My brother Pat passed away this past weekend, but I will be the first to acknowledge that Pat knew how to live in a big way. He was a son and brother in my family, but he was a father and grandfather in his family.
Pat Sutherland as a brother was a unique experience because he fell right in the middle of the group of ten kids and was always singled out by my mom as a well-behaved kid who was never a problem. That gruesome duty of misbehavior fell to me and my twin brother Jerry because we were next in line to Pat and, unlike him, were not exceptional in the behavior department when we were little kids.
Pat was called Nature Boy by my dad because he loved the great outdoors and spent most of his life tromping around in the bush. He used to take us along on wilderness excursions during our kid years in College Park when that area was a considerable distance out of Red Deer.
Pat was always at home in the wilderness and lived to fish and hunt, even as a kid. He also became a wild man and a babe hound as he entered his teenaged years and was a young man with many hobbies. Sadly, I was too young to accompany Pat when he was out on the town as a teenager.
Pat always had a deep fondness for Red Deer because he was born here and had so many pleasant memories of this area. Little did I know that his recreational pursuits also included adventures at Sylvan Lake’s Varsity Hall during his formative years in Red Deer.
Pat left Red Deer as a 19 year old and joined the RCMP. He never actually moved back to Red Deer because the RCMP wanted him to work in another province after he received his training in Regina.
That province was BC, and Pat spent a few years in Richmond before he was moved to BC’s interior and served in the Prince George, Fraser Lake and Fort St John detachments. Pat had plenty of scars and stories to prove he was not working for Sheriff Andy Taylor in Mayberry during his police career.
The towns were as rambunctious as Pat and we were not sure whether he got his Wacker nickname via his job or his girlfriend/wife Lois (Paddy-Wack was her term of endearment for Pat).
Eventually Pat left the RCMP and tackled his second career with Worker’s Compensation in BC. He and Lois moved to Kamloops where they raised a family of three rambunctious boys who burnt off their energy in the great outdoors-just like Pat.
Pat was a study in contradiction who loved the limelight- and also disliked it, but I firmly believe it was important for me to acknowledge a guy who was one of Red Deer’s own.
The Wacker was also one of the toughest guys I ever met in my life. The final chapter of Pat’s life just proved that fact to me over and over. He will be missed for so many good reasons right here in Red Deer and in his adopted home of BC.
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