Pat was born on December 14, 1955 as the youngest of five. He was born in Cleveland, TN at a time when it was a quite small city, not even appearing on most maps. The hospital was also small (only 28 beds). Pat was born extremely prematurely, weighing only two pounds. The doctor declared him dead but a nurse was able to revive him. The hospital had no NICU and the doctor declined to transfer him to a larger facility.
On Christmas Eve, his mother walked out of the hospital with him, declaring that her baby would not be spending Christmas in the hospital. The doctor let her do it, saying, “He’s going to die anyway. Might as well let him die at home.”
The family placed him in an empty aquarium with a heat lamp, hot water bottles and a heating pad. The house thermostat was set to over 90° and the family celebrated Christmas in their swimming suits. His sister, Martha, who was 10 at the time, described him as “the cutest little drowned rat you’ve ever seen.”
Pat grew and faced many illnesses and issues when he was young. Because of these issues, he was a somewhat spoiled and mischievous, but not a bad child. He had a rather tumultuous childhood. When he was five, his family moved to Staten Island and then later to Wilmington, DE.
At age four, Pat taught himself to play the ukulele and then later the guitar. Pat was active and quite successful in the local and school swim teams. He loved the beach.
Pat struggled for most of his teens and adulthood with several addictions, but managed to beat most of them. After the deaths of both his parents when he was a teenager, Pat moved to Missouri to live with his older brother and his family. He always longed for the ocean, however.
Pat was a fun and funny man and loved good jokes and fun stories. He loved music of all genres and it was a huge part of his life. He met his wife Dottie, at a Kingston Trio concert at Crown Center in Kansas City in June of 1986. Five months later, on his birthday, they were married. (He never forgot an anniversary.) Their only daughter, Colleen Mariah, was born quite prematurely 9 months and 9 days after they were wed.
Pat worked as an Electronics Technician for most of his life until he was forced to retire because of disability. In his later years he suffered from many ailments including COPD, emphysema, heart disease and cancer, but none of that stopped him from living and loving his family and friends.
Pat is survived by Dorothy, his wife of 35 years, his beloved daughter Colleen who was the light of his life, his dear sister Martha Alwes, of Mahomet, IL, his sister-in-law Colleen Clark, of Wilmington, DE, his four brothers-in-law, Tom Helm of NYC, Michael Helm of Chula Vista, CA, Dan (Valerie) and Ryan (Sarah) Helm, of Smithville, MO, and Scott (Jenny) Helm, of Shawnee, KS. He also leaves many nieces and nephews, grand-nieces and nephews, and scores of good friends. He is also survived by his spoiled and well loved furbabies, his kitties, Sheriff Scruffy Billy Jim Bob (a.k.a Scruffy), Sir Stockings Rockefeller (a.k.a. Sockz), Princess Tabitha Louise (a.k.a. Tabby), and Duchess Snowball Marie (a. k. a. Lil’ Bit).
Pat is preceded in death by his parents, H. D. and Barbara Lafferty, his three older brothers, Kenneth, Lynn, and Michael, his parents-in-law, Tom and Carol Helm, his nephew, Mark Helm and his niece, Isabella Lafferty.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 2:00pm on Saturday, May 21, 2022 at South-Broadland Presbyterian Church, 7850 Holmes Road in Kansas City, MO.Those who are attending are asked to wear bright, colorful clothing (no black). Anyone wanting to speak, (and all are welcome and encouraged to do so) should be ready with a fun or touching story about Pat or a good joke. (We all know how much Pat loved a joke!) The service should be a glorious and fun day, with few or no tears because, it is a celebration after all, not a mournful time.
Donations, if desired, can be made to the church or to the American Heart Association.