On 11/03/2020, the human race lost one of its finest representatives. It was after a successful day of fishing with his best friend and soul mate, Marcia, that Mr. Patrick Joseph Riordan took his last breath and passed on into the afterlife.
Patrick was born March 21st in Butte, MT, to Wilfred Riordan and Mary Bridget O’Connell Riordan, the youngest boy of seven children. The date marked the third best day of the month: St. Patrick’s Day (3/17), St. Joseph’s Day (3/19), and finally, St. Patrick-Joseph’s Day (3/21). He grew up in Butte, attending Webster Garfield Elementary and both Butte Central and Butte High School. During and after these secondary school years, he worked at Shea’s Exxon gas station for Jamey Shea, starting out as the Turd Colonel and ascending the ranks through hard work; he made many lasting friendships in his time at Bighead’s. The prominent women in his life (mother/sisters) successfully persuaded him to earn a college degree, which led him to study Education at The University of Montana. He earned his teaching degree and was proud to proclaim he chose “The Flagship for Higher Education in the State of Montana.” Resultantly, Patrick expressed absolute disdain towards the rival MSU Bobcats and the city of “Boz Angeles.” As such, he didn’t hesitate to wager with nieces and friends alike, on the outcome of the annual Cat-Griz football game.
Patrick used his degree to teach middle school Social Studies and eventually G.I.S. courses at the VoTech of Montana Tech. His work experience also included the United States Forest Service, bartending school at Maloney’s, and a stint as a camp cook for Atcheson Outfitters. He ultimately took a position serving the community he loved most –Butte – as a Land Records Administrator for the Butte-Silver Bow Land Office. To say he had multiple talents would be an understatement.
Patrick Joseph was a first-ballot, Hall-of-Fame family man. He loved his family and friends more than life itself, but loved his wife and children even more than that. When afforded the opportunity, he focused his time and efforts on pleasing others over himself. He was a proud man; proud of being a Riordan; proud of his Irish heritage; proud of his status as a Butte, Montana native. He was as superstitious as any man who had ever walked the Earth: after all, who doesn’t call off work “sick” on Friday the 13th to go deep deep deep undercover or completely change their direction at the sight of a black cat? He was an avid outdoorsman. He hunted and fished his whole life: caribou in Alaska, steelhead in Idaho, elk in Montana, big lochs while trolling Skunk Canyon. The guy had a hook-set that could daze Ali in his prime. His appreciation of being able to do such recreation was inspiring. After scaling a steep motha’ of a mountain in below-zero weather he opined: “Doesn’t it make you feel ALIVE?” He was also a sports fan, sportsfans. He liked the Oakland Raiders and the Athletics – and whoever was playing against the Bobcats that particular day. He cheered via whistle for daughter Quincy during Roller Derby bouts, and son Joseph Patrick in basketball. He paced around when his son Sam took the mound to pitch a baseball game, often opting to watch alone from a safe location (like outside the park…”to not jinx the kid”). He was a phenomenal chef/cook/baker. From pancakes for dinner, or world-famous Christmas sugar cookies, egg nog and carrot pudding, to on-the-fly gravy in a wall tent in Eastern Montana, he aimed to please, and easily overshot expectations. He also loved tending to his hollyhocks, sunflowers, strawberries, and raspberries and creating a haven for songbirds in his backyard.
Patrick was a wizard of sorts when it came to human interaction, and thus had his own way to approach every single person as the individual that you are…whether even you know yourself or not. If he liked you – not only would he offer you his hunting/fishing pack’s last “Salted Nut Roll”- but he would assign you your own alter ego in the form of a nickname. Some of us had multiple nicknames; some even had their own personal theme song.
He was a genuinely nice man; one of those that were taken from us before we even got to comprehend the level of understanding that he operated on. Had fond memories involving Patrick been a form of paper currency, all of us graced by such a man would be wrapped in satin robes, eating the finest caviar off of golden utensils, catching warmth after swimming in our own personal sea of greenbacks. But when you stop and think about the impact he had on your own life, you realize you got way more than even that; you got a glimpse into the ways a man, a husband, a father, a brother, uncle and a friend ought to approach their lives every day. And better yet – that very insight he provided came free of charge. How lucky we are to celebrate the life of Patrick, Pat, dad, and the all-time favorite: RICO. Happy Trails!
