Mar 31, 2003

I should eulogize Uncle Pat, who died Saturday after a protracted fight with cancer. Pat was the funny uncle, always doing impressions (Johnny Carson, Willie Nelson, Jimmy Carter, Grandpa Bartlett, etc.), always carried around in his wallet something that he would introduce as “my pride and joy”, then reveal as a picture of a bottle of Pride detergent and a bottle of Joy dish soap. There’s home movies of him walking around the living room with us kids probably circa 1970, with the music from 2001 playing on the stereo (which of course the home movies don’t indicate), with his false teeth popping out of his mouth and his hair down over his forehead, his arms out in front of him like a zombie. The whole Pearce clan were a bunch of comedians, but no one held a candle to Pat.

For someone with such a sense of humor, you can’t really say he had a happy or worthwhile life, although I’m sure there must have been times when things were going well for extended periods. He and Lois seemed to do fine for most of the time they were married, he certainly never had any trouble talking to people, ingratiating himself with people, doesn’t seem to have had much difficulty getting a job. Keeping them was the big problem early on, I think because he wasn’t that interested in them, but for as long as I can remember he was working for the state, in some department where, according to Dad, his primary function was to cut articles out of newspapers. But from around the time he started drinking seriously in the early ’80’s, things went into a gradual decline from which they never really recovered. Even with the several years he spent with Dorlis, they seemed to do well together, but it was always hard to know what was going on since they didn’t have a phone and didn’t always show up at family gatherings. The last couple of years he was making a lot more consistent appearances, probably because he knew his time was limited. Last summer when we were there with the kids, you saw a glimmer of the old self, but it wasn’t the same. One would think there must’ve been a lot of soul-searching during his last year, but with Pat who knows. I’d almost prefer that he maintained his old attitude towards life right up to the end.

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