Patrick Edward Melarkey
1931 - 2020
W.F. Gormley & Sons
2015 Capitol Ave
Sacramento, CA
Patrick Edward Melarkey, a beloved father, grandfather, and friend to many passed away peacefully on February 25, 2020 with family by his side in Sacramento, California at the age of 88.Patrick is survived by his children, Sharon (Greg), William (April), Kevin, former wives Barbara "Lexy" (Whitlock) Barrett (Keith), and Jan (Gillam) Melarkey. Patrick is also predeceased by his sisters Barbara Herrero and Margaret Hull. Devoted grandfather to Andrew (Renee) and Stephen Thomas, Mary, Margaret, Kathleen and Elizabeth Melarkey. Also survived by nieces, nephews, cousins and sister in law Norma Whitlock Wilson. Born November 17, 1931 in Sacramento to Southern Pacific railroad car inspector Edward Warren Melarkey and Mercy Hospital nurse Eunice (Dwyer) Melarkey, Patrick proudly lived independently in the home that he was raised in, up until the time of his passingfrom natural causes. Pat would certainly be the first to say, "he had a good run". He is fondly remembered as representing the best of all the good Melarkey family genes intelligence, humor, compassion, ambition, social activism, extreme generosity, and lots of talking and storytelling. Many stories involved the neighborhood he was raised in and the Sacramento friends and families he grew up with. He was proficient at baseball, basketball (Christian Brothers High School and St Mary's College, Texas) and a sport that was unusual for a railroad car inspector's son in the 1940's: polo. His youth and highly accomplished polo skills led him to state ranking and involved lots of travel for matches up and down the seaboard of California, accompanied by his beloved horse Prince and his loyal coach Merle Foster. Pat's education started at Newton Booth Elementary School but moved to Immaculate Conception Grammar School under the watchful eye of his mother, who worked in the kitchen to offset the tuition. Pat concluded his K-12 education at Christian Brothers High School (CBHS) where he recently celebrated 70 years as an alumnus. Until just recently, Pat rarely missed the monthly breakfast with his "CB" boys from the class of 1949 at the Pancake Circus, and other CBHS events. After high school Pat meandered from Sacramento City College, to St. Mary's College in San Antonio, Texas, completed Air Force pilot training, returned to Sacramento State College, and concluded at Creighton University School of Dentistry in Omaha, Nebraska in 1961 where he also served as Class President. Pat worked as a dentist for 46 years caring for children, the disabled, those with means and those without; he had a captive audience for his storytelling but was always consumed with the dental health of all who came his way. He founded Preventive Dental Systems which included a dental clinic for disabled children and provided dental education and screening for Head Start. In the 1960s, Pat was drawn into political life by his interest in the provision of medical, and especially dental, care for the poor. He became involved in state and local politics and in 1970, ran against former Sacramento Mayor and four-term County Supervisor Les Wood. In an upset, Pat won the majority in a three way race in the primary, and he was easily reelected in 1974. A vocal advocate of citizen governance and term limits, Pat did not seek a third term in 1978. During his years as County Supervisor (1971-1979), Pat continued his interest in health care provision. He engineered the sale of the Sacramento County Hospital to the UC Davis Medical School, the first step in the creation of the "Stockton Boulevard Medical Corridor" in ensuing decades. During these years, with federal funding support provided by the Clean Water Act, Sacramento County led efforts to clean up the water in the Sacramento River. Dozens of antiquated and often inadequate sewer plants up and down the Sacramento River were closed or modernized, and the county coordinated the successful effort to build the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant in Elk Grove. Pat was also concerned about the preservation of Sacramento's architectural heritage, particularly of the many Victorian homes in Downtown and Midtown Sacramento. He led the unsuccessful effort to Save the Alhambra Theatre, then located at Alhambra and J Streets. Pat was an early and energetic advocate of recycling as part of Sacramento County's solid waste management program. After his retirement from the Board of Supervisors, his colleagues on the board named the Solid Waste Transfer Station & Recycling Center on Florin-Perkins Road in his honor. He remained interested in other county programs, such as treatment for the alcohol and drug dependent, in addition to more broad-based efforts, including those to organize farm workers, and to end the war in Vietnam. He served as Chairman of the Sacramento County McGovern for President Campaign in 1972. He was also instrumental in the effort to move the Kansas City Kings to Sacramentoandserved for a few of the initial seasons as the team's dentist. Further extending himself, Pat became involved in the ownership of a bar and restaurant on Broadway named Melarkey's Place.A popular watering hole for political types and locals, it became a nightclub that launched many great local and national