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Outside Lands Podcast Episode 511: Remembering Pat Cunneen

We were shook by the recent passing of West side icon, Pat Cunneen. Nicole & Arnold are joined by a number of very special guests to remember Pat.
by Nicole Meldahl - Jul 29, 2023

Outside Lands Podcast Episode 511: Remembering Pat Cunneen Outside Lands Podcast Episode 511: Remembering Pat Cunneen


Podcast Transcription

511 - Remembering Pat Cunneen

Nicole: [00:00:00] It’s Outside Lands San Francisco, podcast of Western Neighborhoods Project. Your weekly dose of friendly neighborhood history.

And hello Outside Landers. I'm of course your host, Nicole Meldahl.

Arnold: And I am your co-host, Arnold Woods.

Nicole: And dearly WNP beloved, Arnold and I are not alone today. We've gathered here on this podcast a number of special guests to remember one of our own, Pat Cunneen. And I wish, I wish we weren't all gathered here under such sad circumstances. But Pat meant a really great deal to all of us and was a huge inspiration to me personally taking over the nonprofit, but just in general. And we're gonna spend today with folks who knew him best, remembering all that he gave to the west side of San Francisco and beyond. And Arnold, [00:01:00] are we going to give a little bit of background here? What's, what's the layout of the, of the evening going to look like for our listeners?

Arnold: I think we're gonna give a little bit of the history. Then we'll start inviting comments from our live podcast recording audience. And if any of you have something that you wanna pipe in, in the middle of when we're given the history, feel free to do so. Maybe just raise your hand and let us know and we'll do so.

Nicole: You know what I'm, I'm gonna immediately throw that plan out the window. I'm a terrible flight attendant. We have such a small group with us. Maybe we can, if everyone's comfortable, we could do some introductions like, I don't know, just to pick someone off the top of my head. Paul Judge, would you like to explain why you're here and how you knew Pat?

Paul: I’m here. This is Paul Judge. I'm here because I met Pat through the Western Neighborhoods Project at gatherings at the Cliff House that David Gallagher and Woody LaBounty [00:02:00] organized. And that's where I met a whole slew of folks. I'm gonna pass it on to Pat and Connie, his, two of his four children.

Pat: Hi, this is Pat, Pat Cunneen, Jr. Or Patrick Matthias Cunneen. My father's name was Patrick Francis Cunneen. And super excited to be here tonight and wanna thank everyone for putting this together.

Connie: And I'm Connie Chandler Cunneen. Thank you so much for putting this together. We really appreciate it. Look forward to it.

Nicole: Thank you guys. We're so excited you're here. Jim Gallagher, how is it that you are here tonight? How do you know Pat?

Jim: Well, I know, from a multi background kind of thing, we were, we met at, when we we're about 13 at China Beach. I believe. We also played basketball against each other often in the [00:03:00] CYO leagues early on. And later we teamed up as companions learning how to drink. And much later, we became athletes together, both joining the same running club, running club that Pat and Betty, his wife helped found. And he was very influential in getting me to run. He used to, he and Kelly used to run by my house when I lived in Sharp Park and I would go out and run with him for a little bit. And next thing I know, I was in the running milieu. And so, we had a, and then, of course, much like Paul Judge, he got me introduced to this program, the Western Neighborhood. He talked about it incessantly on how much time he spent on it. And so, I got tangled up with the Chow and Chatter gang and, and Woody recorded some of my surf history out at Kelly's. [00:04:00] And that was, of course, the, the real niche for Pat and I was the beach. We both loved it loved surfing and so forth. Okay, so I don't use you for half hour or an hour, I'll pass this on.

Nicole: It's okay. Jim. Anyone can talk for any length of time. We can edit this down later, so don't censor yourselves. Well actually don't curse. But other than that, don't censor yourselves and I don't wanna put other people on the spot, but if anybody else wants to share why they're here tonight and why they know Pat, raise your hand and we can give you the floor. If not, we can keep moving too. I don't wanna put anyone on the spot. Yay, Dennis.

Dennis: Hi. Can you hear me?

Paul: Yes, sir.

Nicole: We sure can.

Dennis: Okay, well, I remember Pat from the early ‘70s, when I was involved with a Dolphin-South End Club and they had a run or a race almost every weekend. And at, at that time, I had no idea of Pat's [00:05:00] association with Kelly's Cove, since Pat was about 10 years older than myself. So it was, once again, this a familiar refrain, I sort of made the connections through Paul Judge and the Western Neighborhood Project’s website and, and Paul was younger, so we had a span of about 30 years there and we found more and more connections as we went along. So once again, it was that, that little magical association that got everything going. And there we go. So.

Nicole: And I swear we didn't pay any of you to say, well, all roads lead to Western Neighborhoods Project.

Dennis: Yeah, exactly.

Nicole: That’s just what happened. And we, just to give our, our listeners some background all of this kind of circles on oral history program that Woody LaBounty did in, I wanna say [00:06:00] 2012 or 2013, I forget the date. But it's called Tales from Kelly's Cove. And Woody did these incredible oral histories with the guys, and sometimes gals, but mostly guys, who hung out at Kelly's Cove at Ocean Beach. And this was history that was never done before. As Paul Judge was saying earlier, that's because a lot of the guys weren't really that excited to talk to Woody. They're two counter-culture to get on the record. But, but Pat and Jim, you two were two of the centerpieces for, for that program. And, and a lot of these guys lived on the west side. So Pat, of course, was a Sunset guy. Born, born in the Sunset in 1933 on, I think 21st. Right? And, and he made a joke in this oral history that said they cranked us Irish Catholic kids out by the zillions out there.

Lorri: Don’t forget the Italians.

Nicole: And the Italians. [00:07:00] Yes. Thank you, Lorri. I love that so much. 'cause you know, Jim Gallagher, you were part of that crew, right?

