Patrick Gilleeny

Patrick Gilleeny of Wading River, N.Y., died on Sept. 4, 2021, at the age of 89. He was a man of few words with an understated sense of humor and the patience to assemble all of the rigging lines of a model sailing ship that he built from scratch. 

Pat was born and grew up in Queens, N.Y., in an Irish-Czech family with his two brothers, Frank and Jack, and sister, Rosemary. He played basketball with Mario Cuomo as a youth and hung out with a tight group of friends that looked out for each other, as he always did for his brothers and sister. 

Pat graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, where he hustled making extra money off-hours selling sandwiches to his shipmates, and stayed in touch with those shipmates all his life. He later served in Europe in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and then spent a career building and maintaining mainframe computers from the dawn of the computer age to his retirement from Brookhaven National Laboratory. 

Pat and his wife, Toni, taught their two daughters, Susan and Michele, to camp, rock climb, canoe and change the oil in their own VW Beetles that everyone in the family seemed to own at one time or another. Sue and Michele became strong, independent women with families of their own and Pat encouraged his grandchildren to have the same qualities. He played golf with his grandchildren, Breana, Riley and Ian, and always loved a good dessert — baked Alaska or malted milkshake — with them. He was known for his specialty glog at Christmas and melted marshmallow sweet potatoes. 

Pat’s interests were eclectic, from clog dancing to learning to speak Russian and building a log cabin from a kit in Pennsylvania. He learned to snowboard at the age of 65 and was a high school soccer referee. Pat will be sorely missed by all. 

Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to Pat’s favorite charities, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Wounded Warrior Project. 

Alexander Rothwell Funeral Home in Wading River assisted the family.

This is a paid notice.