Pat was preceded in death by his parents Wilfred and Mary B. Riordan, brother Jerome Riordan, brother-in-law Dave Mandic, father-in-law Jim Grant, as well as his good friends Larry Varner, Jamey Shea, John Hackman, and Tim McGarvey. He is survived by his wife Marcia, son Sam, daughter Quincy, son Joseph Patrick O’Sullivan, Mary and Bob LeFever, Dorie Riordan, Colleen Mandic, Gene and Michelle Riordan, Emmett and Peggy Riordan, Meg Riordan, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, as well as his friends Frank Harvey and Joe Casey, and all other friends too numerous to mention here.
A private funeral mass for his family will be held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. A Celebration of His Life will be held a later date when it is safe for mourners to gather.
Goodbye for now and fish kisses. We will miss you.
Please visit below to offer a condolence or share a memory of Patrick. Axelson Funeral and Cremation Services has been privileged to care for Patrick and his family.
Read the thoughts and memories, then feel free to add your own.
Joel Reinholz says
I remember spending many of Pat’s birthdays fishing with him for steelhead. So many great memories. My heart goes out to is whole family. He left us way too soon. God Bless. Joel Reinholz.
Joseph patrick casey says
Pat was my best friend from high school. Although distance kept us apart. We often talked about our lives and families on the phone. I so lucky last year Pat came to South Carolina to visit me. What a treat that was. You always quick to talk about his wife Marsha and how proud he was of children. I will definitely miss ODD sense of humor. Which I shared. Love and prayers going out to the family. Thanks for the memories
Dorita James says
Wow. Rico left us already. The good do die young. I will forever be grateful for many of my best times and memories fishing with Pat and my Father. Picking him up at 5am at his Mom’s house and the good food and treats she had for us, dragging his worm down the river from the back of Gene’s boat sporting them big sexy bibs, and of course his quick off the wall hilarious humor, -such a pleasure to be around, -always good times were had. With love Marcia, Kids & Family.
Michele Bay says
This comes as a complete shock to me. I worked with Pat and always admired his strong work ethic mixed with a genuine sense of humor. He always was someone you could easily talk with about anything, including raspberry patch growth, fishing status, river stages, goulash recipes, humorous stories…….I am very fortunate to have shared these moments with Pat. He will be greatly missed! Love and prayers to all his family and friends. My heart goes out to all of you. We all have lost a genuine soul with a heart of gold way too soon!
Ernie Saracki says
A man with eclectic tastes in music and a wonderfully dry wit, Pat was one of a kind. A talented cartographer and a caring soul, Pat was a beacon of light and warmth in an otherwise dark world.
Millie Rigby says
My sincere condolences to Gene, Emmett, Meg and all of a Pats family for their loss. We grew up together and I always enjoyed the laughs we had when he came into Ace hardware. The world loses another good one. I truly believe only the good die young. May God hold you all tight in his arms. 😢😢
Millie Aguirre Rigby
DAN FISHER says
Pat loved his family loved his work and loved fishing. He will be so missed at his office
I can’t think of him not being here. We will miss him
All or love to his Family
Cara Barnes says
So sorry to hear Pat left this earth way to early he will be missed arriving on the scene.
Sorry to his family for their loss he will be missed by everyone who knew him.
Kris matteucci says
Pat was so special in so many ways. I’m so sorry he’s left us way too soon. My condolences Marcia and family. We’ve lost a good person 😩🥺🥺😘
Junie Maloney says
Pat was the neatest guy. He always had his music on first thing in the morning in the Court House. He was always willing to help anybody. Pat is really going to be missed. RIP
Cathy Maloney says
Our sympathies to the family of Pat Riordan, he will long be remembered as a friend to all. He was the kind of person that the world needs more of, his kindness, humor, generosity, personality and genuine interest in others was a gift and pleasure to experience. He will be missed, but always adored. May it be of some comfort to know that there are so many of us that could never say an unkind word about this remarkable man.
Sending Prayers and Condolences,
Cathy & Kelly Maloney
Teresa Borneman says
Marcia, Sam, Quincy and Joseph,
I can’t imagine the loss you all are feeling right now. Know my thoughts and prayers are with all of you. There is a very special angel guiding you now. Love and prayers
Teresa Borneman & family
Steve McHugh says
I got to know Pat very well through my good friend, Jamey Shea. What a fine person! His family and friends will miss him dearly! Like Jamey, he was taken from us too soon. I am so sorry for his family. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
His friend, Steve McHugh
Laura Likarish says
My sincere condolences to Pat’s entire family. I’ve known the Riordan family for at least 65 years. I remember Pat from birth. I am very heartbroken with his loss . I have lived in El Paso,Texas for 45 years but have always been a Butte kid with an extended family of Riordans. God Bless all of you . My continued prayers !!
