Patrick Kevin McGrawSeptember 21, 1958 ~ September 5, 2017 (age 58)
Pokey, we have to catch the bait to catch the fish.”
Mahi-mahi, a wrench, hiking boots, and alligator, and a lazy chair. A seemingly bizarre menagerie of matter, but rather all are artifacts of a manifesto of living life to the fullest. Grounded in coastlines and mountain ranges, running along fishing lines, and strapped around camping packs, Patrick Kevin McGraw’s life was an on-going list of escalating chances and new adventures to be tackled. He approached life with an open mind, spontaneous action, and Kerouac tastes.
For his first big adventure, Pat migrated from Michigan at 17, leaving his two older brothers Michael and Danny, for the warm waters of Fort Lauderdale. He exchanged his boots for sandals. But not just any sandals, a unique pair made of the same rubber tread used in car tires, which were notorious for melting in the Florida heat and sticking him momentarily in his step. His steps became cemented in Florida though when he met a neighborhood blonde. A tale of friendship turned quickly to courtship, where Pat and Vicki spent sun soaked days falling in love in a haze of sandy beaches, movie quotes, rolling laughter, and fishing boats. Years of Key West sunsets, bay breezes, and water skis, punctuated by the sound of Mike Delvin’s laughter, colored the horizon of their road to marriage. The best of them to come would be their son Patrick and four years after, their daughter Madison. Pat’s greatest gift to Vicki was her two loving children.
From the start of his second and largest adventure, Pat took a “live and learn” approach to fatherhood. Early days were spent camping in the Everglades with Patrick, who was then his “Snapperhead,” teaching him to tie knots and electrifying his memories with alligator wrestling- full disclosure these were baby alligators and duct tape played a role. Girls were not to be left out, and Madison was taught to fish in the Keys, ski in Michigan, and had stood behind the wheel of an operating crane. Vicki was probably the only wife in the neighborhood who knew how to fix the kitchen sink, any part of the bathroom, and if push came to shove, even change a car tire. The members of Pat’s family were to be self-reliant, self-made.
“Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no lies.” A man of chance in action and mind, Pat could be unpredictable- by a fortunate mistake he even saved a man from a burning warehouse! With many sides, he was a switchboard. Life with him was a life living on your toes. Asheville became the new McGraw home only after Pat and Vicki closed their eyes and pointed on a map somewhere in the halfway vicinity of their two families, between Florida and Michigan. Their fingers landed on the Appalachians of North Carolina, where their spirits could breath wide and free.
Pat wanted to wring all he could from life and refused to stay still. Downtime was never actually spent sitting down, rather you would find Pat barefoot water skiing, rebuilding cars, or hiking on 9 hour treks, save there was a good football game on the television and then you would find him in his lazy-boy with Madison folded into his lap and around his arms. His thrill and vitality were infections and a legacy he left onto his family. They were even awarded for it! Patrick took the honor of Most Irresistible his senior year, and as a teenager Madison won “contagious laugh.” Watching their parents as children, Patrick and Madison learned to engage life, not be a spectator of their own autobiographies.
The later years of Pat’s life were quiet, and he discovered even greater solace in nature. He often could be found outside, taking in the crisp mountain air, probably thinking of the Atlantic blues of the Florida coast, with his constant shadow the family dog Bear, by his side.
Now that peace is ever lasting. Patrick Kevin McGraw is to be laid to rest in a forage of Abram’s Falls, a place he considered to be a sublime sanctuary. Having taught and trained his family to hike, even staying back to help his “slow poke” daughter, Pat has prepared Patrick and “Pokey” to lead him into his final adventure. Who knows where the wind will blow, and that’s just how Pat would want it.