musical talents, and brought to Sacramento numerous other well-known and popular artists. Among these many performers were folk legends The Kingston Trio, and Glenn Yarbrough of Limeliters fame, two of Pat's favorites. Thenightclubalso featured exceptional jazz performers including McCoy Tyner,Horace Silver, Abbey Lincoln, Billy Cobham, and George Cables. Local favorites receiving a boost from Melarkey's Place performances included Bourgeois Tagg, Little Charlie and The Nightcats, Spydels (Mumbo Gumbo),and Charlie Peacock. Pat's other interests included snow skiing trips with his family and friends. He enjoyed the outdoors, and took many camping and fishing trips (often in his beloved 4WD Van) with his children to the wilds of California, Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, Canada, and Alaska. In his later years, Pat became an accomplished horticulturist, growing dahlia and especially amaryllis bulbs. He harvested flowers in their hundreds, which he was always pleased to present to family and friends. Pat will be genuinely missed by all who loved him. He was always generous and kind and concerned for the well-being of others. The family wishes to thank all those who helped keep Pat socially active in his later years rides to the Limelight for Kings games, CBHS events, Over the Hill Gang, Truman Club luncheons, and church. Our family is also grateful for the dignified and respectful care given to Pat by Dr. Andrew Factor and the Sutter Hospice team. We deeply appreciate all the kind words and prayers that continue to help with our healing. Due to the current precautions related to the Covid 19 virus the family will have a memorial service, at a future date, so that we can celebrate together. Please refer to the W.F. Gormley & Sons website for details ( If you would like to be contacted personally when details are finalized, please call (916) 813-8553. Interment at St. Mary's Cemetery will be private. Donations in Pat's memory can be made to Christian Brothers High School or to a charitable organization of your choice.
Published by The Sacramento Bee on Mar. 15, 2020.
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W.F. Gormley & Sons
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Daniel added:
Colin and I were with Pat at Dads old house. We were in the back yard and he had sooo many stories about Sacramento and Mom and Dad... his incredible memory was very precise. Every little detail. Unbelievable!!
Kathleen Clark (Sullivan)
March 24, 2020
We, Sullivans, loved Pat in so many ways. He was our Dentist, great friend, great owner of Melarkey's Place. He was especially caring to our brother, John, when John was going through cancer. Our family deeply appreciated his attendance at his funeral and our Mom's and Dad's funerals, too. We shared our wonderful Irish heritage which gave us an automatic deeper connection! We pray God will comfort the family and all of us who knew him. What a privilege it is to have known him!
Kathleen Clark (Sullivan)
March 24, 2020
Pat Melarkey was a dear friend of mine ever since the days of Maurice's American Bar and Connie's Depression Kitchen where we held monthly Nor Cal Doo Wop Society shows. With other close friends Pat and I shared many an Irish tale, whiskey and song. Pat was also my dentist and I'll tell you, you haven't lived until your dentist puts his foot in your lap to give himself extra leverage during an extraction. His compassion and activism knew no bounds. Like one of St. Nick's elves, on Dec. 24, Pat secretly left poinsettias and wreaths on the doorsteps of his many Sac friends. I have seen accounts of his unsuccessful attempt to save the Alhambra but no comments as to his very successful effort to save the Memorial Auditorium. Pat spearheaded this meaningful endeavor and added myself to the steering committee. We won by 8 votes. So, among other things, Pat is the reason the Memorial Auditorium still stands to honor Veterans and is enjoyed by all as a multi use facility. I will miss him and know he was one of the last of the good guys. May the road rise up to meet you my friend.
Tom Fay
March 20, 2020
A Profoundly Good Man. I'm Still Voting Pat for Mayor. Condolences to all....
Scott Westlake
March 16, 2020
So saddened to hear this news. He was an amazing man and father. I miss the days of playing with his daughter Sharon at their home on Piedmont Drive. I remember he built an amazing playhouse in the backyard and then another structure in the backyard that we made into a haunted house one Halloween. So many memories. My condolences to the family ❤
Tracy Smith-Milstead
March 15, 2020
Pat was my first dentist when I lived here in 1974-1976 and returned in 1984 when Bill was starting to practice. I've continued as a patient there ever since, but Pat and I were friendly for years, even being on the Irish-American Caucus together in early 2000. I am saddened to hear of his passing. He had that Irish sense of humor that always had me giggling. Rest in Paradise Pat.
Jan Kelley
March 13, 2020
I was saddened to hear about Dr. Melarkey. I loved this man. I worked for him for several years as his dental assistant. He was quite the character. He had a heart of gold, very generous. Rest in peace, I will miss you.
Sandy Littlefield
March 13, 2020
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