Column: Reston Loses Community Builder

Column: Reston Loses Community Builder

Patrick Kane: March 5, 1936 to March 5, 2013.

On Saturday, March 9, St. Thomas a Becket Catholic Church on Wiehle Avenue was filled to overflowing to pay a final tribute to Patrick Kane. Patrick died on March 5, his 77th birthday and just five days before the 50th anniversary of his marriage to his beloved wife Susan. He fought long, hard battles with devastating strokes and finally cancer before leaving us.

The people at the service represented a broad cross-section of the Reston community. Patrick had touched a lot of people over the years and you could see it in the faces of those of his generation and younger generations as well. He had influenced Reston in the early days as an architect and planner. Robert Simon, Cal and Nancy Larson, the Stowers, the Pronskes, and Michael Horwatt were among those present who knew him from Reston’s very early days. The political leadership of the last 25 years—Delegate Plum, Senator Howell and Supervisor Hudgins—were all there, too.

Then there were the hundreds of others who knew him through contact on some community organization or project—like the new Southgate Community Center trying to find its way—or had met Patrick and struck up a conversation which turned into a continuing dialogue. Attendees were diverse, as were his relationships. They ranged from people of the same generation as the politicians to businessmen and women from the very early days of the Chamber of Commerce, whose first president was none other than Patrick Kane, to the current CEO and members of today’s regional chamber. Then there were those of the now-generation of Reston, young people still in high school in Reston and Herndon. They included youth whom Patrick mentored or who had served him as interns helping to organize his records and documents for local archives that will enter the official history of Reston.

Among those present was Ms. Liz Knapp, longtime telephone voice of South Lakes High School (the one greeting callers with “This is South Lakes High School, home of the Seahawks and darned proud of it!”), who recounted to me her contacts with Patrick. He called her frequently and asked for the latest news on achievements of South Lakes graduates around the world. In fact, he had called just a couple of weeks before he died. On that occasion, as was frequently the case, she had some notable achievements to report. Many South Lakes graduates have indeed gone on to leadership positions or even starring roles in government, business, the arts and professional sports. Through Ms. Knapp he kept track. In fact, Patrick Kane kept track of what happened and what we achieved in Reston to an extent the rest of us can only imagine. He cared very much.