Jim: Well, I lived in the other side of the Richmond district. The, the, the park divided us. But we had very similar early experiences with our families and going to the Catholic schools and playing basketball and things of that sort.

Nicole: Did you go to the same schools as Pat? I think he went to St. Anne's.

Jim: I went to Sacred Heart. That's, but I went to many high schools, so Pat went to Sacred Heart all the time. But I went to SI, Sacred Heart, Washington. I was moving around.

Nicole: Because of your, because of your good grades, right Jim?

Jim: Well, the, the obvious story was that there was something about my demeanor and, but mostly it was to get jobs. I, I moved from SI to Sacred Heart to get out an [00:08:00] hour earlier. And from Sacred Heart to Washington to go on a four-four plan. So, I was it was really to get jobs.

Arnold: And, and Jim, Jim, you mentioned playing, I think basketball with them in your youth, is that the CYO leagues?

Jim: Yes, it was. We, we, he played for St. Anne and I played for St. Monica's. We always beat him.

Nicole: We have a great…

Jim: That’s the last time I beat it, Pat at anything.

Nicole: We have a great photo that WNP collected as part of the oral history that we did with Pat of him in the sixth grade boys school at St. Anne's from 1945. And, oh my gosh, these little whipper snappers and their little ties. It's so cute. You can find it online. And Jim, maybe you can tell us just what was it like growing up on the west side of San Francisco in those days to give us a taste of what Pat would've experienced.

Jim: Well, it, it was, it was [00:09:00] quite similar. They probably segregated these guys in about the seventh or eighth grade into all-boys classes and all girls went to all-girls classes. And then we went off to all-boys high schools or all-girls high schools. And so, that was quite similar experience. I had the exclusive experience, between the two of us, going to George Washington which was co-ed. It was quite exciting.

Nicole: And his dad was pretty involved, right? Like his dad was the basketball coach and the baseball coach.

Jim: That's right. I've heard many stories about his father and his coaching, and I heard from the players that played under them that he had great respect. He had a, a way with kids that was really good on the athletic field. Had a good reputation for being, being a strong coach. [00:10:00] We, we depended on the coaches for a lot of things. Some of them didn't know much about the sport, but they had cars to take this to the games. That was one of the key things for many coaches at that time. But he, it was all volunteers when he was a coach of, of St. Anne's.

Nicole: Paul Judge, you have something to, to add?

Paul: No. Maybe Pat or Connie can help us here, but was it your grandfather or great-grandfather that started the San Francisco bowling club in Golden Gate Park?

Pat: Well, I, I don't believe he started it, but he was the president. And as a matter of fact, I was with some friends just a few weekends ago, showing them around the park, and we happened upon the bowling club. And we went in and sure enough, there's still a picture of him on the wall as a past president, which I, I took a picture with. Which [00:11:00] I sent onto my dad and got a good chuckle out of that. But to take a couple steps back, if we're talking about history at St. Anne's. When my father first went to St. Anne's, the boys weren't allowed to participate in organized sports like basketball and baseball. And my grandfather Francis started a drum club and the boys would go out and they'd march around and, and bang on the drums. And that was successful. And that later dovetailed into the padre letting the boys start playing basketball. Which they did in later years. Which, which was, which was pretty cool. Never say never type of that type of story.

Nicole: Do you think they were like, please stop beating those drums. We'll let you play ball now.

Pat: Right, right. I, I, I'd have to find out, but someone told me that one of the drums still exists in the, in the bottom of St. Anne's somewhere. So, I don't know if that's true or not, but I, one of these days when [00:12:00] I, I'm gonna have to, to venture out and go into the, the belly of the whale, so to speak, and try to see if I can find a drum.

Nicole: You’re like, excuse me, I'm Pat Cunneen's son. Like I'm coming through.

Pat: Well, you know, it is funny. I coached a lot myself and my boys now are a, a junior in high school and one's off to college. But when I started playing or coaching basketball, my dad gave me a whistle and it was engraved with my grandfather's name on it.

Paul: Wow.

Pat: And I that, which is pretty cool.

Paul: Very.

Connie: And I know our grandfather, Frank Cunneen, he also won a runner up national in the lawn bowling championships. And I actually have that, that ball that he won with. My dad….

Paul: Cool.

Connie: Yeah.

Paul: Very cool.

Nicole: So, your family is incredibly athletic, just, that just keeps on going down through the generations, but you all seem to really love your own history too. Pat knew everything about everything. [00:13:00] And it seems like you, you're, you're just as sharp there, Pat and Connie.

Pat: Well, I don't, I don't, well, we'll never be as sharp with history as he was. But, one note on that, is he was the keeper, as you can imagine of, of family lore and, and family pictures. And when his house burned down in Santa Rosa, unfortunately many of the pictures went up in smoke. Which what, that was one of the things he always told us, if the house ever burns down, leave, leave the jewelry, but take the pictures. Not that we ever had jewelry, but that pictures, the pictures and history and family, there was nothing more important.

Paul: Yeah. Yeah.

Nicole: Well, he, I it's, it sounds like a lot of your, his photos, at least of the South End Rowing Club, got saved because they'd already been digitized to, to go into the book by Bob Barde. So, you know, there was an angel there at least.

Pat: [00:14:00] Yeah. Yeah. No, Bob, Bob and my father, Bob obviously wrote the South End book. There were, there was a time, and I, for a lot of, for a lot of different reasons, but that's a whole different topic. They were throwing away a lot of the old pictures and mementos in South, South End. And he used to say, well, I had a dumper dive to find all these old pictures, and I saved them all.

Paul: Wow. Wow.

Pat: And I think, you know, as we continue down this road that our society has become kind of a throwaway society. But he really loved history. He, and he loved talking about history and San Francisco was just part of his soul.

Nicole: Yeah, well, I mean, it's hard not to have San Francisco in your soul when you, you live the San Francisco life that Pat did. I was reading through his oral history and he said that his dad taught him to swim at Sutro Baths by like sending him out in a raft and like telling him to get back [00:15:00] to the edge on his own.

