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Patrick Williams-Remembrances 1931-2001

from http://www.msod.com/williams_remembrances.htm 

Patrick (Pat) Williams

1931 --- 2001


to add your remembrances and or comments please click here

Pat was a great friend, colleague, leader, and mentor to those of us on the MSOD Committee. He was brilliant, irreverent, insightful, aggravating, powerful, unbelievable, compassionate, counterdependent, full of love, and committed to changing the world. I have lost a mentor and friend; the program has lost its founder; and we all have lost a passionate advocate for change..

Chris Worley -- Director Pepperdine MSOD Program
member Theta class

The ol' cowboy did as he always liked to say, rode his horse out of town before anyone knew he was gone.

A proud old artilleryman, Pat was equally proud of HIS "Long Grey Line" of graduates who also serve to protect and defend the right of all peoples to a better world.

I'm going to miss the ol' cowboy, his easy style, and his uncompromising stand.  And ... I wanted to thank that man ...

Zig Wiedemann -- Upsilon Class

Attached is a photo I took of Pat with Ann Feyerherm at my very first MSOD session at Pajaro in August of '98.  I'm hoping you can somehow add it to the memorial you're creating online.   Thank you.

Jacky Scheidt  -- Alpha Prime '00

Pat was my mentor, my guide and my connection to what stuff was all about.  During the Tgroup sessions, he helped me establish what balance meant to me.....spiritual, social, individual.  He set me up for a great MSOD experience and for that.......Thanks Pat!!!!!

Mike Mayhew -- Pi Class

We called him The Cosmic Cowboy.  He would sit there - no, lounge there -- when he was our learning group guide/mentor, leaning back on the couch, fingers tucked in belt, intently observing as we individually spoke our truths - or our "lies" -- till the thought gelled or intuition propelled....and then would throw his head back and out would drawl something insightful, profound, challenging, and ..... kind.   And we learned.  And we grew.   I know he was proud of us all.

                                                                        Marcia Dorfman -- Sigma class 

Pat was special to me as I am sure for many other PEPS. Every time he would enter our group/class = he use to sit directly across from me - wink and start subtle and then sometimes not so subtle group interventions. Pat helped those of us in the Delta class � laugh till we cried. He said more in ten minutes than any other faculty. His common sense was profound.

Yes-he liked his sauce and yes he was a cowboy true and true but still he offered much to the field by being persistent in getting the Pepperdine program going and developing and developing it --- in my mind it is still the best of all od programs. In the old days, there was a lot of confrontation in the course- so in each and every paper I would have the word �FAT� someplace in it. He would ALWAYS circle it and draw an arrow indicating that it should not be there. I continued to confront him even at the last reunion I attended about his fat tummy.

I only wish those of you in the latter classes knew him in his youth. No one ever has got me as excited about OD as Pat could in his after hour talks with a few gathered around him with a glass of wine.

He was a true pioneer. I think he ran 7 pilot classes before landing the program with Peters at Pepperdine. He and Gay worked and re-worked the course design till it went beyond that of perfection-to the point where each class had become so empowered that the course had a mind of its own-all due to Pat�s leadership.

We will miss you Pat!!!

Roland Sullivan -- Delta class 


Seems nothing I write is fitting enough for the man, the myth, the legend.

I remember the sheer terror I felt when I found out Pat was my PDL leader. I actually cried...

Then, I remember the last day of PDL when all our members hugged & when we turned around to hug Pat, and he was gone... I was once again in tears, this time because I didn't have a chance to say thank you for all of the strength, confidence and the long look in the mirror he provided each of us that was critical to our growth.

Funny how history repeats itself. If only I could have said one more time...thank you, and goodbye...

I will miss Pat and am eternally grateful that I was fortunate enough to have learned from the master.

Belinda Ransom -- Beta Prime '01

My fondest memory of Pat is on the trail experience.  After a predictably tough day of teaming (grrr) a few of us gathered around the campfire after dinner.  Pat played guitar and we sang together.  Cowboy, indeed.

