jim patch - a life in six words

By Brenda Gaulin, previous Chairperson, Oldsmar Cares

James “Jim” Patch, 68, Oldsmar resident, devoted family man, and dedicated friend, passed away, June 21, 2013. 

When I was asked to write about Jim, I wondered how I would describe his life. Was it a list of credentials, a summary of accomplishments? Jim’s list is impressive and long. A born educator, he joked about attending 12 colleges before receiving his Bachelor’s Degree from Cal Poly. He was President of Jones College, coached basketball at Green Bay, taught bible school, volunteered and much more. Jim began a consulting business, writing software for colleges and counseling on accreditation issues. After moving to Pinellas County, Jim began running a golf school in Orlando. Although the commute was long it gave Jim the chance to combine two passions: teaching and golf. One of the highlights was a trip to Scotland to play Old St. Andrews.

I only knew Jim a few years, but I felt we had known each other forever. Listening to those who spoke at his memorial, I realized everyone had a meaningful connection with Jim. What made Jim Patch so special was the way he touched people’s lives. This idea gave me the answer I was looking for. I took a cue from great American author Ernest Hemingway. As legend has it, Hemingway was challenged to write a short story in only six words, so I asked Jim's friends to describe his life in this way.

Here’s how they described him.

“Listened with empathy, shared with passion.”
“Always listened to family and friends.”
“Jim was gifted with God's grace.”
"He's working on getting his wings."
“Jim cared about everyone he knew.”
“There was no job too small.”
“Godly man who served willingly, cheerfully.“
“He is missed bunches; true friend.”
“Jim lived and made a difference.”
"Loved teaching, coaching, helping all others"

I met Jim through our volunteer work at Oldsmar Cares, where he served alongside his wife and Oldsmar Cares founder Sharon for many years and most recently on the Board of Directors.  Oldsmar Cares has named one of their programs the Patch Work Emergency Assistance Fund. This fund deals with need due to fire, theft or other emergency needs. We believe Jim would be proud to have the Patch name associated with this fund and the work that is being done by Oldsmar Cares. 

My six words for Jim are "Some give some, Jim gave all."