James Howard Patrie

July 21st, 1934April 15th, 2022

Jim passed away on April 15, 2022, in Boulder, Colorado.

Jim was born in 1934 to Armand and Charlotte (Hickory) Patrie in Chicopee, Massachusetts. He was raised there with his seven siblings in a French-speaking household and attended French-language Catholic schools until he entered college at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Soon after graduating U-Mass with a degree in mechanical engineering, Jim joined the Navy, where he earned his wings as a carrier-qualified Naval Aviator and then served variously as pilot and copilot of a transport flight crew ferrying military VIPs to ordinary and exotic locales all over the world. In 1959 in Washington, DC he met Maureen Stead, a young English woman who had originally come to America to live and work for just a couple of years. They married in 1961 and began raising a family that included three children and several cats.

Jim attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander before leaving the Navy in 1963 and embarking on a civilian career as an engineer. At home, Jim liked to stay busy. Over his lifetime, he was truly a master of all trades: in addition to keeping the family cars running and looking good with services ranging from bodywork/paint to engine replacement, he used his skills and ingenuity to plan and execute epic home improvements, serving as his own architect, civil engineer, excavator, mason, carpenter, electrician, plumber, mudder, roofer, glazier, cabinet maker, painter, tiler, carpet layer, HVAC technician, landscaper, and more. Jim’s skill and attention to detail consistently produced results that were as good as or better than what one would expect from professionals.

Jim’s sense of humor was unparalleled, featuring jokes and remarks ranging from unabashed ribaldry to expert-level sarcasm, puns, and physical comedy that routinely left family and friends howling with laughter. Even in his final months he still found ways to catch his caregivers off-guard with a degree of unexpected wit that they found noteworthy.

Having grown up in a large household during the Great Depression, Jim was imbued with a sense of thrift that stuck with him throughout his life. He had an eye for a bargain, almost always bought used cars, and rarely bought anything that wasn’t on sale. “Let’s go out for dinner” usually meant a visit to a local fast-food restaurant, and in his later years, one of his favorite meals was a simple cheeseburger and fries from McDonald’s.    

Jim was an avid outdoorsman and was particularly fond of mountains. Summer vacations often involved towing a pop-up camper to the western US to visit many of America’s national parks, where he and his family went on day hikes and multi-day backpacking treks amidst breathtaking alpine landscapes. Jim whetted his appetite for mountain climbing by summiting Mount Rainier as a college student, and later in life, he climbed several others including Whitney, St. Helens, Adams, Shasta, Kilimanjaro, and Ben Nevis. After retirement, Jim enjoyed traveling the world with Maureen. Through a combination of international flights and transcontinental road trips in a truck with a fifth-wheel camper, they visited all seven continents and at least 52 countries and territories together. Among their more notable travels were a 10,000-mile road trip from Minneapolis to Panama as part of an RV caravan, and a somewhat longer air and sea voyage to South Georgia Island to visit the grave of Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Jim is survived by his children Anne-Marie Patrie (John Schneider) of Louisville, CO, Bryan Patrie of Palo Alto, CA, and Mitch Patrie (Masako Morishita) of Ann Arbor, MI; brother David Patrie of Chicopee, MA; granddaughters Hayley Cashdollar (Jason Cashdollar) of Louisville, CO and Savannah Schneider (Aaron Moberg) of Lafayette, CO; great-granddaughter Sylvie Cashdollar; and many nieces and nephews and other relatives.

Jim was predeceased by his wife, Maureen (2017); parents, Armand and Charlotte; brothers Gerald, Robert, and Thomas Patrie; and sisters Jacqueline Willemain, Janice Demers, and Carol Rogalski.

Jim immensely enjoyed watching documentary programs on PBS. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a charitable donation to the PBS Foundation in his name (https://www.pbs.org/about/about-pbs/support-pbs/).

Services

A celebration of life luncheon will be held on Sunday, May 29th. Please email [email protected] for details.

Cemetery

None

Location

None

Church

None

Condolences

Jim and I were junior officer squadronmates in the transport operation mentioned above, from about 1959 to 61 or so. Though the rank structure of individual crews precluded us from flying together very often, we did share a lot of daily life, and never gave up the bond. I'll not give it up now. My memories of Jim are many and warm. I don't need a photo to recall the forward thrust of his lower jaw when delivering a strong opinion. So much more. I miss you my friend and share in your family's loss, JIM TIGHT