It’s been 24 years since Pat Moran died but memories of his wit, his charm and his athletic ability live on through those who knew him.
Pat died young. He was only 36 when he lost his battle with lung cancer; leaving a hole in the heart of his home community of Maynooth.
Spending time with his mother Frances, looking through old pictures, Pat is always smiling, usually wearing some athletic uniform and often raising a beer. His mother says he was friendly with everyone – it was one of his gifts.
“He had friends all over the place,” Frances says. “When he was sick, and in the hospital, there were always people visiting and it made me feel better. I think of him every day.”
In 1975 Pat was part of a group of young men who rented “The Ranch” in Maynooth. He had been working away at GM but would return home on the weekends to play ball or hockey, to fish and to catch-up with friends. There was always a party happening and after the Arlington closed for the night, the action would move to the Ranch.
“It was a close group of young men,” remembers friend Gail Robinson. “They had a tremendous amount of fun and when you walked into the Ranch on a Friday night you felt like you were home.”
The Ranch was the location of dances that would be so packed you couldn’t fall down if you wanted to. There was always a card game, lots of beer and guitars.
“They all played ball and there were tournaments every long weekend,” Gail says. “In the winter there were hockey tournaments like Tri-County. There was just always an atmosphere of fun.”
Gail remembers Pat for his never-ending jokes and for his ability to tease. According to Gail, he knew how to push all the right buttons.
The Ranch burned down in 1980 signalling the end of an era in Maynooth but the fun continued in other ways and always involved Pat.
After his death in 1991, friends and family were devastated.
In 1995 a Ranch reunion was held and Pat’s friends came up with the idea of starting the Pat Moran Memorial Trust Scholarship Fund. Donations were made and by 1997 the first scholarship was awarded. The fund has helped approximately 71 youths since its inception with the first recipient graduating in 1996. Since that time the fund has distributed over $40,000.
Fundraising continued over the years with golf tournaments and through donations but Gail Robinson, the fund treasurer, along with the other fund trustees, started to think about the future. Administering the fund takes work and no one was getting any younger so a decision was made to move away from scholarships and to make a donation in the community. After much discussion, Hospice North Hastings was at the top of the list.
“Hospice does not get government dollars and they do so much and they are so needed in the community,” Gail explained.
So last week, with the blessing of the fund trustees Mike Leveque, Vivian Bloom, Terry Spence and Dale Robinson, Gail walked into Hospice North Hastings and announced that she’d like to make a donation.
Hospice Coordinator Heather Brough still tears-up talking about what happened next.
“Gail just walked in and said she would like to make a donation and then she said it was substantial but we had no idea,” Heather says. “It’s such an honour to be chosen for these funds.”
The donation was substantial. A cheque for $45,000 was presented to Hospice North Hastings.
“This donation will support all of our current programming, the Hospice House and services that we provide in the community but beyond that, we’re working on some new initiatives in recognition of Pat Moran and this legacy gift,” Heather says. “This gift helps us honour the commitment we make to care for people in this community. We were the first rural residential hospice in Ontario and we are adding new programming and providing services sooner for those in need so that we build relationships. We don’t want to be a stranger when there is a need.”
Considering that Hospice North Hastings has the unofficial motto of adding life to days, they really are the perfect match for these funds that were lovingly raised by friends and family to remember and celebrate the life and laughter of Pat Moran.