The fact that Patrick Patrick was more likely to boast about his selection as batboy of the Seattle Rainiers as a youngster than about his career turning around troubled banks said a lot about the man.
That's the kind of memories of Patrick, who died last week at the age of 74 from a rare blood disease, that were shared recently at a gathering of his friends and family for a celebration of his life.
It was two years ago that I did my last of several columns on Patrick , this one focused on his retirement as president and CEO of Seattle Bank, which had been on the financial precipice when he arrived on the scene in September of 2010. His success there was the latest, and turned out to be the final, chapter in the turnaround career.
The role Patrick had at Seattle Bank was one he played several times over 30 years, a role I suggested that role could have been characterized as the financial version of an old television western series called "Have Gun, Will Travel" in which the hero went from town to town to resolve problems created by the bad guys.
Patrick was certain there would always be bad guys, or more accurately, as he preferred to describe those who guided banks into problems, he figured there'd always be greedy guys.
Patrick, then 72, told me that after retiring five times, he'd still be interested in another turnaround opportunity and was quite certain, he said, that there will always be banks in need of turnaround. And he shared the thought that perhaps what he saw emerging in the industry might continue to produce more of them.
"There will always be troubled banks," said Patrick in our interview following his retirement. "The question is the degree of trouble in determining if they need to bring an outsider in."
"We're going back to doing the same things we did when the financial industry got into trouble," he added. "Because competition is fierce and interest rates are extremely low, some banks are making loans on terms we shouldn't be considering," Patrick added.
Patrick's perspective extended back over four financial crises, with his first opportunity to assume the role of turnaround CEO coming after the savings and loan crisis of the early '80s when, in 1983, he was asked to take the helm at Seattle-based Prudential Savings, which was in danger of being closed.
Two years later, he found himself overseeing Westside Federal as well, running both thrifts simultaneously for a year before melding Westside into Prudential and, on "Black Monday" in 1988, selling Prudential to Tacoma-based Pacific First Federal.
Patrick was part of a fun Harp I wrote before his last retirement, highlighting the region's three Irish bankers, each prominent in the local banking industry.
Patrick Patrick, Patrick (Pat) Fahey (who was both banking innovator and reluctant turnaround expert) and Patrick Dineen (former president of U.S, Bank and now chairman of Bellevue-based Puget Sound Bank) shared an Irish heritage and, all three as friends of mine, fitted logically into a column.
In fact, Fahey and Patrick, at a time when both were dealing with turnaround challenges, connected occasionally over breakfast or lunch to share notes and strategies on the progress of their efforts. Fahey, who founded Pacific Northwest Bank and was brought in to turn around a couple of other banks, joked that, like Patrick, he couldn't stay retired.
The idea of three Irish bankers was good enough for the Irish Network Seattle organization to suggest a panel discussion with them. All were willing but the opportunity never fit all four of our schedules.
And over recent months, as Patrick would offer me a comment on one of the Harps or another, one of us would inevitably close an email by saying something like: "Let's get together, my friend."
It inevitably failed to rise to the top of either of our priority list. "Too bad," I'll scold myself at the celebration of life for Patrick.