Patricia (Pat) Comaskey, the woman who stood behind the scenes in support of her husband and former Thompson mayor, the late Bill Comaskey, died April 5 after a brief illness, just over 10 months after the death of her husband.
Born Catherine Patricia Sheerin in Archerstown, Westmeath, Ireland on Feb. 9, 1944, Pat Comaskey immigrated to Thompson in 1967, following Bill, who had come to the Nickel City a year before. They were married in Thompson and raised two children – Brenda and David – in the city.
"I have heard people describe her as the 'quiet support' of my Dad and his political career and I think that is quite fitting," Brenda wrote in an e-mail to the Thompson Citizen. "She didn't like to be the centre of attention but she was right there beside him whenever the occasion warranted. She really enjoyed travelling with him across Canada when she was able to join him."
Once her children were attending school, Patricia Comaskey returned to work, beginning a lengthy career at the Thompson General Hospital.
"She really enjoyed her time at medical records before retiring in 2003 and made very good friends there," said her daughter. "They would continue to celebrate each other's birthdays."
Pat Comaskey was known for her love of golf, a passion she pursued both at the Thompson Golf Club during her time in the North and at the Southwood Golf & Country Club in Winnipeg after she and her husband moved there in 2006 to be closer to their children. She was also very dedicated to her family, both in Canada and in her native country.
"I would describe my mother as a very loving, supportive mother who made many sacrifices – along with my Dad – for David and I," wrote Brenda. "No matter what was going on in their lives, family was a priority for her and she took advantage of every opportunity to spend time with us."
Her relatives in Ireland included three sisters, nieces, nephews and extended family, along with her in-laws
"She made trips back to Ireland many times over the years and family had also been over for visits," says Brenda. "For both my parents – despite the distance, Ireland and her family there were always a big part of her life."
Bill Comaskey died at the age of 65 last June, about five years after he stepped down as the longest-serving mayor of Thompson, a job he held for more than 15 years.
He and Pat still had extended family members living in Thompson and were fondly remembered by many current and former residents, as evidenced by messages of condolence posted in the guest book of Patricia's obituary on the Winnipeg Free Press Passages website.
"Pat was a great support to Bill, attending many functions and it was good to have shared those times together," read one such message from Valerie Wilson, a former school board trustee in Thompson and the widow of the late city councillor Brian Wilson, who served on council with Bill Comaskey, twice acting as deputy mayor. "As Bill would have said, 'Rest in Peace,' Pat. He was probably waiting for her with open arms and that big grin on his face."