Pat: Yeah.

Connie: So many memories, so many memories, Fleishhacker Pool and the Fun House and, my gosh, I can think of so many things.

Pat: We were very, we were very fortunate. My dad as, as you can imagine, he loved adventures and we took a lot of great adventures with him. That's for sure.

Nicole: He must have been such a fun dad. I mean, he was fun just to have around the office, so I can't even imagine what that was like growing up with.

Pat: He never, you know, and it's, obviously you hear it all the time, but he was never sad. And he was…

Connie: He was all about run, jump, and play.

Pat: Yeah. He was as long as you, as long as you could run, jump and play, had a roof over your head and, and a and a food on the table, things weren't too bad.

Paul: Right.

Pat: He was the most optimistic guy you've ever met in your life. It was amazing.

Arnold: You know, that, that's one of the things I [00:16:00] remember best about him, because like, like Nicole and Paul, you know, got to know him a little bit through the Kelly's Cove project and a few events there. Just last year Paul brought Pat down for the Paddle Out for Bill Hickey, and I hung out with the two of them all there. And he is, I, I think the word is relentlessly positive. And this, you know, this is just last year, you know, he is, he was getting up there already then, and just such a great outlook on life.

Pat: Thanks. Yeah. No, he, he, he, he definitely had that.

Nicole: And Bill Hickey, we, we did a Virtual Paddle Out for him too, kind of similar to this when he passed away. And, you know, this is history that's really close to my heart. It's really close to my house as well. I'm in the Sunset. Bill Hickey's cousins used to live in the house that I was in. So like, I really, I, I'm not part of this history, but, but people like your dad made me feel so close to it. And like that's one of the things I'm [00:17:00] gonna miss the most about him. But Jim, just for our listener's sake, what was the surf scene like out at Kelly's Cove? I mean, Pat started going there when he was, what, like 14 or something like that?

Jim: Yeah, he started going there a lot before I did. In fact, it was later. I was, I was in my late teens when I first, you know, he encouraged me. There's the pictures of us taken in 1954 with my camera, and I think there's myself and Dick Bruggisser in there. Almost nobody else is still alive in there, but myself.

Dennis: Is that George Schnapp?

Jim: That's George Schnapp, Dick Petrocchi, Carol Schuldt, Dick Bruggisser, myself, Pat, Tom McFetridge, and Don Gehring.

Paul: Oh wow.

Connie: That was good.

Nicole: Quite a lineup.

Jim: Yeah. They were all, all body surfers. [00:18:00] At the time, you rarely saw a board out there at, at that time. All quite, there's another picture of Pat, that Nicole will have later, of Pat and Petrocchi and Gehring in in Hawaii, in Makaha. This picture here.

Dennis: Yeah.

Jim: This is Betty. And, and Don's, these Betty and I forget Don's wife's name, but they were both nurses and they met, met them in in Hawaii. And Pat says Betty saved his life that time too. So he's, that was a remarkable period they, they went over and collected unemployment for six weeks or so.

Nicole: In Hawaii?

Jim: In Hawaii, yeah.

Connie: Her and my mom's friend was Connie. I'm named Connie.

Jim: That’s right. How could I forget?

Pat: Yeah. At the time there was some type of benefit that if you were recently dispatched from military service, you could [00:19:00] jump on military boats and basically travel around the world. And the first, and his buddies decided they were going to do that after they were deployed from the military. And the first stop was Hawaii and they got off the boat and they met their future wives and they didn't go any farther. So, that's the story there. But my dad actually said he met my mom at the Royal Hawaiian, which was one of the only hotels on the beach at that time. And my mom was working in maternity ward up the street at the hospital. My, she was on break and she was having a smoke on the beach, like everyone used to smoke in the ‘50s and my dad walked by and sat down and bummed a smoke and the rest is history.

Paul: Wow. Wow.

Pat: Yeah.

Paul: That's great.

Nicole: That's wonderful.

Dennis: One, one thing that Pat did was he wrote the date and the [00:20:00] location on every picture he ever took. And it's very helpful. I've never done that once in my life. And, I think that's his, he, with his artistic ability, I'm pretty sure that's his, his inscription down there. It looks pretty familiar that. That heavy black ink. So.

Jim: Well, Makapuu is, was a very famous and still is body surfing place in, in Oahu.

Nicole: And, and Pat had already, had already been through the University of San Francisco, like a good Irish boy, Irish Catholic, and he was part of the ROTC there, which is how he got into the, the Coast Guard, right?

Pat: I, he never, he never graduated from the University of San Francisco.

Nicole: Oh.

Pat: So he went through two years and then the war broke out. And then, and then he didn't go back. He, he became a fireman.

Nicole: And that was the [00:21:00] Korean War, right?

Paul: Correct.

Pat: Right.

Nicole: But never deployed overseas, always just off the coast of California.

Pat: He was fortunate. He went to San Pedro and worked on the Minnetonka, or not work, but he served on the Minnetonka. And then he received papers to work back in Alameda. And he was fortunate to be in Alameda because he could go home and sleep in his own bed if he wanted to, and see his buddies that weren't, that weren't off to war.

Nicole: So, so he, he gets married. He and Betty start to raise a family, obviously, and he joins the fire department. What was, can anybody speak to his time in the fire department here?

Jim: Well, he was in the Daly City Fire Department, and I was in the San Francisco Fire Department, but I went in, actually after he did. He had a long career there. And what, what I know about, he used to organize or help organize the [00:22:00] the track team from Daly City. He got, recruited a whole bunch of firefighters to run. And when I first started doing races around Lake Merced, he would always bring out four or five guys from Daly City to participate in our races. So he was, he was a pretty, you know, constant organizer and promoting, promoting recreational health.

Arnold: One of the little facts I like about him was his quote, “side hustle” as an engraver. Can anybody tell us like what kinds of things did he engrave? What did this entail?

