The irreplaceable Patrick Maloney

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Friends and neighbours have lost another precious part of our community with the passing of Patrick Maloney. Pat passed away peacefully at Dundas Manor on Sunday, September 15, at the age of 89. Those who knew him will be sad and grateful that they knew the man. Those who didn’t know him may wonder why his death gets this attention. But they should understand that here was a man who was, in every way, a vital part of this place for his entire life.

There was his time of public service. He served as a member of Kemptville town council for almost 20 years as a councillor, Deputy Reeve and Reeve, and also served on the County Council, the Land Division Committee, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, the Police Services Board and the Hydro Commission. That’s quite a list already, but there was so much more to Patrick J. Maloney.

Pat’s father came from Timoleague, Clonakilty, West Cork in Ireland, and that was a fact of life that never lost its importance for Daniel’s son. His connection with Ireland, shown in his songs, his jokes, in his entire persona, made him the municipality’s Irishman. Pat’s father and uncle had played a part in Irish independence before arriving in Canada in 1927 with their wives. Daniel and Edith came to this country with $37 to their name, and settled in Kemptville, where they raised their family, Pat among them.

Growing up in the village, as it was then, Pat developed a commitment to his community that had a lasting impact. He and Anita married and raised their three daughters, Colleen, Sarah and Kerry. In 1957, he was named to the committee which began the process of building Kemptville District Hospital, helping to choose the first Board of Directors for KDH. That same year, he was Assistant Manager of the Kemptville Royals hockey team.

He served as MC for many activities, including the annual Remembrance Day services at the Kemptville Legion and at the Sweetheart Brunch. At all these events, Pat was renowned for his jokes, which were an odd mix of the humourous and the groaners. Another lost asset, Harry Pratt, once pointed out that “you don’t have to laugh at his jokes because he’ll laugh for you”.

Pat was named Citizen of the Year of Kemptville in 2013, as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Chamber of Commerce Salute to Excellence Awards Gala. It was a mark of the respect and affection with which he was held by the people he lived among for so long.

He was a committed member of the congregation at Holy Cross Church, and was a member of the Knights of Columbus. It was at Holy Cross, also, that he shared another of the defining characteristics of Pat Maloney – his music. Music was simply part of the man. It was how I first got to know him, when I watched him sing with Peter and Malcolm in the Peter Patter Pickers. Sharing the stage with him over the years as we celebrated Paddy’s Day, or when he joined with the Keltic Knights in later years, every time he was enjoying himself and giving joy and pleasure to his listeners.

Pat was especially proud when one member of the family, granddaughter Ellen, returned to Ireland and took part in the Fleadh Cheoil [traditional Irish music festival) in Tullemore, County Offaly. In 2009, she finished first among 25 fiddlers in the Eastern North American Irish Fiddling championships held in New York City. Ellen, and his other grandchildren,Paul, Roslyn, Christopher, Austin and Caleb are the inheritance Pat and Anita have given to this country, this province, and this community.

His friends and neighbours (and that includes all of us in North Grenville, whether you know him or not), will miss Pat Maloney and join with Anita and the family in celebrating a man worth knowing. Ar dheis Dé do raibh a anam.

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