Patrick E. “Pat” Mahany, JR – 64 – of Colorado, formerly of Arkport, died unexpectedly Friday (July 3, 2015) as a result of injuries sustained in a helicopter accident.
Born in Hornell on December 8th, 1950, he was the first born son to Patrick Edwin Mahany, Sr. and Phyllis Isabelle (Milliard) Mahany. He was the eldest of five siblings: Timothy (deceased), Sean, Michelle and Kevin. Patrick is survived by wife Karen and three children, Kathleen Celeste, Shawna Suzanne, and son Ryan Patrick. Patrick was a proud grandfather to Maxwell Allen, McKenzie Anne, Michael Ryan, Jackson Ryan, Grayson Sean, and great-grandfather to Matthew Allen.
Patrick grew up on the family’s potato farm in Arkport, New York. He worked on the farm with his father, coached his brother’s little league, and competed in horse competitions with the family’s quarter horses and thoroughbreds. Patrick was known in and around Arkport as Patty, and was also known for continuously getting into mischief with his brothers. He graduated high school from Arkport Central School in 1968 where he played soccer and was named most valuable player.
Patrick enjoyed his sports cars and rotated through many of them including a Ford Falcon convertible and an MGB. He bought his first Corvette off the showroom floor after he returned from Vietnam in 1972. Though he was much older than the younger ones, his siblings remember him as a loyal and loving brother who stood up to bullies and always brought fun, laughter, and light to family gatherings.
He had a zest for life and did all of his activities, whether it was hiking, skiing, water skiing, soccer, watching the Denver Broncos, and driving his sports cars with passion and exuberance.
Knowing he would be drafted into the military, Patrick joined the Army in 1969 and graduated flight school in 1970. He served one tour in Vietnam from April 1970 to April 1971 where he flew 1200 combat hours. He was shot down three times and earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. Once he returned from combat, he was stationed in Fort Knox until getting out of the military in 1974, and then joined again in 1975 for three years. He once landed his helicopter on the farm in New York in exchange for 100 pound sack of potatoes for his commander. Always coming back home to visit his parents, Patrick is a member of the Arkport American Legion to this day.
After his military career, Patrick worked a variety of flying jobs including private and personal pilot, flew men and equipment to offshore oil rigs in Gulf of Mexico, fought fires in California and Arizona, long lines school in Washington in 1981, transported oil explorers and scientists in Alaska, the Forest Service in Moab, Utah, Life Flight for Rocky Mountain Helicopters in Florida. He joined Flight for Life in June 1987 until September 1998, took a short break and returned December 1999 to present. He was based out of St. Anthony’s North in Westminster from 1987 until moving to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco, Colorado in 2004.
Patrick served as the Base Manager, the Program Safety Officer, and a member of the Hospital Safety Committee. He was instrumental in bringing night vision goggles to the flight program and getting them approved by FAA to make night flying safer for himself and the crew. He knew that the safety of the crew ensured the safety of those they were transporting in the many critical situations they were asked to fly in. Above all, Patrick served his crew members and colleagues in any capacity he could and fought hard for their voices to be heard and their needs to be met.
He embodied the spirit of service to others, whether it be his crew and colleagues, whom he greatly loved, or the people he and his crew worked to save daily. At any given time, Patrick could be found watching weather reports and DTC updates for road conditions to be prepared for any critical situation. He was not only a skilled pilot from years of experience, but was also a trusted one with each crew member who had full confidence in his skill and abilities.
Outside of work and hospital committee duties, Patrick was elected Vice President of Local 109 Pilot’s Union and worked tirelessly to speak on behalf of the pilots and represent their needs to Air Methods. He was also an active member of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association where he attended large and small gatherings of his combat brethren. Patrick was an extremely proud Veteran and was adamant for Veteran’s rights and benefits.
Patrick’s legacy of flying lives on with his son, Ryan, a Blackhawk pilot for the U.S. Army. Patrick was an accomplished pilot with 45 years of flying experience and wisdom he humbly imparted, but only when asked. Ryan’s Army Aviation buddies saddled up to Patrick on a number of occasions, bourbon in hand, asking questions about his career. He imparted valuable wisdom to his son and his buddies by opening up his home and heart, and of course taught them a few songs from Vietnam.
Patrick selflessly gave his love to his family and friends. People describe his presence when he entered a room, though they likely heard his booming voice first, and he always brought a vibrant and contagious joy that set everyone at ease. His gregarious and boisterous personality left an impression on everyone he met, even for a moment. His mustache was most memorable and distinguished, along with his ever present Flight for Life or Denver Broncos cap.
He was a beloved husband of 12 years to Karen Sue Tullberg Mahany. They fell deeply in love and married on June 22nd, 2003. They parented their four dogs and enjoyed taking them on daily hikes in the mountains of Summit County. They enjoyed traveling in the RV to Lake of the Ozarks or visiting family, and getting out on the boat in the summer months. Above all, Patrick was a friend to many and hero to all.
“No greater love hath a man, than to lay down his life for a friend.” John 15:13
The family of Patrick E. Mahany JR will receive friends on Friday from 2:00 – 4:00 PM and from
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM at the Dagon Funeral Home, 38 Church St., Hornell, NY where a Memorial Service will be held on Saturday at 10:00 AM with Deacon Robert McCormick officiating. Burial with full Military Honors will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Pat’s family request the in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in his name be made to the Frisco Helicopter Donation Fund, c/o Wells Fargo Bank, P.O. Box 4340, Frisco CO 80443, acct. #6307517174 or the Patrick Mahany Memorial Fund via youcaring.com. Memorial forms will be available at the Dagon Funeral Home or click here to print a memorial form.
In recognition of Pat’s military service, the American Flag at the Dagon Funeral Home will be flown at half-staff.