Connie: Everything.

Pat: Yeah.

Connie: Right, everything.

Pat: Yeah. No, taking that few steps back to the pictures he used to write on, which I actually start doing too, and it's a great little habit, but when he started engraving, he could engrave a bunch of stuff too. So, you remembered where you got that or, you know, he'd pick up trinkets on his travels and he'd engrave on the [00:23:00] bottom, you know, Thailand 2021 or what have you. So, you could remember where you got that. Or if it was passed down, you could remember it. But back to the fire department, my, my sister and I, and my brother and my other sister, we're very grateful he was a fireman because he worked back in the day was a Kelly shift, so you worked eight days a week. So, the days he had off, I mean, eight days a month, and the days he had off, he would make 110% of those days off. We would be going everywhere. Whether it's a river or Tahoe or Santa Cruz or you name it, we were going. And he wouldn't split by himself, he'd take us. And we were the recipients of a lot of great, great times and a lot of great adventures.

Connie: Lots of adventure.

Pat: Yeah. Yeah. No, and I remember many times too, we'd take the neighborhood kids and we'd, we'd have a ball. We'd just have a ball. So [00:24:00]

Connie: Yeah, we definitely grew up doing a lot of fun things all the time.

Pat: Yeah. I, I think he, I think the fire department also, what attracted him too is it, it, it, you, you helped people. And you communicated with people. And you got to know people. And it was really a people person type of job. And he really enjoyed that. I mean, he could have retired years, years earlier, but he didn't. He kept on. And I asked him before, why don't you retire? He said, you know, I love it. I love the guys I work with. I love the job. It's exciting and it keeps me young. So, he was very fortunate to find that occupation and we as his kids, were fortunate he had that job too.

Nicole: Well, your dad seemed to like I, we know, we know a lot of folks who are involved with different organizations, but your dad in particular, the organizations he was a part of, he was a part of it. Like [00:25:00] he, he was one of the critical members of that group. WNP is one of 'em. The South End Rowing Club, I, I'm, I don't know how that place is going to survive without your dad. It, it just feels, it feels like he was the South End Rowing Club. My, my apologies to anyone from the rowing club listening to this, who maybe take issue with that. But, but where did, where did the running come from? Because I know he founded, he founded, or he, he co-founded a, a running club, Where, why running? How did he get into that sport?

Pat: Yeah. Yeah.

Connie: You want to get into that?

Pat: Sure. No, I'll get into that. Jim, you could probably expound on that too.

Connie: It's a good one.

Pat: It's, he like most people in the ‘50s, you got home from work, you lit a cigarette and you poured yourself a highball. And he was going down the wrong road. You know, he had his fourth kid, married, job, the whole nine yards. And drinking was, started to become a, a big part of his life. Too much [00:26:00] so. So, he had to unwind that and find other avenues instead of going down to the pub at night, he'd go and run. And running back when he started was unheard of. People didn't understand.

Connie: This was in 1969.

Pat: Yeah. No one ran. There wasn't such thing as running shoes or even running shorts. He used to run in cutoff Levi's and Chuck Taylors, because that's all there was back then. And I remember, and I don't know if it's true, but I've, I, I heard this story from a friend, that one time he was running around Lake Merced in his Chuck Taylors and his cutoffs, and his buddy pulled up in a Cadillac and rolled down the window and said, “hey, hey Cunneen, what are you doing? Did your car break down?” He said, “no, no, no. I'm taking a run.” He goes, “yeah, I can see that. Why don't you jump in, I'll drive you home so you can get your car fixed.” He said, “no, I'm running.” And the guy rolled up his window and said, the guy must be crazy. But no one used to run back then. I was kind of unheard of it. [00:27:00] And Jim, you could probably speak to more why he picked up on running, huh?

Jim: Yeah. It, he was truly a leader in that, because he got into it just before the boom started and was very influential. In fact, your whole family was. I remember there's some of the early pictures and running with the D-SE. When I showed up down there, it was Pat, your mom, that encouraged me to come back and later, you know, become a, a member. And I wasn't, I, I always kind of was a little bit athletic, but I was riding a bicycle and that that was, that was what some of us got, had been doing. Roger Monks, I think, you remember that name?

Pat: Yeah.

Jim: Was influencing your dad with, with the, the cycling. But your dad preferred running. He would tell me, he said no matter what happens is, I can get out for 30 or [00:28:00] 45 minutes and run, I'm, I'm a happy man for the day. And it really gave him that fulfilling sensibility. Calmed him down. And, and you are right, right, we, we were growing up and we now could afford to buy more alcohol. We could drink. So, we were in trouble. And we had to find a way out. And he, he really got the key. And I, I credit my conditioning all, all along to his inspiration. So he…

Dennis: That, that's my, the heliotrope in front of our house.

Jim: Yeah.

Dennis: Just looking at it. 1360 McAllister. You, you know, Jim, in those days, if you saw someone running along the Great Highway, they were a boxer and they used to wear boots, you know? But the other thing was when the Bay to [00:29:00] Breakers used to finish in front of the Bull Pup, that was the Kelly's Cove connection, you know?

Jim: Yes. It was.

Dennis: It all used to end up there. Used to turn right instead of left.

Jim: Yeah.

Dennis: And that was one of the things that sort of stimulated the running craze anyway.

Jim: Well, there's few guys from the beach, John Sadie and Johnny Corts, and a few, few of those guys that did it. But they just like Pat said, they were considered oddballs. You know, anybody would, would wear a bathing suit in the San Francisco beach had to be odd. 55-degree water or less.

Arnold: And not only does he become a big time runner himself, but then, which seems so typical for him, he, he starts promoting it by him and his wife starting this Pamakid Running Club. How did that come about?

Pat: I, I, well go ahead.

