Patrick “Zaz” Gawin was a big man with an even bigger heart. He was a man of strong convictions, and based all he did focused on what was right, and always with others in mind. He was there with a helping hand when needed, and endeavored to make things easier for all. Many will keep close to their hearts Patrick’s happy disposition which made everything seem okay when enjoying his company. Family was his greatest treasure, and he cherished good friends, yet the family and friendships he leaves behind will never be the same without him. Sadly missed, he will be remembered with love.
The hottest thing on wheels, the ’55 Chevy found many Americans with their car radios tuned to the hit, “Rock Around the Clock” while at home television sets were dialed to “The Mickey Mouse Club”. A favorite among young boys everywhere, Davy Crockett films introduced a world of adventure for those wearing his ever popular, coonskin cap. It was during this same time in 1955 in the bustling city of Springfield, Illinois when John Francis and Mary Ann (Brost) Gawin celebrated the birth of Patrick Anthony on January 21 at Memorial Hospital.
A big, beautiful baby boy, Patrick tipped the scales at birth weighing ten pounds and his large frame and stature was a trait he carried throughout life. The youngest of three, he joined his older brother, Michael, and sister Joy in their family home. As a youngster, Patrick’s brother pegged him with the nickname, “Zaz” which remained well into his later years. His earlier years were spent living in Springfield, but as a family they later packed up and moved to Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. He went on to be involved in Boy Scouts, camping, and thoroughly enjoyed the outdoors.
Patrick looked up to his big brother and liked hanging out with the older kids. Near and dear to his heart were the many wonderful family vacations his family shared at their cottage on Harpers Lake in Taylor County, near Medford, Wisconsin. The area where his mother’s family was from, it truly was a place where Patrick held fond memories. He especially loved taking in his love for the outdoors there and spent much time swimming, fishing, and hunting, but most importantly, for the great times spent there with family and friends. He also enjoyed spending time at his maternal grandparent’s farm where he and his siblings, and many cousins, shared memorable adventures. He could hold his own, and never backed down from a dare, which he credited to always being around the older kids.
A bright student, Patrick attended Shady Lane Grade School and later, Good Shepherd Catholic School. He excelled in his studies, especially math, and often helped fellow classmates understand their lessons. In high school he was enrolled in a few pre-college courses and enjoyed reading. He also got involved in drama, having inherited his love for drama from his mother. Patrick worked on the stage crew for high school plays and also performed in a few. Faith played a vital role in Patrick’s life. He faithfully attended Mass and was actively involved with his youth group at church. For a summer job during his high school years, he enjoyed working with Ray Martin at the school where he learned to paint and was soon regarded the best painter in the family.
After graduating from Menomonee Falls North High School, Patrick went on to the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire and later in Madison where he studied geography. While in school he became a member of Phi Sigma Epsilon fraternity, and also enjoyed studying abroad in Europe for a year, and took time for travel. After earning his bachelor’s degree in Urban Renewal and Planning, Patrick secured a job with the State of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture. He continued working there until funding for the department dissolved. He then took a position with Chemlawn as a dispatch manager, handling over 10,000 customers. He later went to work as a dispatch manager for Bend Industries, now known as Northfield Block Ready Mix and presently was working for Jackson Concrete Inc. Over the years Patrick developed many friendships through his contacts dispatching.
Patrick enjoyed fishing and hunting with his brother, Mike and friends. He was a huge Packers fan and shared season tickets with his friend Steve Goodsett. At each game he worked with his friend Roger Pomprowitz and Steve to make sure the tailgate was set up for a group of 30 or more devoted Packer fans. He loved traveling to Las Vegas with friends and family, and often came home a winner.
For the most part, Patrick’s world revolved around family and his closest friends. He never married, and family was very important to him. Following his father’s death in 1997, Patrick looked out for his mom. He happily took on projects around the house or at the cottage. Known as Uncle Pat, he especially loved his nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews. Patrick was very proud and honored when he became godfather to his niece, Ashley and nephew, Michael.
A giant of a man on the inside as well as out, Patrick was forever a loyal friend. He was generous, and when needed could be counted on before even being asked. His convictions ran deep, always taking what was right, to heart. Patrick upheld high principles which only validated his genuine nature and integrity. Whenever someone did something wrong, he was known for kidding around and saying, “He’s no blood to me!”. Always deep in thought, he also tried to figure things out for himself in life, but mostly for those who he deeply cared for.
Though sometimes rough on the outside, Pat’s growl was always followed by a quick smile and a laugh. His heart was made of gold. He lived life loving others. He gave of himself wholeheartedly as a hard worker, devoted son, dedicated brother, and dear friend. Born to eternal life on Sunday, March 25, 2012, Patrick died suddenly and quite unexpectedly from a pulmonary embolism at the age of 57. Through the many lives he touched, Patrick Anthony “Zaz” Gawin made a difference in the world around him and will be fondly remembered.
Patrick was the dearly beloved son of the late John and Mary Ann Gawin; dear brother of Michael (the late Bernardine) Gawin, and Joy (Michael) Vuolo. He was a loving uncle to Ashley (Kyle) Regier, John (Jennifer Bingham) Gawin, Anthony (Cristi) Vuolo, and Michael S. (Laura) Vuolo; great-uncle of Carter James, Ethan, Isabella, Jaden, Wesley and Macey. He is further survived by uncles, aunts, other relatives and many friends.
Visitation with Patrick’s family will be held on Thursday, March 29, 2012 at the Good Shepherd Catholic Church, N88 W17658 Christman Road in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin from 3–5:45 PM followed by the Mass of Christian Burial at 6:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Patrick’s name to the charity of your choice is appreciated. Arrangements are being handled by the Suminski Life Story Funeral Homes-Suminski/Weiss (414) 276-5122. Please visit www.SuminskiFuneralHome.com to share a favorite memory of Patrick and to sign his online guest book.
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