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Pat Harrington was a powerful force for good in our world. Guided by his cherished principles of faith, family, and friends, he modeled a life of love and service that few can emulate. Quietly, often with humor, and always with unfailing grace and integrity, he was a leader who inspired others in innumerable ways. He had a gift for envisioning the possible, matched only by his discipline and determination to make a difference.
Born in Portland, Oregon to Madeline Ariadne Villeneuve Harrington and John Bernard Harrington, Pat grew up in a bustling household with his seven siblings and numerous nearby cousins. Laurelhurst Park was their neighborhood playground and early on Pat learned the art of connection and leadership amongst his peers.
His education at All Saints School and Central Catholic H.S. (‘68) helped instill the deep and abiding faith that sustained him throughout his life, and early on he discovered his gift for athletics (football, basketball and baseball) that led to a lifetime of enthusiasm for sports. His election as class president (an honor twice repeated during his college years) presaged many future leadership roles to come. At the University of Oregon (’72), and then Notre Dame, Pat followed his passion by studying Community Service and Public Affairs, setting the stage for a storied career of enriching communities in countless ways.
His first role in the arts world was as General Manager of Portland’s Civic Auditorium. He went on to become the first Executive Director of the Portland Center for the Performing Arts. In this role he oversaw the creation of the four-theater complex in the heart of downtown Portland, a momentous task that required tenacious leadership, astute political acumen, and managerial excellence.
In 1990 Pat was recruited to Bora Architects where for nearly three decades he leveraged architecture to benefit communities around the nation. His expertise in arts management allowed the firm to build an impressive portfolio of cultural centers for major universities and urban communities, as well as for local arts organizations, often pro bono. As Managing Principal of the firm, he was an innovative and beloved leader. Bora was the first architectural firm in the state to institute the Paid Family Leave Policy, and a number of arts organizations were incubated in Bora’s office to nurture the city’s cultural institutions. Pat’s 2019 induction into the American Institute of Architecture as an Honorary Member was testament to his inspirational leadership in the architectural community.
With seemingly boundless energy, Pat also lent his many gifts to a wide range of cultural and community organizations, leading boards and committees with his spirited and focused commitment. Chief among these were the Blanchet House, All Saints Parish, Central Catholic High School, Architecture Foundation of Oregon, PICA, Metropolitan Arts Commission, OMSI, Mount Angel Seminary, Portland State University, and the Regional Arts and Culture Council.
While Pat was passionate about his professional and civic life, nothing compared with the passion he held for his family. In 1986 Pat met Kelley Jean Young, who would become his loving life partner and soul mate, the heart and center of his existence. They married in 1987 and went on to welcome four children, Mackenzie, Charlie, Isabelle and Sophie, who Pat nurtured and mentored with unbridled devotion and pride. He was also a beloved uncle to a multitude of nephews and nieces, playing a central role in his large extended family.
Over his lifetime Pat traveled much of the world to explore and appreciate other cultures. But nowhere was he happier than in his native Oregon, most especially at the Bora beach house in Neskowin, the family’s remote Snake River cabin, and a spiritual retreat center at the McKenzie River—each destination a hallowed annual tradition for Pat and his family.
For all his accomplishments, Pat will be remembered most for his remarkable humanity. His seemingly limitless capacity to connect with and give to others was a marvel to behold. He cared profoundly about the well-being of his vast and far-flung community, as shown through countless gestures of kindness, generosity, and wise counsel. He read extensively to stay abreast of world events and fresh perspectives, and eagerly shared the fruits of his reading with a wide swath of recipients, curating each story with his special brand of pithy humor and insight. He remained curious and open minded, never preachy, with a genuine interest in other points of view. Pat himself had nothing to prove. “I am who I am,” he often said, completely at ease with himself and his world. Throughout, he held firm to the steadfast belief that there is always reason for hope—a belief that sustained him through his life and illness, just as it buoyed and strengthened those around him. These are the qualities treasured most by his wide and loving circle of family, friends and colleagues.
Pat managed his last long illness with the same equanimity and courage with which he approached his life. No complaints, consummate grace and, at the end, calm acceptance. He, along with his family, felt deepest gratitude for the outstanding care he received from the many dedicated members of his medical team. As one close friend observed: “Pat was a role model who taught us much about how to live. Now he has taught us how to die.”
Pat was preceded in death by his parents Bernie and Madeline, his sister Susan, and his brother Tom. He is survived by his wife Kelley; children: Mackenzie, Charlie, Isabelle and Sophie; siblings: John (Valerie), Mark (Catherine), Kate Rice (Jim), Brian (Deirdre), and Nora; mother-in-law Pat Young; brothers-in-law: Jeff (Lauretta) and Chris (Ann); sister-in-law Holley Franklin (Rick); 19 nieces and nephews; and 22 great-nieces and great-nephews.
A funeral mass to honor Pat will be held at 10AM on Saturday, May 13 at All Saints Catholic Church, 3847 NE Glisan St.
Gifts in Pat’s honor may be sent to Blanchet House of Hospitality; All Saints School or Parish; Central Catholic High School; or any arts organization of your choice.