Connie: Well, let's see. We would run around Lake Merced [00:30:00] Wednesday nights. There was, again, he got us all into running, our entire family. I think Garrett was about six and, you know, I was maybe 10. And we started running. And then my mother and my father, and there was a few other families, the Boitanos, I don't know anybody knows them, but as well as some other people, and they got together and decided they were gonna start the PaMaKids. And my mother was the first president.

Pat: Yeah.

Connie: And my dad and my mom, to this day, that running club is still going strong. So, I credit my father, thank goodness he's, he started all of that. It, it really changed my life for sure. I'm thankful for that.

Pat: Yeah, and just to add to that, we initially started running with the Dolphin-South End Club or the D-SE Club, which was affiliated with AAU. And, at the time, the AAU would not let women participate in [00:31:00] the running events. They thought it was unhealthy for women to run. And my, I can remember, and there's pictures that are around somewhere with my mom and my dad and Jack Bettencourt and Dolphin Club, and the Boitanos and a few other families and the kids, picketing the Bay to Breakers, cause at that time they would not let women participate in the Bay to Breakers.

Connie: That was in 1970. I have pictures of me in that crowd with a AAU unfair to little ladies.

Pat: Yeah.

Paul: Wow. Wow.

Pat: Yeah, and, and I think that, at that time, and Connie, correct me wrong, but if I remember the lore, there are actually a couple women that ran with wigs to, to masquerade as men so they could run in the Bay to Breakers. And if you think about how things have changed so much, that's, that's crazy. If you think just a few years ago women couldn't run, because they thought it was unhealthy. My, [00:32:00] my dad loved to see people run and rosy cheeks, as he used to say. And he loved to see men and women and particularly get out there and, and compete and run and sweat. And he was definitely in the forefront of if, if you wanna call it women's sports. But, but encouraging women to, to, to go out there and, and run. So, when we, when I, as I understand it, the D-SE associated with AAU wouldn't let women run, so, they started the PaMaKids. So, it was a family, it's pa, ma and kids, the father, pa and ma and the kids PaMaKids. And obviously it was inclusive and let everyone run.

Arnold: Now that name makes complete sense.

Paul: Yes.

Nicole: Yeah, he was always trying to get me to jog and I had to tell him I was more of an indoorsy kind of, of gal. And that, if you did see me run it would look unnatural. So probably best for me to stay inside. [00:33:00] But he always tried. I appreciated him for that. Well, we, one of the last times we, he came, he stopped by the office to drop off a book, he told a story that I have now told several times because it makes me laugh so much. Just remembering him laughing at this story. I guess he took a trip to Machu Picchu recently, or like within like the last like five years. And he was talking about how they didn't speak the language super well, but he wanted, he wanted to go up, you know, he wanted to do the mountain climb. He wanted to get up to the top. And, you know, folks would kind of chatter around him when they'd see him amongst all these other younger people. Kind of like I don't know. But he didn't speak the language, so it was all good. So he, he huffs and he puffs and he gets up the top of Machu Picchu or some very tall mountain, and when he gets up there he is, you know, everyone starts clapping and your dad turned around and started clapping too. Like, oh, go, yay. [00:34:00] Congratulations everyone. And one of the guides said, no, they're clapping for you. The old guy got up the mountain.

Pat: Yeah.

Nicole: And he couldn't believe it.

Pat: Yeah.

Nicole: He went, what old guy?  Oh. So cute.

Connie: Never quit. He, he never quit. He just kept going.

Nicole: I mean, I couldn't get up. I, I can barely get up Nob Hill these days. And I'm in my thirties. So, your dad was a constant inspiration. Maybe, but, but like before we go, we should talk about his involvement with the South End Rowing Club, because that was, besides PaMaKid, like that, those are the two names that keep popping up in, in every reminiscence I hear about him.

Dennis: Oh, and somebody told me that there was going to be a service at St. Monica's and then an event at the South End on the 29th of July, but I've never heard anything more. That's [00:35:00] just from a Robert Carsey. I don't know whether it's hearsay or whatever.

Pat: Yeah. So the service, the funeral service is this Saturday at St. Anne's, which was his parish growing up.

Dennis: That makes more sense than St. Monica's.

Pat: It sure does. It sure does. That’s at 12:00 and the reception is at two o'clock at the South End Rowing Club. The celebration of life, if you wanna call it.

Dennis: Okay.

Nicole: And for our listeners who maybe don't know, what is the South End Rowing Club? Would anyone like to give a succinct explanation of what it is?

Pat: Jim, you wanna tackle that one, or?

Jim: Well, I was a member for two or three years, but I only went in there to go to the bathroom after Dipsea races. And so, I, at the time that I was waiting for a locker and they were, they were going, going through a transition, but basically, it's a group of, of men and women [00:36:00] that have, have an interest in swimming in the Bay. Primarily. A little bit of rowing and a little bit of running. And they have a long-time rivalry with the Dolphin Club, which is right next door. They have a lot of swim meets with them. Mainly, mostly the swims from Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Swim. Another close friend, well, Bob Roeper was very much involved in, in managing though. Another good friend was Dominic Spinetta, who was still a member, good friends with Pat. But Pat was really he, he oversaw a lot of that, was organizing it, and very competitive with the Dolphin Club. Always mindful of, you know, we got 'em one up those guys. And so, yeah. And, and it's a nice place you, you can have family outing. And I remember Pat's 80th birthday down there, which was a great, great [00:37:00] event. We used to go down there on St. Patrick's Day because there was always special day for that. They brought in the Irish dancers and the dancer and the bagpipers and all the rest of them. So, but it was a social club as, as well as athletic club.

Nicole: And he was just honored by the club in May, right?

Connie: Yeah.

Jim: I didn't hear that, Nicole.

Nicole: Oh, he was just honored by the club in May, right?

Jim: Yes, he, he was honored a couple times for different things. But he, and the, as you mentioned earlier, the book that he co-wrote and provided many of the pictures for is, is probably one of the nicer things that went on. He was given a, a long, I, I know maybe Pat knows more about that, I know he was given a big award down there for membership and loyalty and contributions to the club over the last 50 years or so.