Roxie Larson says
The suburban is missing from Granite Street, the hallway has gone quiet in the mornings, the desk is dark & empty, the talks, emails and laughs are no longer. It will be different now but the special memories of you will always make me smile. How lucky was I to call you my friend, co-worker and addressing partner for the last 20 years. The fact that you’re no longer here will always make me sad but you are forever in my heart UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN. GODSPEED PATRICK.
Marcia, Sam, Quincy, Joseph and the Riordan’s you are in my thoughts and prayers. I am so very sorry for your loss. Heaven got a good one.
Sam Crnich says
I will forever remember Pat as the nicest guy at the gas station! My deepest sympathies to his dear family. Godspeed, Rico!
Toni suemnick says
The Riordan family is special. They are so lucky to be so close and Pat will leave a huge void. Hang on to each other and always know the joy Pat brought to everyone. He was part of our family at a young age and always a joy to be around. We will miss his soft spoken ways,especially his quick wit and his memory will always bring a smile. Bless you all. I hope he’s fishing with Lar!
Bill Riordan says
A special man taken way to young. Rest In Peace Ricco
Frank Crosby says
RIP Buddy you will be missed by all the people you have met in your life ! I have alot of great memories of you ! You are an amazing man and I was lucky to have known you ! It was a pleasure working on projects with you ! GOD must have needed a great man like you to teach him how to fish so he picked you ! RIP MY FRIEND UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN !!!!
Kristine Doherty Shannon Doherty-Murray , Riley And Tess Riordan says
Condolences to all of the wonderful Riordan clan . Rico always had a smile , something witty to say- always happy . May he be welcomed and wrapped in love by those loved ones who left this world. I’m so glad my kids got to be around him and subject to his wit, laughter and kindness. May you float and fish the rivers endlessly💔
Amy Horne says
A special man taken far too soon from a special family. My deepest sympathies to his family.
Steve and Michael Sheldon says
Marcia and family,
We are so saddened to hear about Pat’s passing. Definitely taken way too soon. The strength of you and your family will see you through, though we can only imagine your sorrow. Pat was a good friend to our family especially our Dad, Art, who Pat affectionately called “Monte”, as our Dad liked the music of Montovani. God bless…we are thinking of you all.
Jim McNamara says
Pat was one of the best, he had a way of making me always feel better after speaking with him and I will miss him
Jim Williams says
The last time I saw Pat he was at Georgetown opening up the cabin. I’ll miss him hollering, “hello Jimmy!” when I come to visit. Please know the entire Riordan family is in our thoughts. With deepest sympathies, Jim & Judi Williams, Matt & Jen Van Syckle
Bill Hanley says
My deepest condolences to Marcia and the kids,Pat was a great man. He always put a smile on my face when we had a chat about the old neighborhood or Webster Garfield. Fly high Rico.
Nate Watson says
I will miss being greeted by Pat with a jolly “Elwood” in the morning. I will miss Foo Fighters to start the day when he and I were about the only ones in the building. I never did get you that woofer you wanted. I will miss out secret meetings along the side of the courthouse and the random emails where it was written in Richo, and if you were lucky you understood maybe half. And as much as I knew it drove him nuts I will miss seeking up on him from his outside window and watching him jump through the roof, I would hear about it for a week or two. I will miss Pat, tremendously, he was one of the nicest, funniest, and carring guys I have ever met.
Mike Thatcher says
God only takes home the best of the best.My heartfelt condolences to Pat’s family and all of the Riordan family and his many friends.What a fabulous man.Will never understand why, but beleve strongly that his kind,gentle,funny demeanor was needed on the other side of the mountain.Fky high Patty!!!!
Barbara Miller says
So greatly shocked and saddened by this unexpected loss. Pat’s professionalism and basic goodness made him a model of human kindness, and we were always so grateful for his help. Keeping all his family and friends in our prayers and thoughts. Another angel, gone far too soon, looking over Butte.