Two lessons I continue to hold from Pat: 

The back of the Napkin Rule-"If you can't draw it on the back of a napkin it's not worth *&%$"

On self-knowledge: "Knowing who you are is lifelong work."

(Say both in an emphatic growl)

He's left quite a legacy and I consider myself privileged to have learned from him.

Maggie Kolkena -- Phi class

Pat loved books, life, women, drink, and a good meal.  Pat was not afraid of exploring his masculine side much to the chagrin of some students.  He knew his tequila, and never missed dinner.  He once advised me that a proper contracting process had to have a good meal at a minimum.

While at Pajaro Dunes, if one wanted to indulge in good humor, good company, and intelligent conversation, all one had to do was arrive at dinner early to sit at Pat's table.  There students and guests alike would jockey for position at the table where Pat held court.

Like King Arthur in days gone by, Pat was first among equals at his table in Camelot.

Mike Krup  -- Alpha Prime

Pat was a loveable rogue and not always so loveable.  What he brought to the program apart from an absolute conviction about the worth of O.D. was the spirit of that worth.  And he made O.D. ok for cowboys and other ordinary people.

Ed Brownfield  -- Gamma

I remember my first exposure to Pat. I was so affected by him I ran the other way. But then came the trail experience, sharing meals at the beach and the desert, walk and talks, conversations on the phone, and the relationship with him as my advisor. He taught to face what was hard - to go to the uncomfortable place because that is where the real work is. 

I recall like it was yesterday him talking our first week of community. He told us that 2 years goes by quickly. To take advantage in everyway possible way what we were about to experience. When it was over we would look back and realize how much was missed. Well I took the two years� and more. Now that he is gone, I realize more of his wisdom. I did not get enough and I still don�t get enough. I could have spent more time and I can spend more time. I could have gotten more and can get more.

Pat, your presence in body will be missed. Your Spirit is immortal. You touched my life. You make a difference. Your life has left a mark on this place that will never be forgotten. May all of us strive to have such an impact on the world. Though you are gone, you will never ever be forgotten and your teaching will live on for generations. God Bless You!!!!

Brent Kostiw -- PSI 

Pat was my friend, teacher and counselor.  I met him before he designed the MSOD.  We talked about it a lot.  I helped him recruit some of the earlier participants.  He served on my doctoral committee a few years later.

The MSOD was a great accomplishment for him and a great contribution to the field.  He gave of himself freely.

Vaya con Dios, amigo!

Tony Tasca      

Pat's words and work touched me deeply.  When he spoke at the opening of our class in '91, his vision for MSOD--and his steadfastness in pursuing it--were obvious.  I am enriched by the man and his vision.

Quick initial reflections: a "city" kid learning to pack a horse, camaraderie and conflict on the trail, victuals cooked over an open fire, campfire singing--feeling alone in a crowd.

Professional acknowledgements: practicing BOTNOD (back of the napkin OD), learning to help groups make their norms explicit and connections to a true pioneer in the field.  No fads or fancy stuff.  Just content.

Thanks Pat.

:        Jeff McCollum -- Tau  

Pat was a man larger than life.  His brilliance, humor, rakishness, and kind soul always made me feel welcome.

Some of the funniest and best moments I can recall stem from time spent with that gentle giant...  I will miss him dearly.

Kristen Bruner  --  Alpha Prime 

I can honestly say that Pat was probably the only person that could have gotten through to me and made me understand that true organizational development can only be practiced from the heart.  His passion for his work, his students (past and present), his colleagues and peers was only surpassed by his passion for life and love. 

His blend of a compassionate heart and the mind a warrior exemplify a key message he taught: the whole you need not be perfect, but you have to know it, embrace it, and bring it to table when you do the work.  I will miss him profoundly.

Curt Gray --  Beta Prime  

I knew of Pat through our common friend Tony Tasca a few years before he sold the MSOD program to Pepperdine.  Tony encouraged me to apply to the program and I met Pat at the social prior to the beginning of the Gamma class.  I was a VP for an East Coast Financial Services organization and was wearing a three piece suit when I ran into this guy with a scruffy beard, his shirt stretched over his belly with a button popped open exposing his belly button, and a glass of wine in his hand.  I thought he was the groundskeeper! 

