Residence: Huntsville, TX
Deceased: January 19, 2012
Alumni survivors: Ms. Bobbe S. Nolan ’64 W64 (Widow/Widower)
Submitted by Bobbe Shapiro Nolan
Patrick Bates Nolan died peacefully on 1/19/2012 at home in Huntsville, TX following a massive heart attack in November. His time at Carleton was enlivened by a sly and sarcastic sense of humor, his growing skill at interpreting history to non-history majors, and his astonished discovery of a a true and lasting love for Bobbe Ann Shapiro, whom he met at a square dance in Sayles Hill.
Because Carleton did not then permit students to be married, he transferred to the University of Minnesota, where he completed his BA, MA and Ph.D. in American History. (His doctoral thesis, Vigilantes on the Middle Border was published by Garland Press years later.)
During graduate school summers he proudly served as a Seasonal Park Ranger Historian at Mt. Rushmore, Lincoln’s Birthplace National Historic Site, and Glacier National Park.
Patrick taught American History and administered archives and special collections at University of Wisconsin, River Falls and at Wright State University in Dayton OH, where he developed a graduate program in public history.
He was a founding member of the Midwest Archives Conference and the Society of Ohio Archivists, and spent a year in Washington, DC with the Endowment on the Humanities. He organized exhibits and published on the Wright Brothers and the documentation of early flight.
After a brief period at The Hagley Museum in Wilmington DE, he came to the Sam Houston Memorial Museum in 1992 as Director. He delighted in costumed re-enactment and actually being paid for firing guns and throwing tomahawks.
During this time he made 17 trips with the American Orient Express excursion train as a guest lecturer, bragging that this was “the best boondoggle ever.” He officially retired from Sam Houston State University at the end of 2011.
He was proud to be an honorary member of the Sons of the Republic of Texas and to have served on the board of Humanities Texas. He believed intensely in the value of liberal arts education, railroads and wilderness.
Predeceased by his parents, aunts and uncles, and son Patrick Thomas Nolan, Pat is survived by Bobbe, his wife of 49 years, son Philip George Nolan and wife Kristi of Eagle Lake, TX, granddaughters Catherine Allen Nolan and Rachel Reminder, sister Kathleen Dypwick (Jeff) of Chaska MN, and nieces Ann and Lisa Dypwick of Bastrop TX.
Submitted by Scot McConachie
As freshmen Pat and I roomed together on Third Davis, where together the inmates had the presumption to call themselves “The Swell Guys”—which was fine until one day Marshall Tuck took a bunch of us down a peg. (“There’s nothing swell about you.” To which we had no response. Still, we felt swell.)
Pat and I were quite different people, but got along well. We had both acted in high school plays, me as an especially ineffectual version of Jane Austen’s feckless Mr. Bingley, Pat in a performance I would love to have seen—that made famous by Monty Woolley in the movie of “The Man Who Came to Dinner.”
When he wanted to, Pat had a pleasant version of some of Sheridan Whiteside’s characteristics: the commanding gesture, the flamboyance, the stage presence and, of course, the stentorian voice. (My mother’s pet name for Pat was “Noisy Nolan.“)
Jim Schlademan joined us for the next two years and we had a fine old time together. By that time “Pat” had become, inextricably, “Pat and Bobbe,” who would be inseparable to the end, surviving early on the greatest trauma that can befall a couple, the tragic death of a child.
Pat and I became historians for a time and on occasion compared notes. One of those being our shared curiosity over the outcome of the ambitions of one Dick Sommers.
Years later it had slipped my mind but not Pat’s. One day I answered the phone and out of the blue there was Sheridan Whiteside reading a book review that began something like, “This massively detailed volume . . . .”
“He’s finished the book!” I immediately blurted out and we proceeded to laugh and celebrate a classmate’s accomplishment. Pat Nolan was a fine man, husband and father, generous of spirit, mild of nature, true of heart and wicked of humor.