PAT NOONAN had two passions: His family and Philadelphia newspapers.
And, oh yes, St. Patrick's Day.
Pat was proud of his Irish heritage and was so enamored of his family that he would talk about them in the office. Brag about them, might be a better way to put it.
Patrick J. Noonan Jr., treasurer of Philadelphia Newspapers LLC, publisher of the Daily News and Inquirer, died Monday after a long, courageous battle with lung cancer. He was 53 and lived in Broomall.
"As sick as he was, he would call up to find out what was going on in the office," said Brian Tierney, chief executive officer of Philadelphia Newspapers.
"He had incredible courage to keep fighting back, incredible optimism. He would be well for a while, then the cancer would come back, but he never lost confidence, faith and hope.
"Pat Noonan was one of those real gems that you stumble upon when you come into a company," Tierney added. "He was just a jewel, a hardworking talented guy. At the same time, he was a great human being.
"He would often talk about his family and children. They were the center of his world."
And St. Patrick's Day was nearly as phenomenal a celebration at the Noonan home as Christmas. The house would be decorated in green and literally crowds of family members, neighbors and friends would pile in for the wearin' of the green.
After all, he was born on St. Patrick's Day.
The same happy crowd would be back at Christmas when there would be at least 200 images of Santa Claus scattered about, a family member estimated.
Pat Noonan, a certified public accountant, joined the newspaper company in 1989 when it was part of the Knight-Ridder Corp. He was assistant controller until 1991, when he became controller.
In 1997 he rose to strategic planning director, and in 1998, vice president of circulation, administration and technology.
In 2000, he advanced to vice president of planning and analysis, then to treasurer in 2007.
Andrew Harrison, vice president of finance, said Pat was a "great guy, a good family man, and very loyal company man.
"He loved the newspapers and was always watching out for what was best for the newspapers."
Richard Thayer, executive vice president of finance, described Pat as a "very kind, generous guy."
Pat was born in Ridley Park, Delaware County, to Regina and Patrick J. Noonan Sr. He graduated from the former St. James High School, in Chester, and went on to Drexel University. He graduated magna cum laude from Drexel in 1978 as an accounting major.
He went to work as a senior auditor for Stockton Bates LLP, then moved on to United Gas Improvement Co. in a number of financial positions, and then to AmeriGas as director of accounting.
Pat met his wife, the former Roseann Robertson, when they were teenagers. They were married in 1982.
His brother, John, said, "Everybody knows what a great guy Pat was, his lifestyle, the way he handled things. He was a super dad, a wonderful man."
Pat and the family liked to chill out at their summer home in Ocean City, N.J.
He was interested in the youth of the community and was a member of the board of Junior Achievement of Delaware Valley. He coached basketball at St. Pius X School.
"He was kind, soft-spoken, very caring, very giving," said his sister-in-law Diane McGraw. "He was a man of the highest character."
Last year, Pat and the entire family went to Ireland. The Noonan family originated in Counties Cork and Donegal.
Pat was an avid Phillies fan and rejoiced with all Philadelphians when the team won the World Series. Phillies legend Tug McGraw was a brother-in-law, Diane's former husband.
Besides his wife and son, he is survived by another son, Patrick T.; three daughters, Kathryn M., Regina R. and Victoria A. Noonan; two brothers, Joseph and John, and a sister, Anne McCabe. He was predeceased by another brother, Michael.
Services: Funeral Mass 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Pius X Church, 220 Lawrence Road, Broomall. Friends may call at 5 p.m. Friday at the Donohue Funeral Home, 3300 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square. Burial will be in Ss. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Marple.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Wissahickon Hospice, Attn.: Needy Patient Fund, 150 Monument Ave., Suite 300, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004. *