Remembrances, Don Webb

“ PAT”
November 10, 1930 – September 10, 2004

Pat, was a very creative and talented person.

We were introduced May 13, 1968, the day I started work for the City of Newport Beach Public Works Department. As I remember, the person who was showing me around cautioned me about how salty, vocal and opinionated the Field Engineer, Pat Dunigan, was and that I should give him a wide berth unless I wanted trouble. To me that was a challenge. Pat was the perfect example of “You can always tell an engineer, but you can’t tell him much.” Over the years, I feel that due to Pat’s influence, I became a much better Public Works engineer. Pat worked for the City for 34 years retiring in 1993 and of course continued a commentary on the way projects were being managed up until a few weeks ago.

What did Pat do for those 34 years with the City? He and his crew of inspectors and surveyors oversaw the construction of over half of the City of Newport Beach as you see it to day. Those hills across the bay covered with houses and shopping centers were bare when Pat started with the City in 1959. All of you drove here today on a road that Pat inspected. The projects he liked most were the ones next to ocean and bay. One of his inspectors told me, “I learned so much about human nature from Pat, about respect for people, being tough when necessary, and holding the line for what is fair and right.” That was Pat.

During the 1970’s and 80’s many of you would see him standing by the roadside in a construction zone like this having a discussion with a contractor. It went something like this “What part of no don’t you understand. Get this traffic moving now!” Another example of knowing how to deal with contractors was a restroom project where the contractor wanted to substitute a new product for the toilet stalls. Pat said it wouldn’t work, and proceeded to hang on the door until it fell off to prove his point. The City got what it specified.

That was Pat at work.

The side that most of you are most familiar with revolved around sailing, the Lido 14 Fleet, the Balboa Yacht Club and motor home trips.

Over the years we have enjoyed many regatta weekends on the bay with the Dunigan's. These expanded into ventures to Huntington, & Yale Lakes and Lake Woolhomes. The Balboa Yacht Club has been Pat’s home base for the last 55 years. Many of you have joined Pat for a “Wee Dollop” of gin on a Friday evening. Here and on the various waters we sailed, our friendships grew and the ring expanded. I will miss Pat’s invitation for a “Friday night at the YC” but intend tip a few to his memory.

Pat the Craftsman: Engineers like to build things and Pat had too many projects to count. He added on to his house on Snug Harbor several times. The house in La Mission always needed work. He rebuilt stairs at the Lake Otsego Cottage in New York. Each of his motor homes were customized to meet his desires with special doors and storage compartments. Smaller more delicate projects bore the label “Hand Crafted at Snug Harbor Woodworks” and included hanging baskets made from redwood salvaged from the old Coast Highway Bridge deck, cane baskets, cork trivets, and caning chairs. He built a finely finished kayak. Each project was extensively planned and there was always a next project in design. Just a few weeks ago, he drew the design and helped Erin begin to craft a cherry wood salad fork and spoon which was to be his next project but now it is hers.

Pat also had a domestic side. Here are the Christmas stockings he needle pointed for the Hanley children. He baked bread for special occasions. At the beginning of the month he gave us some really great banana bread to share with my brother Norman when he came to visit.

Sprinkled through all his skills was his incredible memory for details and trivia that added to any conversation. Under the outwardly gruff surface was a caring, sensitive and wonderful person.

Pat, thank you for letting my family share your life for the last 36 years.

“You have to have a storm before you can enjoy the rainbow.” Pat now has his rainbow.

At our gatherings, when it was getting late and it was time to go home, Pat would call out “Say Goodnight Joyce”. Now we must call out “Say Goodnight Pat”. “Say Good By Pat”, you will always be in our hearts.

Don Webb
September 24, 2004