Patrick Dennis Fleming passed from this life peacefully at 4:40 am September 22, 2018 in his home of forty-six years in Portland, Oregon at the age of 80.
Patrick is survived by his wife of fifty-four years, Marilyn Frances Mack*; his daughters Maria (husband John Kelly) and Andree Cannon-Fleming (husband Luke); his grandchildren Coeli Fleming-Kelly (21) and Ellis Cannon-Fleming (14) his sister Sharlene Lamberty, brothers Jerry and Michael, siblings-in-law Thea, Rick Lamberty, Loretta, Jerry Wurtz, and Ginger, cousins Don and Lassie Colebourn, and all of Marilyn’s siblings. In addition to his wife, he is also survived by the other seven community members of his generation (Paul and Janet Olson, Susan Kelly, Anne and Tom Caruso, and Ann and Steve Schneider), all the children and grandchildren of the beloved five-family-community, and life-long friends Toni and Jo Bechtold, long-time friends Bill and Marie Langenes. Patrick is preceded in death by his parents, Joe and Norma, older brothers Joe, Jim and wife Martha, and Ron and wife Peggy, and younger sister Kate Wurtz.
Patrick was born on March 23, 1938 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He graduated from Cathedral high school in 1957, and Carroll College in 1964 with a B.A. in English and Social Studies. He earned his M.Ed. from Eastern Oregon in 1968. He married Marilyn Frances Mack in August 1964. Maria was born in 1965; Andree in 1967. Marilyn and Patrick moved from Helena, Montana to Wallowa, Oregon in 1964 where they taught high school, managed an apartment/ motel, and coached year-round. His Wallowa high school football team won the state championship in 1967. They moved to Gladstone, Oregon to continue their careers as high school teachers, and Patrick continued year-round coaching at Rex Putnam high school.
No one can fully and accurately recreate Patrick’s colorful school and work records. Frankly, he found his passion in non-traditional educational settings. Patrick left secondary teaching to coordinate a latch key program for the YMCA in 1971. At St. Andrew Catholic Church, he spent a couple years teaching adult basic education as a volunteer while accompanying Maria and Andree’s school field trips, making weekly twelve loaves of bread, and pounds of granola for the so-named Big House community. By 1975 he found himself riding his bike from Baloney Joes to Rocky Butte Jail to Urban Indian League, and Portland Opportunity Industrial Center teaching literacy and numeracy to adults without high school diplomas. For the seven years of his daughters’ college tuition payments which coincided with Patrick’s 40s, he moved into a new profession, vocational rehabilitation, connecting people with training and work in fields new to them. At age fifty he went back to school to become accredited as a teacher for students with learning differences. He spent his last years before retirement at Edison high school teaching English.
St. Andrew Catholic Church received the majority of his volunteer attention, as a server and choir member during mass, as a CCD instructor, Bible Camp coordinator, Sunday mass ministry schedule-er, Dignity USA advocate, youth minister, pre-marriage prep participant, and counting the collections weekly in recent years. Notably in his retirement years, he walked from home to Emanuel hospital weekly to visit patients and distribute communion. His most beloved service was delivering food for St. Vincent de Paul to the neighborhood families surrounding the church.
After his dementia diagnosis Patrick developed new skills in drawing, mixing colors, and painting. He spent several years creating art at MIM Alzheimer’s Association weekly program, and later Mondays at the Portland Art Museum with the docents who not only brought art history to life but guided him in discovering his own talents. His artwork decorates the families’ homes. His well-remembered trip to Paris in fall 2013 showed a new level of art appreciation that motivated him for miles of walking to reach museums and art galleries. Less surprising was his participation in the Alzheimer Association and Marie Smith choirs.
A Vigil with story sharing is scheduled for Friday, September 28 at 7 pm at St. Andrew Catholic Church. A funeral mass is schedule for Saturday, September 29 at 11 am at St. Andrew Catholic Church. Green burial of the aqua-remains will follow the funeral at Rose City Cemetery at 5625 NE Fremont. Lunch reception will be held at St. Andrew Community Center after the burial (approximately 2 pm). All are welcome to attend any or all of the events. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to St. Andrew Nativity School. Condolences can be sent to the Fleming family at 2427 NE 16th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97212. The family would like to thank the St. Andrew community, Fleming and Mack families, and NE 16th avenue neighborhood (past and present) for their care and support, especially during these last years.