James Patrick Fagan, known to everyone as Pat, passed away peacefully at home on March 18, 2020, at the age of 84. Pat battled various illnesses in the last years of his life. He was very proud of and much loved by his family.
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Pat was born in Butte, Montana, on September 6, 1935. He attended Butte Catholic schools. He graduated from Butte Central High and followed the Maroons all his life. He graduated from MSU with an Industrial Arts degree, which is amazing to anyone who knew him well.
He married Marjorie Gerry of Butte in 1958. They had their first child in 1959 and moved to Billings. Pat did a variety of early jobs, including working for the telephone company. He later went back to school at Eastern Montana College. He obtained an education degree in Special Education and began work at Garfield Elementary in the late 1960s and then at Senior High School, where he worked as a rehabilitation counselor. He was instrumental in developing a work-study program for physically and mentally handicapped special education students. The program became the model for other programs around the state. For that work, Pat beat out 40,000 other applicants to win the National Counselor of the Year award in 1972 from the National Rehabilitation Association. Pat later moved into administration and eventually became one of the two Dean of Students at Skyview High School when it opened in 1987. He very much enjoyed his time at Skyview. After retirement, he worked part time for School District 2 into his 70s as an in-home tutor to home-bound kids. Pat lead an impactful life focused on helping others in times of need. It was common for Pat and his family to bump into former students who thanked him for his help and colleagues who remember him fondly. Pat was really proud of helping kids and made some special connections with many of them. Pat also made a lot of lifelong friends in the school district, many of whom were especially kind to him in his last years.
Pat loved to watch anything his children or grandchildren were involved in, from the time they were kids into their adult years. He also loved to golf, root for the Fighting Irish, read, play Powerball, write a rhyming poem for special occasions, and was even known to sing a song or two at weddings. He will be greatly missed. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Margie, and six children: Gerry (Sherry), Gregg (Darla), Julie (Pat), Glenn (Mary), Carol (Bob), and Grant (Maggie); sixteen grandchildren; and his lifelong friend and sister Lois. He was preceded in death by his parents Harold and Margaret. Funeral services by Smith Funeral Chapel are pending for a later date.