No matter his age, no matter where you saw him or what was happening in his life at the time, there was always a hint of the barefoot boy who grew up on the shores of Lake Kasshabog in the smile on Pat Laurie’s face. It was a little mischievous, that grin of his, but it was always genuine and pure, filled with love. He was the type of guy who made friends effortlessly. That smile of his invited friendship and when the summer throngs of cottagers descended upon the lake, his circle grew. He was the bridge that brought the city-dwellers together with his country friends from school, and together these kids from all walks of life grew up in the clear waters of the lake.
Alongside his two older brothers, Brendan and Jeff, and his little sister, Kim, Pat was boy of the outdoors. Summers were spent at the baseball diamond and on the water and winters were spent on ice. Pat was a gifted athlete. Many in the town of Norwood will remember his natural abilities on the field and on the ice. He skated with the grace and speed of the elite hockey players of the world, and his strength was such that nobody could knock him off the puck. Baseball was the same. Nothing got by him at shortstop and no matter where he was on the field, he could throw the ball like a bullet that was somehow timed to arrive at the bulls-eye just in time for the out. It was like he wanted the runner on base to feel every time as though he might make it before the ball, but they rarely did.
His heart was never in the pursuit of elite sports, however. He could easily have been a professional, but he only ever played for fun. At 15, he was invited to play for the Lakefield Chiefs Junior C hockey team alongside athletes five years his senior, but he was content to play in Norwood alongside his friends. He didn’t belong anywhere else, in his mind, for alongside his friends was where he found the greatest joy.
Sadly, the happy days of his youth turned darker as Pat grew and a grim illness took hold. Through his 20s and into his 30s, Pat struggled with heavy addiction. It was a demon he couldn’t shake and its grip grew ever tighter with time. Perhaps he chased the sunshine of those carefree summer days on the lake – nobody can say for sure – but hearts broke around him as his friends and family watched the man they loved so deeply wrestle against a relentless, deepening tragedy.
Their support was always there, but Pat could never absorb it for long. As quickly as things looked bright they turned dark again, but through it all, amid every challenge, that boyish grin shone through. He was always in there, that boy everyone loved, and people latched onto that memory as they tried to help him beat his demon down.
On the night of Nov. 17, Pat’s struggle ended when the illness took his life. At 37, he suffered a devastating stroke and that boyish grin now shines only in the memories of so many people who loved him. He’ll be sorely missed.
Friends and family are invited to gather at the Norwood Town Hall on Dec. 3 from 12-2 to celebrate Pat’s life and share memories together.