J. Michael Patrick


(May 8, 2003)

A memorial service will be conducted Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church in Cody for gifted artist-furniture maker, J. Michael Patrick, 51, Cody, who died Thursday, May 8 near Lander from injuries sustained in an automobile accident.

Mr. Patrick is credited with being the leader in the so-called "Cody style" of western furniture, a driving force in the renaissance of the Molesworth-Cody furniture making influence. He was one of the founders of the Western Design Conference in Cody in 1992.

He was born Jan. 27, 1952, in Cody. He was raised on the Diamond Bar Ranch and the Belknap Ranch on the South Fork, southwest of Cody, and participated in all aspects of ranch life.

He competed in high school rodeo, excelling in the event of team roping. One of the greatest pleasures in his life was team roping with his father, Jim. He graduated from Cody High School in 1970 and attended the University of Wyoming on an academic scholarship, studying journalism.

He lived an exciting and adventurous life. In 1971, he traveled to Kenya to visit his mother, Lucille Patrick, and spent several months managing a large African cattle ranch. In 1973, he spent four memorable weeks horsepacking through Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding area with his brother, Nic, and close friends Jerry Hodson, Que Mangus and Tom Anno. He also traveled throughout South America with his friend, Tom.

He married Virginia Livingston in 1981. They had one son, Jim, in 1985. His son was the greatest source of joy in his life, and his greatest treasure.

Mr. Patrick founded New West Furniture in Cody in 1986 and built it into a premier western furniture business. His peers recognized his artistry and creativity with many awards, including the Buffalo Bill Historical Center 1998 Switchback Ranch Purchase Award, Western Design Conference People's Choice Award in 1994 and 1995, WDC Best Exhibit Award in 1995 and Metropolitan Home Magazine Design 100 Award in 1992. He was featured in a Home and Gardens TV program, "Your Home with Kitty Bartholomew" in 1998 and recently completed filming for a second HGTV program, "Sensible Chic," which will air later this year.

His strong belief for the Western Design Conference was that bringing artisans together to share ideas and philosophies would benefit all.

A third generation rancher, he understood the critical importance of continued sustainable use of natural resources. He was an advocate for wild places and dedicated many volunteer hours to the cause of maintaining environmental balance through such organizations as the Northwest Resource Council, the Park County Planning and Zoning Commission and the Corporation for the Northern Rockies, which he co-founded.

Survivors include his son, Jim Patrick; his biggest fan, his mother, Lucille Patrick; brother Nic Patrick and wife Joyce; sisters Pat Harter and Jo Knight; Virginia Livingston and many loving and caring nieces, nephews and friends.