Patrick William Reidy, age 87, of 719 Jupiter Drive, Madison, Wisconsin, passed away peacefully on Sunday, July 18, 2021 at the Agrace Hospice In-Patient Facility in Madison, Wisconsin.
Patrick was born in the middle of the Great Depression at Saint Vincent Hospital in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on January 10, 1934 to Jeremiah and Elizabeth (Cohen) Reidy. While growing up on the family farm outside Wayside, Wisconsin, he attended St. Patrick's Grade School in Maple Grove and then graduated from De Pere High School in 1952. Thereafter, he attended St. Norbert College, graduating with a B.A. in Business Administration in 1956. Later he earned an M.B.A. from UW-Oshkosh in 1973.
Patrick married Ann Marie Rebman on October 12, 1963 in De Pere. They had two children and adopted two more. They divorced in 1973 and Patrick did not remarry.
His first job out of college was in the Business Office at St. Norbert College, where he worked from 1956 to 1973. He then accepted a position as Director of Finance at Mount Scenario College in Ladysmith, Wisconsin where he spent a significant amount of time raising foundational gifts, critical to keeping the institution in operation. During his tenure, he was acting President, before he left in 1992 to work at the University of Wisconsin Foundation in Madison, Wisconsin.
Pat was known within the ranks of the Foundation’s heavy travelers, earning status as a “road warrior,” driving every two weeks across the state of Wisconsin and meeting with leaders of business and philanthropic organizations. He was instrumental in helping the Foundation increase its endowment over the billion-dollar mark in this period. He retired after thirteen years of service in February, 2006 at the age of 72.
In retirement, Patrick focused his energy into volunteer work with Agrace Hospice and the local Retired Seniors Volunteer Program. His hospice work entailed visiting up to twenty people a week living in local care facilities. He would meet roommates and add them to his personal visitation list, continuing to stop by after the hospice patient was gone. Patrick also was active in volunteering to support the city of Middleton elections when living there.
Patrick was a member of St. Bernard's Parish in Middleton, where he was on the Finance Committee. Up until the last few years when he stopped driving, he regularly attended mass and was always to be found up front and to the right near the entrance.
Patrick was an Irishman by both ethnicity and spirit. All his grandparents had emigrated from Ireland to the United States during the Potato Famine in 1848. He displayed a gentle yet strong Irish optimism throughout his life, which carried him through the challenges of being struck by polio in 1950 in his sophomore year of high school, just five years before the release of the Salk vaccine. Though paralyzed from the waist on down, Patrick moved through life propelled by forearms that would put Popeye to shame. Had it not been for polio, Patrick stated he would have continued to have been a farmer.
Patrick also was a Green Bay Packer fan. He attended games as a child at the former East Stadium before Lambeau Field was built, and later attended the famous Ice Bowl game at Lambeau. He admired the tenacity and grit in the play of Brett Favre, and was pained to see his favorite player in another team's uniform.
Those who met Patrick and spent any time with him would be regaled with stories about the events in his life. Besides the Ice Bowl and countless other tales, was the time when Vince Lombardi excoriated him for the Saint Norbert Library’s having no books on the building’s brand-new shelves. Or when he shook John F. Kennedy’s hand, and asked “How’s it going, Dick?” in an obvious reference to a then campaign opponent. Patrick was a true raconteur.
If you had to summarize Patrick in a few words, those would be steadiness, consistency, loyalty, faithfulness, and perseverance. He played the cards he was dealt, although circumstance and life gave him plenty of opportunity to fold. If he couldn’t grab a football, fade back, and toss it, he could wrap his left arm around a tree to stabilize himself and throw perfect spirals.
Patrick was preceded in death by his parents and siblings. He is survived by his children Sean (Debra), Jeremy (Sandra), Erin, and Nicole (Leonard), and grandchildren Sydney (Jeremy), Bennett (Sean), and Sydney (Sean).
Funeral services will be held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Kellnersville, Wisconsin on Saturday, July 31, 2021 at 11:00 AM. Relatives and friend may greet the family on Saturday, July 31, 2021 at the church from 9:00 AM until the time of service at 11:00 AM. Thereafter, Patrick will be laid to rest next to his brothers, Martin and Charles, nearby in Saint Patrick's Cemetery in Maple Grove.
Patrick’s family wishes to acknowledge those who helped care for him. First, the staff at the Oak Park Place Assisted Living facility, where he lived for the last seven years, helped Patrick have as much independence as he could. Secondly, the tireless staff at the UW Health University and East Madison Hospitals helped him bounce back from each and every stay. Finally, we are grateful for the comfort provided by the staff at the Agrace Hospice facility. In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family requests that donations be made in Patrick’s name to Agrace Hospice. Details can be found at https://www.agrace.org/donate/donate-today/
The Reinbold and Pfeffer Family Funeral Home of Kellnersville is assisting the family with arrangements. Expressions of sympathy can be made to the family by visiting www.lakeshorefamilyfuneralhomes.com
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