Tom Gordon says
Rico, I’ll never forget out time together at bigheads in shealand! Your humor and wit is unsurpassed by any comedian I ever heard. You lit up smiles on faces like a torch! No one could frown after a Rico comment or a quick story . Your nicknames were point on. Not hurtful but enjoyable. I am blessed for the time together but sadden at your loss. I’m not sure what is next for any of us. But I know we are all better for having you in our lives. I know your spirit is forever bright and your light will continue to shine on all of us. You left us a example to live by . Now we all need to be a little more like Rico. Love ya T-Bone!
Larry Driscoll says
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the extended Riordan family. Pat was a good guy from a good family. Pat taught a gps intro class for kids in an after school program at East Middle School. He did a great job and the kids loved the class and him. I really enjoyed his sense of humor and his choice of football teams. Whenever we ran into Pat he always was cheerful and shared a little of his dry sense of humor. Take care – we will be thinking of you.
Larry and Maureen Driscoll
Kaleena Miller says
Pat introduced me to Jim Croces’ “Roller Derby Queen” after Quincy and myself started playing for the Copper City Queens. During my short stint at the courthouse, I always looked forward to stopping by Pats office to exchange a story or joke. Not many people come along who are of Pats caliber. He will be fondly remembered.
Jim Fisher says
May Pat rest in peace and shine his light upon us he will be missed by all — Condolences to all family and friends best wishes. Jim Fisher “Magpie “
Jeff Miller says
Deepest sympathies to Marcia, Sam, Quincy, Joseph and all of the Riordans.
Pat was truly one of a kind and made me laugh every time I talked to him since we were kids.
Unfortunately for us, Heaven got a great one on Tuesday.
Rest easy old friend and know that things will never be the same behind the grand staircase without you!
Shannon Cooney says
Marcia and family, I am so sorry to hear of Pat’s passing. He was a great man who loved you all so much. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Lana Mullaney says
Rico. What a guy!!! I’ll sorely miss that beautiful smile, dry sense of humor, his upbeat attitude, amazing wit and sharing my birthday with such an amazing guy. Rest In Peace buddy. I’ll continue to celebrate us every March 21st.
Tim and Char McGinley says
This is truly heartbreaking. A great guy from a wonderful family, our prayers are with Marcia and the kids and the whole Riordan Clan, may the Good Lord bless and keep him, R.I.P. Rico
Shelly Jones says
RICO, Rest In Peace, Buddy. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you. I had the genuine pleasure of working with Pat over the last 15+ years. He was truly an awesome man, a true joy to be around. Heaven gained an amazing angel. I will miss you, “Mary” 💔
Pat Holland says
Pat RICO I will miss our Courthouse bantering my friend. Your family is in our prayers
Tom Jonart says
So long my friend,what a amazing man,like all the Riotdan family.So very sorry for your loss.
Jim “Kennedy” Shea says
My deepest condolences to Marcia and family. Rico was, quite simply, one of the best people I’ve ever had the privilege to call a friend. I remember fondly the great times in Missoula with Floyd and Rico—and then the stories about those times that got embellished with each telling. As I learned personally, once Rico bestowed a nickname on you, your given name was a thing of the past. Pat was just a genuinely kind and decent person who brightened your day. He will be greatly missed. I can imagine that heaven is a lot livelier now that Floyd, Peejwah, and Rico are reunited.
Sheila O’Connell Swanson says
Dear Riordan cousins and their families, I was sad to hear about Pat, but comforted in the fact that his last day was spent with the fishing pole. Lots of fond memories growing up with all the cousins. Unc and Mary B will be there to comfort and love him💕
Donna Burns says
Dear Marcia and family. So very sorry for your loss. Such a kind man.
Donna and Pat Burns
Jerry Sullivan says
The world lost a great one here! Never had a conversation with Rico that we never shared laughter! Great memories with this great man. The world needs more people with the character of Pat! My thoughts and prayers to the rest of the Riordan family. Rest In Peace my friend!
Renee neary says
Deepest sympathies 🖤💔 . We will miss Pat dearly !!
Mark and Renee Neary
Keith Wathen says
Marcia sorry for your loss
Meggo and Family: I am so sorry with Pat’s passing. I still think of him as the-young kid who talked with Meggo and I before We were going out . He was interested in anything we talked about. I was not to hear that he maintained his curiosity. Pat ,I am so sorry for your wife and kids, and family and friends; they will miss the friend and and confident that they had. You were a great inspiration Love and prayers to you and your friends. Mary Walsh
John Sorich says
Pat was a true treasure that was definitely a one of a kind and will be sorely missed by many.Please accept my deepest condolences for your loss.
