Patrick was born April 2, 1947 in Casablanca, Morocco, to George and Marcelle (Berges) Fay. As a child, he lived in a dozen U.S. states and territories, including a stop in Puerto Rico, before completing high school in Alaska. He volunteered for the U.S. Navy and served from 1969 to 1973 as an Air Traffic Controller at NAF Adak in the Aleutian Islands and USNAC Kenitra in Morocco.
He lived a wild and colorful life in the Mediterranean during and after his years of Naval service, at times enduring events reminiscent of a James Bond novel. He was escorted at gunpoint from the control tower during the 1972 Moroccan coup attempt on King Hassan II, was once wrongly jailed by the French government, and again stared down the barrels of machine guns after once being mistaken for a Basque separatist while traveling through Spain.
He returned to the United States in 1975 and settled into a quieter life in Northern Virginia. He began his long career in hospitality at the Hyatt Regency in Washington, DC, where he met the love of his life, the former Flora Gainey, whom he wed in 1978. In August 1979, he became one of the original employees to open the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown, where he worked as a banquet waiter and captain for 36 years until his retirement in 2015. In 2014, he was featured in the Washington Business Journal and was personally honored by Four Seasons founder Isadore Sharp for his lengthy service.
An avid collector and historian of Christmas lights, Patrick co-authored a book on the history of the figural light bulb in 2006 as well as many articles published in periodicals. He was a longtime member of “The Golden Glow of Christmas Past”, an organization for enthusiasts of Christmas lights and ornaments. Each Christmas season, he erected a 12-foot tree adorned with antique lights as well as ornaments from the 19th century. The tree was featured in numerous articles circulated by the Associated Press as well as The Washington Post in the 1990s.
He was an avid reader of nonfiction and particularly enjoyed studying military history. He had a passion for travel and his favorite companion was Flora, with whom he traversed the globe. When she was diagnosed with cancer in late 2011, he became her primary caretaker until her death in July 2014.
Patrick was a resident of the City of Falls Church from 1986 to 2002, and his home on Madison Lane where he and Flora raised their two sons remained one of his proudest and favorite memories.
Patrick will always be remembered for his familiar smile, his unique and sometimes bizarre interests and intellect, and his ability to captivate people with his storytelling abilities and magnetic energy. He made friends easily and his neighbors always looked forward to his tales and conversation at their weekly dinners and outings.
Patrick was preceded in death by his wife of 36 years, Flora, and his father, LTC George T. Fay, USAF. He is survived by his mother, Marcelle, his twin sister, Michelle Whittaker, both of Falls Church, VA, sons Charles (Stacey) of West Palm Beach, FL and Beau (Fabiana) of Arlington, VA, and two grandsons.
A celebration of Patrick’s life will take place all evening on Friday, November 30 beginning at 5pm at the Fairlington Villages Community Center at 3005 S. Abingdon St. in Arlington. All are welcome.