Pat Daley: A Smile that Made You Feel Welcome

Every day in every way we are leaving our mark. ― Rachael Bermingham

BY MIKE ACKER

Beloved former Blanchet House resident and employee Patrick Daley, 65, passed away on October 20, 2020, following a year-long battle with colon cancer.

Pat served in a number of capacities with Blanchet House, providing exemplary service for more than seven years. 

Board member Rich Ulring remembers Pat as the “right-hand man” to former Executive Director Brian Ferschweiler. He played a key role in the capital fundraising campaign to erect the new building and helped in transitioning services to a much larger facility. 

Pat was proud of the work he did at Blanchet House. Work that included helping to feed many people who like himself were struggling with addiction.

In a 2006 column for The Oregonian, local sportswriter John Canzano wrote of Pat’s efforts to help provide a hot meal for people who were spending Thanksgiving living on the streets of Portland.

“The doors at Blanchet House will open at noon today,” Canzano wrote. “In the time it takes Dallas and Tampa Bay to play a football game that will be watched by millions of Americans, (Pat) Daley’s team will feed 600 people.”

Canzano, who spent that day at Blanchet House speaking to volunteers, residents and people being fed, went on to write of Pat:

“Daley is winning his fight with alcoholism, and with the help of volunteers and the donations of local businesses that help keep the shelter stocked, he’s helping others do it too. And he doesn’t mind that he has no income and no 401(k) plan. It’s enough that he’s found structure, and he knows the shelter has become so efficient with the cooks, servers, and volunteers that it can feed 300 hungry people in any given hour.”

“He was such a guy. Biggest heart you’d ever want to run into.” –Bill Daley

Pat made a quiet impression on most everyone who knew him.

John McGuigan, long-time Blanchet House board member remembers, “His quiet and unassuming manner and sincerity gained him many friends at Blanchet including the board and volunteers.”

One of six siblings, Pat lived out his final days with his brother Bill at his home in St. George, Utah. Pat struggled with addiction to alcohol throughout the course of his life which caused him bouts of homelessness in Portland.

 

“He lived a tough life,” Bill said of his brother. 

Pat (far left) with his middle sister, Melinda, and brother Bill a few days before his death.

It was during his time unhoused that Pat first came to Blanchet House as a meal guest and then a resident.

“That was a wonderful thing about Blanchet House,” Bill says. “It gave him responsibility, opportunity, and structure.”

It was at Blanchet House that Pat achieved lengthy sobriety.

His brother Bill explains, “The only time he was sober for a long period was at Blanchet House. There was something about the structure, the discipline, and the interaction with others that worked. Nothing else did. He was able to save money and feel better about himself. He made good friends there.”

At the time of his passing, Pat and Bill had been training to walk a marathon. As part of this training, Pat had been taking walks of up to 20 miles at a time. He passed away exactly 365 days after he was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer.

“He was such a guy,” Bill said of his brother. “Biggest heart you’d ever want to run into.”

Lend a Helping Hand Brunch, March 7

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Rechargeable Lantern Drive

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Fresh Food Rescued from Local Businesses

About Blanchet House

Inside Look at Portland’s Outdoor Homeless Shelters

Our History: Started in 1952 by a Group of Friends

Some of the founders of Blanchet House of Hospitality in the old kitchen circa 2011.

Some of the founders of Blanchet House of Hospitality in the old kitchen circa 2011.

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