Since that time, I've experienced Pat as a teacher, a mentor, a colleague, and most recently, as a fellow board member for SKOPOS consulting.  Pat's great spirit is always with me.  Whenever I am in a confusing consulting situation, I hear a gruff voice ask me, "Who is the client?"  Whenever I think I make a brilliant intervention that is not appreciated I see his twinkling eyes and hear him tell me, with that Pat smirk on his face, "Help is defined by the helpee, not the helper!"

David Noer -- Gamma  

Patrick was my advisor and I learned more than words can describe from this man. The way he brought his authentic self to bear on the program and made himself so generously available was always an inspiration. Clearly he cared deeply. His intuition was stunning, remarkable and powerfully on target because he saw so clearly. I loved his laugh and the way he seemed to be living in the present and enjoying each moment. Such a unique and dedicated person he was, I will always remember him with great affection. Talk about courageous -- this guy was so full of courage that it was almost contagious! I hope Patrick's often non-conformist viewpoint will live on through the program, he was not afraid to raise an opposing viewpoint. With gratitude and thanks for the many gifts,

Gail Work -- Omega

He has changed my life!

Simon Chan -- Beta Prime '01

To Pat:

Well, buckaroo....the day is done and the horses are all put away.  I'll be looking for you when my trail crosses yours up there..

You helped me to understand that life is more than a journey and that a jug of whiskey and a good guitar can take a lot of strain off at the end of the day.

I'll miss you my friend.


Larry Reierson -- Alpha   

I had little to say to Pat, so, in retrospect, it comes as a shock to me to realize that not only did he provide my favorite OD intervention (the Norms process), but also that he inspired me to, so far, walk 300 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. A powerful guy!

Peter Haskell  --  Rho  

it struck me that Pat was only 46 when we first met (1978) at Pajaro for the Delta class - he seemed older and wiser to me - but as I reflect on it, Pat was likely an 'old spirit' at any age

 - I am particularly happy that the last alumni event at San Diego permitted us to honor him and his role with the Program and our lives 

- my fondest memories of Pat are while working together as faculty at the Fireman's Fund Mgt Development program in the late 70's - besides the "10 Commandments of Mgt" that Pat so passionately delivered as part of each session, the indelible memories of those years were the evening faculty dinners...where Pat ( usually ) held forth like a Viking warlord 

- one notable dinner at Calgary ( steak house ) where Pat asked the waiter after seeing the menu ..." do you have anything bigger ( than the steaks listed )?" Waiter proceeded to return with (literally ) what appeared to be a side of beef on a wheeled cart and asked Pat " Tell me how big you'd like!". 

Another dinner at Toronto - Newfoundland lobster place - Pat looks at the menu, then asks waitress..."What's the biggest one you've got?" She says five to seven pounds. Pat -" Good! Bring one for each of my friends". He loved the company of good friends, food,& drink and loved being expansive host. It was easy to imagine him in another life as lord of a castle, entertaining his friends. 

Remembering him in the those times past ( smile ) reminds me of 'renaissance man' we now find missing at the role call... he's not gone, just across the river...waiting for us to join him.

Walter W. Tullis -- Delta class  

My first reaction to hearing Pat had crossed was: "You son-of-a-bitch you did it again"! What you did it again was; you left before I could say goodbye, left before I could say Thank You, left before I could acknowledge you, left before I could make amends for my insanity and shortcomings, especially on the Ride.

Now, I'm left here, trying to sort our all these conflicting feelings alone.

I longed to be his companion...but he was the Arian hard-charger and I was the Virgoan ditherer. He would go whipping and spurring out of camp while I was still picking up cigarette butts and pull tabs. He would roar back through camp half an hour later, having taken the wrong trail, leaving the same whirling, buzzing confusion behind as we ran for our mounts.

