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Patrick T. Pruyne ’83

A picture of Patrick Pruyne

Patrick T. Pruyne ’83, July 28, 2010, in Springfield, Massachusetts, following a long illness. Pat grew up in Texas, Massachusetts, and Morocco, adored for his sunny disposition. Throughout his life, he made friendships on the strength of his humor, kindness, and intelligence. “The first time I saw Pat Pruyne he was wearing a big velvet hat,” classmate Anne Lauer Schwab ’83 wrote. “He looked like a Renaissance prince, the one in the fresco who has turned away from the procession and is measuredly gazing out at you. Of course I was drawn to him. He seemed to manufacture his own gravitational force” (see Letters). Pat's interest in genetics, which earned him a BA from Reed, led to his positions as a flower hybridizer for Oregon Bulb Farms near Sandy, Oregon; a research associate and member of AIDS vaccine development team for Chiron Corporation in Emeryville, California; and an associate scientist with Xoma Corporation in Berkeley. In 1992, he and his newly wed wife, Jeannette Tokarz, moved to Ithaca, New York, where Pat did graduate studies in pomology, researching sustainable orchard practice in the agricultural science department at Cornell. Later, Pat and Jeannette moved with their two sons to Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts. Jeannette worked as a pediatrician, and Pat became a stay-at-home father and an enthusiastic volunteer for his sons' activities. “I ran into him years after college and we talked about pomology and the history of gardens, and he was clearly crazy in love with his children,” Anne remarked. Pat coached soccer and served on the board of directors for the Common School in Amherst. He also pursued interests in woodworking, stone walls, and web design, and was a volunteer with the Montague Fire Station. Pat was regional coordinator and an interviewer in New England for Reed's Oral History Project. He served on the college's alumni board for nine years, and was president of the Alumni Association in 2002. In his address at the inauguration of President Colin S. Diver [2002–12] he remarked: “We're driven by an unusual passion: it's a gratitude for our time here, when we learned to reject any sense of limits to our abilities and to accept excellence as the only worthy standard.” Survivors include his sons, father, grandfather, and two sisters, and his former wife, Jeannette.

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2010

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