Paul: Katherine has something to say.

Katherine: I can add a little bit to [00:38:00] that. So wanted to say hello everyone. I'm Katherine Petrin, and even though Pat and I had a lot of things in common growing up on the west side and Catholic school and lots of things. I really didn't meet him until maybe the last eight or 10 years. And I met him through Western Neighborhoods Project. And he was just so delightful, so fun to talk to. I always sought him out at events because I knew that we'd have a good conversation. And yeah, he, he's just a big sweetheart. And then a couple of years ago, I joined the South End, and then I find out that Pat's legend at the South, the South End too. And he was, you know, at so many different events. But just to clarify, the South End this year celebrated its 150th anniversary. It was founded in 1873, making it four years older than the Dolphin Club.

Pat: Yay.

Connie: We learned to say [00:39:00] yay on those kind of things.

Katherine: And at the gala, in, in May, the president of the club, Fran Haigler, she awarded Pat the President's Award. And it was for, you know, many as you say, I'm sure it wasn't his first award from the, from the South End Club, because he was so involved in so many things, and she talked a little bit about his accomplishments that night. He, I have to say, he was, I was sitting right next to him when he went up to pick, get the award from her, and he was just really all smiles and he seemed, you know, quite pleased about it. But she mentioned that one of the things that he did is that every, you, you all might know this, but every single photo on the walls at the South End has this, you know, distinctive scroll on it. That, and then his writing captioned every photo, he put the dates on every photo. [00:40:00] He was always all about the, the club and kind of engendering more pride among the younger members. And he was just super fun. Like you say, he was extremely optimistic and always, you know, had something funny to say. And wasn't he Croatian, am I remembering that right, or Slovenian?

Pat: He was yeah, primarily Irish, but he had Slovenian blood in him as well. Absolutely.

Katherine: We used, I'm Croatian. We used to talk about that. There was never any, anything, you know, anything, there was always something to talk to Pat about. And so, I'm really grateful to Western Neighborhoods Project for this Paddle Out. Thank you, Nicole. Thank you, Arnold. I am, and thank you to Pat and Connie. I won't be in town on Saturday, otherwise I would definitely be at St. Anne's and the South End for your dad. So, I'm very happy to be able to listen in tonight and the photos are just fantastic. So, thank you so much for sharing that.

Nicole: [00:41:00] Yeah. And we have one of you too Pat. Jim Gallagher sent it over.

Pat: Oh, nice. Jim. Great.

Jim: That's Pat Junior and his and, and his son and Patrick's grandson. So.

Pat: Yeah.

Jim: Pat sent that to me, he did, taking it, and I, proud of that as second and third generations at Ocean Beach.

Pat: Yeah. What's funny about that is that's my son who's now in college. But if you go to the first picture that you showed of my great, great-great grandparents on the beach, it's almost taken in the same…

Paul: Place.

Pat: Same location. Yeah.

Nicole: Oh my gosh.

Paul: Right there.

Pat: It's right up, it's right up the ramp from where that other picture was taken.

Paul: Yeah.

Pat: In 1913.

Jim: That's wild.

Nicole: You, you can't plan that kind of continuity. I wish, I wish we had planned this. Like, we did not. I was throwing [00:42:00] photos into a slideshow as fast as Jim Gallagher could send them to me.

Pat: Well, it's funny if you look at that, o then how many generations of those two pictures are there? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Five or six generations in those two pictures in the same location in San Francisco on the beach. That's pretty cool.

Jim: That's what, that's really wild.

Pat: Yeah. If I was better with, yeah, if I was a little better, I, I, I would navigate the pictures and Photoshop 'em all in together. That'd be kind of cool. All, all six generations on the beach to the same spot.

Jim: Yeah.

Nicole: We'll send an intern your way and, and they can do that for you.

Pat: No, no, no. It's just, that's just, that's cool. Thanks for sending that over, Jim.

Nicole: I mean, for someone who, who left where she was born and raised, like, it's so wonderful to see this kind of family history rooted at the beach out here. I too am rooted in a beach family, but we're in southern California, so that's different. And, and, yeah, your dad, your dad really did like the, the reunions that Kelly, the [00:43:00] Kelly's Cove crew has been having for as long as I've known Western Neighborhoods Project, I mean we lost Bill Hickey last year. That seems like someone who we, we couldn't recover from. But really, I don't know how we're gonna keep doing these without your dad.

Pat: Well, I think that that's the Lewis family, which, and, and, and Mike is in one of the previous pictures you have. But I remember my dad and introducing me to Hickey. And Hickey used to fix my surfboard dings back in the day when he used to live by at Ocean Beach. Pretty funny.

Nicole: I mean, just, just casually having a, a surf legend fix your surfboards.

Pat: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That was awesome.

Arnold: You know, it's unfortunate that the listening audience will not see most of these pictures, but I would encourage people to go to our website outsidelands.org. You can search on Pat's last name, Cunneen, spelled C-U-N-N-E-E-N, [00:44:00] and there will be some pictures of him on there related to the Kelly's Cove project, and you should check those out.

Nicole: It's true, and maybe I'll figure out how to upload these photos one of these days and we can get more of the Kelly's Cove crew up. But I mean, Paul, you, you spent a lot of time with Pat. I mean you were basically his chauffeur to and from the city, if I remember correctly for, for, for…

Paul: That, that was true for many of the WNP and Kelly's Cove events. Not true for South End events. So, I don't know how he managed. Connie and Pat, do you know how your dad got down to the city? He was driving, but he was at, in later years, he was feeling a little bit less secure about that.

Pat: Yeah, no, he was less secure, but to be honest, he was still driving. I went with him at the 150 year reunion and, where he received President's Award, and he drove to my house here in Marin and I drove him in. But with that [00:45:00] being said, he was riding his bicycle up until two years before he passed.

