Hundreds of mourners packed the Church of the Assumption in Maraval to say goodbye to Dennis Francis Patrick, CEO of Methanol Holdings (Trinidad) Ltd (MHTL).
Diagnosed just five weeks ago with leukaemia, Patrick died on August 8, in Florida, USA, where he was being treated. He was 62.
As MHTL is a sponsor of the Starlift Steel Orchestra, the band played outside the church as mourners, including a number of people from the energy sector, made their way inside.
Patrick’s sister-in-law Charmaine Patrick , in delivering the eulogy, described Patrick as the apple of his mother Annette’s eye, the greatest pride of his father Lloyd, the beloved big brother, a pillar of wisdom and stability to his children, and incomparable role model and superhero to his nephews and nieces.
She said just about everyone who came into contact with Patrick, knew him intimately, or was merely acquainted, held him in the highest esteem.
She said Patrick strove for excellence and soared high, achieving great success without ever losing his humility or intent. “Climbing the ladder of academic and professional accomplishments, Dennis remained firmly grounded in the values instilled by his parents, especially by his mother, his main driving force and inspiration.”
When Patrick became ill, Charmaine said, he insisted his mother must not know. She said he desperately wanted to spare her the extreme anguish and worry, and the impact it would have on her fragile health.
“This remarkably selfless man, true to character, lay on his hospital bed, and instead of being wrapped up in what he is facing, and becoming daunted and overwhelmed with the prospects that lay ahead, spent time reaching out to comfort and inspire all of us. Indeed, the one most in need of comfort became the comforter.”
Charmaine also said the acquisition of material things as status symbols was never Patrick’s motivation or desire. Nor was amassing great wealth his goal, but ensuring that his loved ones were properly provided for and helping those in need, were.
“Dennis had the world at his feet, but never exploited that privilege. What he treasured above all was time spent with family,” said Charmaine, adding that when Patrick was with them he was in his element and savoured every moment.
“Dennis never passed up on an opportunity to have fun with his family, especially at Christmas, New Year’s, Carnival and Easter. No doubt his absence will be deeply and forever felt when these seasons come around.”
In his tribute to Patrick, David Cassidy, CEO of MHTL‘s parent company Proman, said for the past 15 years they had been good friends and travelled the world together.
He said Patrick made friends wherever he went. But even so he was astonished by the number of messages he received from people expressing their sadness at Patrick’s passing, some of which came from Sweden, Germany, France, the UK, Canada, Australia, Japan and in Houston, Washington and New York, USA.
He said Patrick had a very successful career, but was much more than that. He was a family man who always looked forward to Easter and going to Tobago with his loved ones.
“He was also a dedicated Carnival man – fetes, J’Ouvert, playing mas were all in the cards for him. He loved a good wine.”
He spoke too of Patrick portraying Donald Trump at a “Heroes and Villains”-themed costume party before the latter even became nominee for US president. When asked what he was portraying, Patrick said, “Both!” This evoked laughter from the congregation.
Cassidy also spoke about conversations they had about football. Speaking about the exchange he had with Patrick over last year’s FA Cup Final between Patrick’s favoured Manchester United team and his Chelsea, Cassidy began to shed tears for his friend. He said Patrick was happier to see his face light up as Chelsea won than to wallow in his own disappointment.
“Dennis was a true gentleman and the many messages from abroad about his warmth, thoughtfulness and kindness are all true,” said Cassidy.
“He also had a twisted sense of humour, or at least he enjoyed it with a laugh at my expense often enough. But he somewhat seemed to be embarrassed at taking such joy in my unhappiness, as he would cover his mouth and think I wouldn’t see him laughing….” More tears flowed from Cassidy as he ended his tribute.
Chief celebrant Deacon Derek Walcott spoke of times as young boys when he tried to influence Patrick into doing wrong things, such as when they broke into a priest’s wine cellar, but Patrick refused to drink the wine.
Another time, Walcott tried persuading Patrick they should dress as convent girls on the last day of school and scale the convent wall. Patrick resisted.
Walcott expressed his admiration for Patrick, who “turned out to be a great husband, father and friend to many.”
As adults, Walcott had the congregation in stitches when he related an exchange with Patrick about joining the Catholic band. He said his friend told him, “No alcohol in the band? Allyuh boring!”
He also spoke of Patrick’s wisdom of life, being a leader, integrity, humility and doing what is right. He ended his sermon: “Dennis was a good and faithful servant. I am glad I did not influence him – he influenced me.”