Maria LaBuff says
Marcia, words will not help at a time like this. Please know you and your children are in my thoughts and prayers.
Janice K Muniz says
Our thoughts and prayers to all of the Riordan Family. Ricco was the best. He will be missed greatly. May his memories hold dear in your hearts. Rest in Peace Ricco (((((Hugs))))
Janice & Curly Muniz
Wendy Crnich says
Wow Pat you will be missed by so many. You had a heart of gold and and great friend. I’ll never forget the days at Big Heads garage. My kids would running around and you would take them to get ice cream. Then there was the candy machine. Thanks so much for the memories. I’ll miss you. Ms Wendy❤️❤️❤️
Marcia I am so sorry for you and your boys. I am glad you have a special network of friends to lean on. How much can I person take. This has been a bad year all around. Take care of yourself and your children. Love you Ida
Bevann Hamill says
Marcia…….my deepest condolences to you and your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Michele M. Miles says
Pat was a wonderful man and I will miss him and his kind spirit and helpful ways.
Raylene Kirk says
I’m very proud to have known Pat as our GIS teacher. He was patient with students and was full of knowledge he loved to share. God chose Pat to fulfill his new duties in heaven.
Elena Nelson says
Dearest Marcia and family. Words cannot express how sorry I’am to all of you. Hold each other tight and Pats legend will live on within each of you. Love Elena Nelson
Zena Beth McGlashan says
It wasn’t just any map. To me, it was one of the most important elements of my book, “Buried in Butte,” first published in 2010. No amount of narrative can deliver the quick clarity of a map. I knew what I wanted but not how to do it. My husband, Mike Gamble, suggested I go see Pat Riordan, Gene’s brother, who worked in the Courthouse making maps for various agencies and sometimes for plain old Butte residents like me.
We collaborated; his geographic programs didn’t have the typeface I wanted for the i.d. boxes, my Mac did, so I sent the info for his map via PDF. It was a pleasure working with him; I loved his wry sense of humor.
I wanted Pat to have a credit line; he modestly declined but created the handsome ‘Courtesy of BSB Geographic Information System Department’ box which gives the map a professional finishing touch.
Because my office is in Carpenters Union Hall across from the Courthouse, we’d see each other and wave. Now and then if an errand took me over there, I’d drop by the GIS office tucked behind the stairs near the back door.
I sometimes wonder if people I know actually have read “Buried in Butte,” but, unless they bring it up, I don’t ask. So I was surprised two or three years ago when Pat said “My birthday’s the same as Jack Noyes’s, March 21st.” Although Jack was a well-known leading “capitalist,” to use a term favored in the early decades of Butte ⎯ for example, in 1884 Noyes paid the most taxes of anyone in Butte, twice as much than W.A. Clark ⎯ very few, if any, people mention his name nowadays.
And so, I did what any friendly historian would do, I bought them a Happy Ad in the Montana Standard. “Happy Birthday Pat and Jack.” It wasn’t very well designed, but it’s the thought that counts.
Pat wasn’t satisfied with that. He had the perfect combo of cultural background growing up in Butte and educational experience as a cartographer to achieve his self -assigned goal ⎯ finding a street without a designation to name after Jack Noyes.
This might seem a bit weird to lots of people. When Pat told me about Noyes Street, I almost cried I was so thrilled. He smiled that quiet self-contained grin of his, then told me where Noyes Street is.
And I am telling you because you may be like me, I drive and look at the signs ⎯Noyes Street and Utah ⎯ and think of Pat, as well as Jack.
Noyes Street is behind CVS. Going West, you take the right turn to go toward Casey and Kaw. You’re on Noyes heading toward the Y where Noyes intersects with Casey.
In the cemetery world there is a belief that, as long as there is someone alive who remembers you, your spirit lives on. Here’s to you, Pat, and to Jack.
Lee Whitney says
I met Pat many, many moons ago when he worked for Jamey Shea. He was such a good guy and took great care of me and my vehicles. I would see and visit with him off and on throughout the years and quite often in the Courthouse. It was always a pleasure to chat with him. My heartfelt sympathy to his family.
Jack McCormick says
So sorry. Loved Pat. One of Jamey’s disciples. Enjoyed his wonderful sense of humor! Our hearts are with you. Andrea and Jack McCormick
Pat was a great guy , will miss chatting with him.
Robert pidgeon says
He was a great teacher. I took a G.I.S class from him. I’m surprised to hear of his death he was a nice guy I will add.