Paul: Yeah.

Pat: So, so I mean, I'm, not two years, about, about two weeks before he passed away, he was riding his bicycle. And I remember calling him and he was all fired up and stoked about taking a ride. And I said, dad, you know, you really gotta stop riding that bike. You're gonna fall off. You're gonna break a hip. And I suggested he buy one of those three wheeled, you know, bicycles, those granny bikes. And he looked at me with all, I hadn't seen him look at me like that in years. He said, you will never, ever, ever see me on a granny bike, three-wheeler. So yeah, no, he was still driving, but limited, very limited in driving. And so, you're right, Paul. But he, he loved his chat and chew group, I gotta tell you.

Paul: Oh.

Connie: He talked about it all the time.

Paul: Yeah. We [00:46:00] had a ton of fun meeting up. And this again, was this, this, this bond from the Cliff House meetings that Woody and David organized in the early oughts.  And we'd meet, I don't know, I, I forget, it seemed like we met monthly. And it allowed folks who were communicating on the community message board on the WNP, which was like homeroom for so many of us. And then, out of that, you know, about a dozen of us would meet for lunches on the, you know, on the San, in San Francisco peninsula. And then we had our subgroup, the North Bay Group, which was your dad and Dennis O'Rorke and John Martini and myself. And we'd meet anywhere from Petaluma to Jenner for coffee or lunch and so on. I, since I'm mouthing off at the moment, Connie and Pat, your dad was so proud of you and your sisters and brother and your grandkids. [00:47:00] He and, and your dad, as you know, was humble. All of us know that Pat was humble and he didn't brag about himself. But, by God, he was so proud of you all, as was your mom, Betty, you know. And I'm looking at you guys and you look so much like both of your mom and dad. It's just, woo, you know, something else.

Connie: Well, thanks.

Pat: Well thanks. I appreciate it.

Connie: Yes, absolutely. We're, we miss them both very much.

Paul: You have to, you have to. We miss, we miss them. We miss them.

Pat: Yeah. Yeah.

Nicole: Maybe we should get the chat and chew back together.

Paul: Alright. Arnold will organize it. No, we'd be for it. We, we, we'd come down, we'll, I, I'd, I'd haul Dennis down or he's, if he's not already on McAllister Street with, you know, all of his activities there.

Nicole: I mean, we finally managed to clean up [00:48:00] the, the clubhouse a little bit. We could, we could host at the clubhouse. It's not super comfortable, but we do have a weird amount of chairs.

Paul: We'll bring our own. You're all invited. You're all invited.

Nicole: Absolutely. Absolutely. And we're, we're probably coming up on an hour now, but I want everyone to have an opportunity to say, like, share one of their favorite memories of Pat before we sign off for the evening.

Pat: Wow.

Nicole: I know that's probably hard.

Jim: It really is. I mean, I, I, I'm in a flux right now for, you know, an old story, a young story, a recent story. I happened to have the good fortune of having talked to him, I think on Saturday, the day before he passed. And we had a nice conversation and I was just immensely shocked when I heard the next day that he had passed. It was very sudden. I'll comment on this photo. That this is Art Citernen, and his wife. And Pat out of the, one of the Kelly's Cove [00:49:00] reunions. But maybe a little story. The picture of Pat and I that is in the black and white that showed earlier, was taken in 1957 down in in Los Angeles. We had spent an Easter weekend away down there. And it was a, it was a, a very memorable event because we drove off here in San Francisco and, and this was taken up at Mount, one of the places that we stopped by to see, visit. And Tom McFetridge, the third party here was, took this picture of Pat and I sitting up on the rail on Easter Sunday morning.

Pat: Wow.

Connie: Great picture.

Pat: That's a great shot.

Jim: Yeah.

Nicole: I feel like…

Lorri: While we're looking at old pictures, why don't you show my, put my picture up. Arnold and, or whoever's doing the. This is [00:50:00] Lorri Ungaretti and I was working on a Then and Now book of the Sunset. And the picture, it for those who can't see the pictures, the one on the left is black and white of a woman and a, and a child. And that is Pat and his mother. And I don't know exactly how I got that photo, but it might have been from Woody, cause it was right around the time that he was doing the oral histories. And, and that was my “then” photo. And then, I contacted Pat and he was so gracious, you know, I, I said, let, do you still have the house? And he said, yes, my brother and I own it. And so, he met me there and I took a, a “now” picture of him in front of the same house. And, and it was just really nice of him. He didn't know me from anyone and he met me there and it was very nice.

Nicole: And Lorri, where can folks find that book?

Lorri: [00:51:00] Oh, does WNP still sell that book?

Nicole: We do technically. We took our store down from the website, but, but it's at our office and we do still have copies available. Not to shamelessly plug ourselves or Lorri.

Lorri: You can do that. Yes.

Nicole: But here we are. Does anyone else have a memory of Pat to share before we sign off?

Pat: There, there's, there's so, so many for my sister and I. Just reiterate the fact how lucky we were to have a father like that. And I'd be remiss if I didn't say a mother like that too. We were, we hit the jackpot. And there's, there's just so many memories. But what I think I, if I take away anything, it was just how full of life he was. And how he genuinely cared about other people. We didn't talk about his art, but he loved art.

Paul: Yeah.

Pat: And he was a great drawer. And I [00:52:00] can't tell you how many posters he painted through the years. Not just for the South End. For, for confirmations and parties and bar mitzvahs, and you name it. If you went in the garage, he'd have posters going for people that he'd paint. Obviously just for free, because he loved people. And he just, he just was so full of life. And going back to another question that we talked about earlier. He was big on not being a spectator, but being involved. And don't get me wrong, he loved to watch the Niners and the Warriors and the Giants and the whole thing. But if it was a chance between watching the sport or playing the sport, he'd be out in the field, a hundred percent. So I, I always loved that. And yeah, just once again, he was a, he was a great dad and a great guy, so God bless him.

