William Patrick (“Pat”) McInerny passed away on May 4, 2018 after a long battle with kidney disease. He is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Jacqueline McInerny, three children, John (“JP”) McInerny (wife Heather), Kevin McInerny (wife Nicole) and Maureen McInerny Palmgren (husband Michael Palmgren), his sister Caroline McInerny Karlin, brother Joseph McInerny, and seven adoring grandchildren, Reed and Leland McInerny, Abigail and Madeleine Palmgren, and Cheyney, Windsor and Holden McInerny. He was preceded in death by his father William P. McInerny, his mother Marion McInerny, and his sisters Mary Anne McInerny and Marian “Sissy” McInerny Sorlie.
Pat was born on January 23, 1941 in Washington, D.C. He attended Gonzaga High School and then Georgetown University, where he received a Bachelors of Arts in History in 1963. While attending Gonzaga in 1956, he met his future wife, Jacqueline Wimsatt. Pat and Jackie were on a double date, but with the opposite couple’s partner. It was quickly clear that Pat and Jackie were with the wrong date partner, and friends and family state that it was obvious very quickly of Pat and Jackie’s love for each other. They were married on August 24, 1963.
Pat served in the Army ROTC while at Georgetown, and upon graduation moved into active service as an officer in the Army, serving in the Field Artillery. He was stationed in Germany for three years where they met many lifelong friends. While in Germany, and exactly one year to the day after their marriage, they welcomed their first child, John Patrick, followed by Kevin Wimsatt one year later. Upon moving back to Washington D.C. in 1966, Maureen Patricia was welcomed into the family.
Upon his return to civilian life, Pat accepted a position with the National Bureau of Standards (later changed to the National Institute of Standards and Technology or NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland, commuting from their new home in Kensington, Maryland. In 1971, Pat accepted a transfer from Gaithersburg to Boulder, Colorado, working at a joint astrophysics laboratory operated by NIST and the University of Colorado called JILA, where he served as Executive Officer.
Life in Colorado agreed with Pat and Jackie as they quickly adopted an outdoor-focused lifestyle full of weekend hiking trips, camping trips, and ski trips. With most family still located on the East Coast, vacations to Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, and Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina were an annual Summer tradition. Pat and Jackie bought a succession of increasingly large camping trailers and enjoyed taking the family on camping trips around the American West. On all of these trips Pat enjoyed taking in historical sites and passing on his love for history to his family (whether they wanted it or not). Pat was active with JP and Kevin’s Boy Scout Troop 273, joining many camping trips, adventures and fundraising activities. Pat and Jackie became members of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Boulder, where they remained members for thirty-three years and developed many lifelong friends.
Pat was extremely hard working and handy with tools, even building an addition to the family home in Boulder with only the help of a dear friend. There was no project too big for him, and one trick JP, Kevin and Maureen had to learn early on was to not be seen idle, lest they be recruited as Pat’s helper. Later, Pat lent his handyman skills to homes purchased by his kids, and those of friends and other family members, and the upkeep of the family’s house on Sullivan’s Island, “Foggy Bottom.” As with everything and everyone, Pat was extremely generous with his handyman skills.
After 36 years, Pat retired from JILA in 2003, and enjoyed the following years travelling frequently with Jackie, visiting faraway destinations, as well as visiting their children and grandchildren in Vail, Colorado, Phoenix, Arizona, and Long Beach, California. Pat was a very fun, active, and involved grandfather who his grandkids adored. Pat and Jackie owned yet a larger camping trailer at this stage in life and enjoyed many camping expeditions with their kids and grandkids.
Pat had an infectious personality and an unending sense of humor, always joking and laughing. Most people who know Pat have a funny, crazy story that involved him. He was also caring and thoughtful, willing to lend a helping hand to friends, family and strangers alike. He endeared himself to most everyone who met him and no one was a stranger for very long. He will be sorely missed.
A funeral mass will be held on Friday, May 25th at 1:00 p.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 898 14th Street, Boulder, CO, 80302. A Celebration of Life will be held following the Mass in the St. Thomas community center.
In lieu of flowers, Pat’s family requests that donations be made to the Denver Hospice Center: http://giving.thedenverhospice.org/site/Donation2?2180.donation=form1&df_id=2180&mfc_pref=