative approach to life, Pat accelerated, working hard to accomplish all of the goals that he had before his time ran out.
Though afflicted with ALS, he continued to increase his leadership role within the Alaska crabbing community, serving on the Alaska Bering Sea Crab Board, playing a key part in the Alaska Bering Sea Crab Co-op and Crab Rationalization, and he was a leader in regulatory and governmental affairs involving crabbing.
Pat and Jen's house was almost never empty, and served as a warm, happy way station for family and friends. When asked how he was doing Pat invariably responded "I'm doing alright, how are you?" His spirit somehow remained both positive and undaunted, and he made ALS seem like a nettlesome handicap instead of a fatal disease.
Pat fought ALS without giving in for over eight years, displaying grace, humor, resilience, innovation and cantankerousness to show his goals for life and family would not be held up by this insidious disease. Pat transitioned from a hands-on engineer to a (mostly) patient instructor - he would be the brains if you would be his hands. With his remarkable memory of electrical and mechanical configurations and intuition in diagnosing and resolving confounding boat and car problems he continued to be the go-to guy until he could no longer speak, and even then he still had an opinion.
Pat was preceded in death by his mother Elizabeth Ann Dwyer. He is survived by his treasured wife Jennifer, a tireless advocate for ALS fund raising and research whose amazing resilience, absolute perseverance, and remarkable warmth made all the support Pat needed a reality. His daughter and son, Brenna and Sean, are fully set to carry on the family legacy. Pat is also survived by his Dad, John Dwyer; his 5 brothers John, Mike, Paul, Jim and Phil; and many, many greatly loved family and friends. The Dwyers cannot thank them enough for all the years of wonderful support and caring.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Patrick's Church (2702 Broadway Ave E. Seattle) at 2:00 PM on Monday, June 10, with a reception to follow afterwards at the Lake Union Cafe; (3119 Eastlake Ave E, Seattle). In lieu of flowers, at Pat's request the family asks that donations be made to the ALS charity ALS Therapy Development Institute, the world's largest research laboratory that focuses only on finding a treatment for ALS: http://yfals.als.net/4PatD/ Please note in the comments: In honor of Pat Dwyer. Family and friends can post and view comments in an on-line tribute page to Pat: www.dignitymemorial.com/acacia-funeral-home/en-us/index.page
Published in The Seattle Times on June 9, 2013