After Patrick Turney died unexpectedly in September, his friends and family decided to honor the Mt. Greenwood resident through one of his biggest passions: books.
Over 100 people participated in the “Pints for Pat” bar crawl in Mt. Greenwood on Nov. 27, and participants donated books—earning them a free drink—and remembered Turney, a 23-year-old known for his friendly and attentive personality.
According to his mother, Kathy Turney, over 500 books were donated, and she is still accepting donations. The books were collected to be donated to several schools in Mt. Greenwood.
“Patrick read a lot—he was really smart,” she said. “I was trying to think of a way to keep his memory going—and some passion for [reading] also going.”
Turney said that over 100 people participated in the bar crawl, which took place on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, a popular time for friends to reunite.
In planning the event, Turney expected about 50 books to come in, but she received 10 times that amount. They will be donated to Mt. Greenwood Elementary School, where Patrick was a student, as well as Cassell Elementary School and the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences.
Participating in Pints for Pat were Hippo’s, Lanigan’s Irish Pub, Blackthorn Pub, Firewater Saloon, and Hinky Dinks Pub, and Turney said she was “very, very surprised” by the turnout.
She estimated that about 85 of the participants were friends of her son. They purchased T-shirts, she said, and the proceeds from the sales will go toward a foundation named in Patrick Turney’s honor that will support local children.
Patrick’s friends supported the effort with giving hearts.
“These kids came in with boxes of school bags full of books,” Turney said. “I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness. I would not imagine all these books.’”
Patrick Turney loved interesting, in-depth novels, his mother said, such as “Of Mice and Men,” “Animal Farm” and “The Book.” An avid Notre Dame fan who always donned a Fighting Irish cap, he worked at the Jewel in Merrionette Park, where employees donated a box of books.
Patrick had a radiant personality, his mother said, with a smile that “would light up a room on a dreary day.” In his obituary, he was described as the “Mayor of Mt. Greenwood,” and he hoped to work in law enforcement with the Cook County Sheriff’s Department.
He always enjoyed a good conversation.
“He was friends with everybody,” Turney said. “He paid attention to everybody. He wasn’t a big phone person. He gave you attention. … He wanted to spend time with that person. If he was with you, it would be 100 percent you.”
Still, Patrick did enjoy his smartphone and social media from time to time, she said. He was “very funny” and frequently posted videos and photos on Snapchat.
Those posts are now keepsakes that help Turney through her grief.
“It’s sad to see, but it is nice to see Patrick in that,” Turney said. “Even if it’s five seconds long, I treasure that. That’s still Pat.”
Turney planned to distribute the books to the schools on Dec. 9, and she anticipates more donations coming in.
Patrick Turney is also survived by his father, James, and siblings, Katelyn O’Murchadha and James and Bridget Turney.
Turney said she wishes Patrick could witness the support people have given to the effort in his memory, and she is elated that so many friends and family have honored him.
“He’s still got so much love.”
To donate a book, contact Kathy Turney at (708) 955-1784 or send an email to email@example.com.