The Northwest Dutchess Community is rallying to support the family of a longtime Rhinebeck resident who died after a lifelong battle with mental illness.
Patrick John Welch II died on April 28. He was 31.
A GoFundMe page set up for the family of Welch, who leaves behind a wife and two young children, is nearing its goal of $20,000. The page can be accessed here.
A service celebrating Patrick's life will be held at the Red Hook Firehouse on Sunday, May 7 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and will include a potluck celebration, all dishes are welcome.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Cayla Welch sent in care of Laurel Martinez, 22 Saint Johns St., Red Hook, NY 12571 to be used to assist the family with services, any remaining funds going to Patrick's beloved children, Gabriel and Sonja.
While he often seemed a different breed, Patrick's laughter and smile were infectious, his bear hugs filled with love, his demeanor often passionate especially when recounting stories or talking politics. Patrick did everything to the extreme. In addition to his family, Patrick's passions included weightlifting, hiking, biking, hunting and fishing.
Patrick was incredibly intelligent, yet struggled socially to fit in or be understood. Those who "got" him enjoyed thought-provoking conversations, his sarcastic charm and quick wit. Patrick often had no filter and was known to push the envelope -- traits admired by some. Although Patrick appeared a pillar of strength in his physical body, he had a huge and fragile heart. He often struggled to feel accepted and loved, even by those who loved him most. Patrick was loved by so many and could never be forgotten.
Patrick, who was born June 26, 1985 in Rhinebeck, was a very proud and loving father to Gabriel Patrick "Berry" and Sonja Alexis. He adored his beautiful wife, Cayla (Curtis) Welch, who very capably matched wits with him. A perfect match for Patrick, she was his soulmate.
In addition to his wife and children, Patrick is survived by his brother Jonathan Welch, mother Laurel (Pease) Martinez, stepfather Richard Martinez, grandmothers Joan (Philips) Pease and Janalene (Sheldon-Welch) Murray, mother-in-law Mary Beth Forbes, father-in-law Craig Curtis and his wife Leigh Curtis. Patrick is also survived by countless loving aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Patrick was predeceased by his father Patrick John Welch and grandfathers Arnold S. Pease and Walter H. Welch.
To borrow a quote from Ed Shoener, "so often people who have mental illness are known as their illness." People may say 'he was crazy', "he was depressed" or "was he bipolar?" Patrick wasn't any of those. He suffered from depression and mental illness similar to those who suffer from heart disease, diabetes or cancer.
Mental illness comes in many forms and Patrick seemed to suffer from multiple diagnoses over the years, continually trying to battle the diseases (often referred to as demons) he faced. We must all remember that while a person may appear fine on the outside they may be broken inside, struggling to survive or to protect the ones they love most from their darkest fears. May Patrick's life and death help remind others to stop the spread of fear, ignorance and needless further harm to those already suffering from mental illness. And may those impacted by his journey find comfort knowing Patrick is free from his diseases and demons now.
To send an online condolence, please visit www.dapsonchestney.com .