I rode a grade Arab; he rode a hot-blooded thoroughbred stallion; I might as well have rode a jackass...ever the Sancho Panza to his Don Quixote.

He stabbed at the flip-chart, dashing out ideas as they formed; I leapt foreword with the masking tape, trying to arrange the torn pieces of paper on walls in an orderly fashion.

In the years I knew him I never saw a concept, a project, a woman or a bottle that could hold his interest for long, for he was ever the dreamer...off to the next quest before we knew this one was history.

He exemplified the Lone Eagle, retiring to the solitary snag on the loftiest peak, to clean his beak and talons and brood over the next flight.

I was honored and privileged to be a passenger on many of his adventures: deeply touched by his greatness, and plunged into a deep sense of melancholia that my saddle pard is dead.

I contemplate the thinning ranks of the originals, the venerable figures on O.D. and marvel that I was allowed to sit with them.

Pat, you son-of-a-bitch, you can run but you can't hide. Wherever you went, I won't be far behind. So, take a deep seat and a short rein and devil take the hindmost...SAM

Sam Dunlap -- Gamma, Epsilon et. al. 

Thanks Pat, for one of the most unforgettable and significant experiences of my personal and professional life. Pi class learned from the inaugural Trail Ride that it ain't over 'til all the work of the day is done, and each new day brings new learnings. We all live in many-roomed houses, few of us will ever fill those rooms as well as you did. Like Willy Nelson - "My heroes have always been cowboys, and they still are it seems" I owe you.

Bob Fournier -- Pi Class   

It was at his hacienda near San Jose that Pat showed us his string of horses and the huge round table that important decisions were made by our O D "Godfathers". It was this visit that the insightful intellectual, tough horseman and excited adventurer became real.

I now teach in an MBA Program and ride my own horse through the mountains of Pennsylvania. Thanks for the vision. I look forward to taking that trail ride in the big sky with you.

Punch Murphy -- Delta Class  

You would think that for a person responsible for learnings and experiences that changed my life, I would have known you better.  But, then don't we all wish we could have known you better.  You were a fountain amongst thirsty people who could not get enough of your freshness.

At the 25-year celebration of MSOD at Pepperdine, I put it to you this way, "Thank you Pat, for your vision, your quest to pull it off and for your craziness.  I especially like your craziness.  And, thanks for changing my life".  Glad I had the opportunity to say that to you.

See you on the trail, my captain

Bob Bowman -- Beta Class  

Dear Pat:

How sad I am to think of a world without you, David Peters and Gay.  You were my first contact with MSOD...a meeting in your office at San Jose State University changed my life.  I know you know that you have had a deep and lasting influence on my life and work.  Your wisdom, courage, creativity, humor, insights, dedication and love were so generously shared with so many.   You  are one of few  touchstones  in the field of OD...a man who contributed so much  to the profession and to those who made OD their life's work.    

I think of you now as inhabiting  that space where others reside who touch the hearts and minds and souls of mortals. May you be in the company of those who walked your path with you....the ones whose love have always supported you own.  And somewhere is this space is a large animal veterinarian who is my father.  I knew from the moment I met you that he and you shared so much in common... and forever my deepest love and gratitude.

Jill Janov

Jill Janov -- 7th Class /1980  



CLICK HERE for the MSOD.com Pat Williams page

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Creation date: Jan 22, 2005 4:05 am     Last modified date: Feb 6, 2011 8:21 pm   Last visit date: Jan 3, 2020 7:28 pm
3 / 1000 comments
Dec 26, 2008  ( 2 comments )  
1:24 pm
Rebecca Sargent (rebecca)
wow i didn't know grandpa pat impacted so many peoples lives... what was msod?
3:06 pm
Christina Roper (croper)
Great idea to put this in kas mom...it is truly priceless, and helps us (your children) to get to know better a side of him we couldn't know as kids.  I still wish Aaron could have met him, as I think they would have got along grand.
Dec 26, 2010  ( 1 comment )  
5:44 pm
Kathy Carr (kathy)
MSOD was Master of Science in Organizational Development
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