Nicole: Absolutely.

Dennis: Oh, can I?

Paul: Go ahead.

Dennis: Can I comment?

Paul: Yeah, go ahead, Den.

Dennis: At the Bill Hickey [00:53:00] memorial out at Kelly's Cove, my wife and Pat both had mobility issues at that time. A little achy. And she was sitting next to him on that concrete abutment between the ice plant and the parking area, and she said she had, she never had the opportunity to have an extended conversation with him before. And she said he went on and on about his family in the most glowing terms. And she said it was so inspirational. It made her feel so good. And she keeps talking about it from time to time. So, I just thought that was a really nice little, to get, get together. So. Okay. That's it.

Connie: So blessed to have him as a father. He, this was the best. And our family was just so close and will continue to be, but we're gonna miss him.

Paul: Yeah, no doubt. Has the, Dennis, has your Jeanette MacDonald video reached [00:54:00] this crowd yet? Has Nicole and Arnold, you probably received it, right? But I'm hoping that Connie and Pat can see it. It's this basically, but with a soundtrack, and I was so impressed that Dennis was able to contact Jeanette MacDonald for the soundtrack, considering that’s Tony Bennett, who passed this weekend.

Dennis: That’s the book I was talking about with, what's his name? Oh boy. Colin Gift.

Paul: Yes. That's Colin. Another great.

Dennis: That was today.

Arnold: Yeah, we, we have the, the link for that and it's hard…

Dennis: You know Paul, if you could send it around, I, I don't even know what it is. Let's see.

Paul: I think Arnold has it.

Arnold: We have it.

Dennis: It's a YouTube thing. So.

Arnold: Yeah, it is on YouTube. We have it. It's hard to read out the YouTube address here in this podcast. But we will be posting it in our social media channels so that people get a chance to see it.

Dennis: Okay. Yeah, I [00:55:00]

Arnold: So if anyone listening…

Dennis: I’ll be bringing that down to I, so, and I got a bunch more pictures of 'em up in Monte Rio. So, anyway.

Arnold: If anybody's listening and hasn't seen it on social media channels or any of you who've joined us here today want it, simply email us podcast@outsidelands.org and we'll be happy to send you the link for it.

Nicole: Yeah, absolutely. We might even figure out how to put it in the podcast transcript [Ed. note, the link is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFz1AWpRqvo]

Paul: Cool.

Dennis: Okay.

Nicole: But no promises.

Pat: He, he would be embarrassed by all the this, this attention that he is getting to him. He was super, super casual guy. He hated white tablecloth dinners and he, his dream dinner would be, you know, to go have hot dogs and with all the family and friends and watch the sunset.

Nicole: Yep.

Pat: So, but there's other interviews if, if, [00:56:00] if someone's interested on YouTube of him showing a, giving a tour of South End, and showing the pictures on the wall and giving some history about each picture. And there's, there's, I, I was sent them recently, so they're up there if you if you care.

Nicole: That's wonderful, Pat. Thank you. And I don't, I don't wanna cut everybody, anybody off, but we are our, our, our producer, our podcast producer's gonna yell at me for being over time, but I do wanna share one last thing is that when I took over at WNP, I've already shared the story with some of you, for our listeners, when I took over at WNP, very green, very nervous, your dad was one of the first ones to say, you know, go get 'em, kid. He truly, he truly thought I was, I was gonna, I was gonna do all right here. And I hope, I'm hope I do him proud moving forward into the next well, how long, however long WNP will have me. So, I'm so glad that your dad was born and that your family is [00:57:00] part of San Francisco history.

Pat: Thank you.

Nicole: And we'll, Arnold, unless you think we've missed anything, I think that can conclude the, the fun part of the program.

Arnold: Yeah. We'll kind of speed through the usual lengthy end part of this. There won't be any listener mail because this is, kind of been a whole listener mail podcast.

Nicole: Yeah.

Arnold: You all know the benefits of membership and donating, so we won't go through that.

Nicole: Yeah.

Arnold: Just please support us, if you can, by clicking on the big orange buttons for membership or donation on our websites, which are outsidelands.org and OpenSFHistory.org.

Nicole: Yeah. And I don't think we need to do any more announcements. You all know where to find our events. You know, we're doing things. Tonight, I just wanna say thank you to everybody who was here. Pat, Connie, Paul, Jim, Katherine, Lorri, Dennis. Just amazing that you were here to, [00:58:00] to share in this and to share your memories. So, thank you for being with us tonight.

Connie: Aloha.

Pat: Thank you. Thanks for everything, Nicole.

Nicole: Of course, I, I've done nothing, but I'm happy to do what I can.

Connie: Oh, but you have.

Arnold: Truly. And for that all, truly all of you made this such a good podcast.

Nicole: Yes. Thank you so much. And now we're going to read a preview for next week, aren't we, Arnold?

Arnold: Well, that's debatable because we don't actually have a preview for next week. We don't know what we're doing yet.

Nicole: Yeah.

Arnold: But we'll, we'll figure it out.

Nicole: Yeah. We're, we're faking it till we make it listeners, but, but we're doing what we can. Until next time, I'm Nicole Meldahl.

Jim: We're saving the day.

Pat: Good night everybody.

Paul: Good night.

Connie: Good night.

Pat: God bless.

Arnold: And I’m Arnold Woods.

Nicole: Yes. Good night everyone. Thank you for being with us for this very special episode of Outside Lands San Francisco. Goodnight [00:59:00]

Ian: Outside Lands San Francisco is recorded by Ian Hadley. Content creation and media production at ihadley.com.

Nicole: To learn more about the Western Neighborhoods Project and more on San Francisco history, go to Outsidelands.org. You can also find us on social media at Facebook, which is outsidelands with an S, at Twitter, which is outsidelandz with a Z, and on Instagram, which is outsidelandz, also with a Z. And check out our historic San Francisco images website at OpenSFHistory.org.

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