I recently had the sad duty of attending my dear friend and colleague Pat Byrne’s funeral and it is no exaggeration to say that Pat will be hugely missed by myself and all who knew him. I worked with Pat in Walker Airconditioning and in York ACR for many years. He also had the unenviable task of being my boss for some of those years.
Pat Byrne — An Appreciation
Pat was a true gentleman in every sense of the word and his kindness and good humour were widely known and appreciated by all. Despite working in a tough and competitive business environment, he was a beacon of calmness and serenity.
In all the years I knew Pat I never once heard him raise his voice or lose his temper. He never used bad language and was always unfailingly courteous to everyone he met. Indeed, the closest he came to rebuking me – in spite of the many causes I gave him – was the day he loaned me his car and I returned it with his beloved music collection out of alphabetical order.
Pat was one of life’s optimists and during the different times I worked for him in the early nineties it was a quality we badly needed, and appreciated, as we faced year after year of low growth and increasing competition. At a tough sales meeting he would say “its fine, we will make it work”. We always did and this was in no small part down to Pat’s experience.
His patience and stoicism in the face of adversity was legendary and he passed on his considerable knowledge of the business to all who worked under him. He had a stellar career working for notable companies in the business such as Walker Airconditioning, Cofely, York international and Condair.
But Pat’s business achievements aside, it is his qualities as a man, a friend, a brother, a father and a grandfather that really distinguish him. His son Graham captured these perfectly in his wonderful eulogy for his dad at the funeral Mass.
Whenever I think of Pat I always smile because he was always a man who was in good form, always ready with a joke and certainly, in my case at least, always ready to help a friend when he needed it. Whenever we met his first question was always “how is your mam and dad?”.
Pat could always put matters into context. He knew that while work was important, it was simply a means to earn money to sustain a family life. So often in the business world this is forgotten. Pat never did forget that and, for me, it is as this humane gentleman that I will remember him most.