“If he could touch it, he could fix it,” said his wife, Helen Lounsbury.
She told of once touring an historic site, Slater Mill, in Rhode Island, known as the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. As a group of teachers stood in a room filled with ancient machinery, the tour leader said, “We’d love to run this machinery for you…None of us know how.”
Mrs. Lounsbury recalled, “My husband’s not much of a talker. He said, ‘I can run it.’ He immediately got the whole thing running.” The onlookers were awestruck and asked him how he did it. Mr. Lounsbury said simply, “I looked at it — how else could it run?”
Mrs. Lounsbury asked, “What did he see that we didn’t see?”
His ability to fix things went beyond the mechanical. “When my mom was so sick, he was there every day for her,” said Mrs. Lounsbury, describing how her mother was bedridden with cancer. “He could change the bed with her in it — he was so gentle,” she said.
Mr. Lounsbury died evening, Sept. 13, 2016, in his Berne home. He was 79.
He was born on April 21, 1937 to Theodore and Lena Fisher Lounsbury of Dormansville. He was delivered at home and named by the legendary Dr. Anna Perkins of Westerlo to whom he was close all of her life.
Mr. Lounsbury was the sixth of 17 children — he had 10 brothers and six sisters.
“He loved the Helderbergs where his family has lived since about 1700,” said his wife. “His family’s part of the rock. They love the land.”
Patrick Lounsbury loved the land, too. “We have thousands of pine trees,” said his wife. “He planted every single tree on the property. He prided himself in trimming them, watering them,” she said through tears.
Mr. Lounsbury went directly from high school into the military, serving in the United States Army. He was stationed in Fort Lewis, Washington and in Anchorage, Alaska.
“He loved the Army,” said his wife. “In Alaska, he got to ski. He was the best shot in the battalion, and selected as the machine gunner.” He carried the heavy equipment up mountains wearing skis, she said.
When Mrs. Lounsbury retired from her career teaching at Berne-Knox-Westerlo, “The first thing we did was take a trip to Alaska; that was his dream,” she said.
He had met the woman who would become his wife, Helen “Marie” Golden, when they both worked at Thacher State Park in the Helderbergs. They married on Jan. 30, 1960 in Altamont.
Mr. Lounsbury went on to work for over 35 years for Cummins North Atlantic in Albany. “He loved his work,” said his wife “He started as a diesel mechanic and trained to be a power generator specialist.”
He was proud of having done the generator set-up for the 1980 Winter Olympic Games at Lake Placid, New York.
A Democrat, Mr. Lounsbury was called and asked to serve on the Berne Town Board. He was on the board for 15 years and also served as its liaison to the planning board. He was a member of the Berne Masonic Lodge for over 30 years.
“He wasn’t flashy,” said Mrs. Lounsbury of her husband’s contributions to the town. He offered common-sense solutions to problems and eschewed controversy. Mrs. Lounsbury recalled how she and her husband were eating at the Rest Seeker’s Inn one night when “everyone was complaining” and it was suggested that Pat Lounsbury should run for the town board.
While her husband remained silent, Mrs. Lounsbury spoke up and said, “Pat’s been on the board for years.”
She said, “You could know him his whole life and not know his political opinions. We were both liberal Democrats. We shared a life philosophy.”
Mrs. Lounsbury went on, “He didn’t like attention…A lot of people called him ‘Big Dog.’ He was quiet but everybody liked Pat; he was never controversial.”
Mr. Lounsbury’s battle with cancer has been a long and painful one. “He has suffered unbelievably,” said his wife. “But he just toughed it out. He never complained….The hospice people said a lot of patients would be gone by now. He wouldn’t give up.”
Mrs. Lounsbury said she couldn’t have gotten through it without the help of their three children — son Patrick Jr. and daughters Amy and Elaine. She recalled how their son, Patrick, recovering from knee-replacement surgery himself, rushed to lift his father when he fell, injuring himself. “He would die for his dad,” said Mrs. Lounsbury.
Mr. Lounsbury who enjoyed “hanging out” at the Fox Creek Market with other old Hilltowners, watching Westerns, and having breakfast with his buddies and grandsons, also appreciated the many people stopping by his home in recent days.
“A lot of young guys stopped by to say hi and to tell him how much they appreciated all he did,” said Mrs. Lounsbury.
Mrs. Lounsbury spoke, too, of how much she valued her husband’s steadiness, which balanced her intensity. “He calmed me,” she said. She also valued “his sense of humor, his smile, his twinkle.”
“I don’t know what to do without him,” she said. “He’s been my anchor.”
In the end, she described him as “a good friend, a good neighbor — always willing to lend a hand.”
Patrick Lounsbury Sr. is survived by wife, Helen Marie (née Golden) Lounsbury, and their three children: Patrick Lounsbury Jr. of East Berne and Carrie La Fontaine, his close friend and significant other who lives in St. Augustine, Florida, Elaine Browne and her husband, Paul, of Guilderland, and Amy Enk and her husband, Terry, of Oro Valley, Arizona, and also by three grandchildren, Conor and Daniel Browne and Shanelle Lounsbury.
He is survived, too, by his brothers, John Lounsbury and his wife, Diane, of Dormansville, Terry Lousbury and his wife, Eva, of Duanesburg; by his sisters, Sandra Ross of Westerlo, Bettejean Mueller and husband, William, of Alcove, New York, Janice of New Baltimore, New York; by his brothers-in-law, Don Berkhofer of New Baltimore, Robert “Bucky” Peck of Dormansville, Joseph Golden and his wife, Gail, of East Berne, James Golden of Delanson, Patrick Golden and his wife, Connie, of Key Largo, Florida, Michael Golden and his wife, Mary, of East Berne; by his sisters-in-law, Irene Orelup Lounsbury of Dormansville, Donna Svingali of New Scotland, Susan Ralston and her husband, Ken, of Ballston Spa; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
His parents, Theodore and Lena Fisher Lounsbury, died before him as did his brothers, Theodore Lounsbury and his wife, Dorothy Ringwald, of Lake Onderdonk, Harold Lounsbury of Dormansville, Clifton Lloyd and his wife, Cora Vincent, of Westerlo, Clyde Lounsbury of Dormansville, Thomas Lounsbury of Westerlo, Dennis Lounsbury of Westerlo, Roger Lounsbury of New Scotland, and William Lounsbury of Westerlo; and by his sisters, Marjorie White and her husband, Frank, of Westerlo, Janet Berkhofer of New Baltimore, and Harriet Peck of Dormansville.
His family thanks “all the friends and family who have visited and helped Pat on this difficult journey. Special thanks are extended to Dr. E. Kolios who was always there for him and to Dr. Herzog, Dr. Gasson, Dr. Tony Turi and his wife, Barbara, Heaven's Lil Angels, the hospice staff, the Helderberg Ambulance volunteers, and all his family members. The family asks that in lieu of flowers you enjoy a special day with your loved ones.”
Calling hours will be held on , from at Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont. A memorial service will follow with Rev. Robert Hoffman of Berne officiating.
— Melissa Hale-Spencer