I do not specifically recall

my first meeting with Patrick Cassidy.


But when I arrived in Belleville in 1980

as a young doctor in training,

Patrick and his family had already been here

for a number of years.


Patrick had briefly been a GP in Ireland

before he trained in Pathology,

and came to Canada.


Our first meeting probably occurred

in his office at the Belleville hospital.

From time to time I would have occasion to go there

to make some inquiry or other.


I think that the quality about Patrick

that I most remember

is how uniformly friendly and welcoming he was.


Whenever we met….

whether it was in his office

as I interrupted him

as he worked at his microscope


or equally, as time went on,

if I met him in the hallway of the hospital

or out on the street somewhere,

or at his home.


His manner was always the same.

He was a friendly and warm individual

who always had time to stop to talk

and to share a story.


Patrick, of course,

had a great sense of humour.

He especially loved to tell a story

that had a funny side to it,

although he always did so

in a kindly way, with a generous spirit,

and never at anyone’s expense.


On one occasion he told me

the story of two elderly Irish women

who were overheard having a conversation

after they had been in the audience

at a case that was being heard

in an Irish Coroner’s Court.


One of the women noted

that one of the presiding officers in the Court

had been identified as a “pathologist”,

and she asked her companion

just “what is a pathologist?”


The other woman replied confidingly-

“Oh,  a Pathologist is a doctor

 who specializes in diseases of the dead!”


Being one himself,

Patrick thought this was a good description.


Patrick was a good Catholic-

although he did hasten

to reassure me on one occasion

that some of his best friends were Protestant.


This reminds me of another of Patrick’s stories,

which had to do with a conversation that occurred

between a Cardinal and a Parishioner

on the occasion of a meeting that was held

as the Vatican was revising

the teachings of the Church

on the subject of Heaven….and Hell.


The Parishioner inquired

“Now tell me Cardinal,

is there really such a place as Hell?”


The Cardinal thought for a moment,

and then replied,

“Well, (he said), I really couldn’t say,

But I will tell you one thing, and that is

that if there isn’t ..there are a lot of people

who are going to be very disappointed!”


(I got the impression

that Patrick’s obvious delight

in telling that story,

was just slightly  wicked.)

In the last few months of Patrick’s life

I had the privilege of visiting him regularly

in his comfortable home.


He was very determined to keep going

against what he of all people surely knew

were impossible odds,


With the wonderful help of his family

he did just that. 

He kept hoping (and praying) for better health.


But as the week’s went by

it became apparent

that he was losing the battle.


However through all of this time

Patrick never complained about his lot,

and he never lost his good humour

or his considerate manner and bearing.


Typically at these visits,

often in the company of his wife,

and Toby, his faithful Jack Russell terrier,

we would first discuss Patrick’s concerns.


Then, having dealt with those,

we would often lapse

into a discussion of Irish history.


It was apparent that Patrick

had a deep knowledge

of the history of his Country.


About one month prior to his passing

Patrick loaned me a copy of a speech

that had been given by Mr. Berty Ahern,

the President of the Irish Republic,

in the British House of Parliament,


a speech which was delivered

 …only 6 weeks ago now.


This was an historic event.

It was the first time

in the often tragic history of the two Islands.

that an Irish President

had ever spoken ….in the British House.


The event had only occurred …

because of the progress

that has lately been made ….in the peace process

between the two Countries.


This event was obviously a source

of great satisfaction and contentment ..to Patrick.


In fact he was quite insistent

that I return the speech to him



I know that I for one,

like all of  you here today,

am going to miss this kind man

who had so much personality…and character…

and humour…and gentility.


I know that I am a better person

For having known Patrick.


I believe that Patrick will Rest in Peace.