Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Very VERY Sad News : WDI Imagineer Pat Burke Passed Away

Unfortunately in this Christmas eve i just learned a very, very, VERY sad news: the great WDI Imagineer Pat Burke passed away yesterday. For Disneyland Paris fans , Pat Burke will stay forever as the Imagineer without whom Frontierland and the town of Thunder Mesa would never have been as magical as it is. Next time you'll go at DLP and see the fantastic props all around the streets, shops, restaurants and rides of Frontierland, starting by the ones all over Big Thunder Mountain, these fantastic antiques props and machines, have a thought for Pat Burke as it was him who went all around the old West to find them in ghost towns or in the middle of the desert! And not only Frontierland but also in Adventureland as he also found the props for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril and worked on the Geyser Mountain project that never was.

As for the overseas attractions he worked on, Pat Burke worked on the four Big Thunder Mountains at DL, WDW MK, TDL and DLP but also on Indiana Jones Adventure, the different versions of Splash mountain, on Tokyo Disney Sea Cape Cod and American Waterfront. He also worked on HKDL and his last work for WDI was on Raging Spirits at TDS. 

I knew him very well and i've been in contact with Pat since six years or so and talked regularly with him on phone. He was the kindest man in the world, really. It was two months ago that i had my last call with him, and he was not feeling very well at that time. Pat was definitely a man of last century, and probably the only one who could recreate the Old West as he lived in it when he was a child. There is a famous quote saying "no one is irreplaceable" but Pat was the one who made this quote wrong. No one will ever replace Pat, and with him passing away, it's not only a man but a whole era which is disappearing.

I will pay a larger tribute to Pat on Disney and more very soon. 

Pictures: copyright Pat Burke


SWW said...

So sorry to hear this news.

I deeply appreciate the detail and authenticity Mr. Burke brought to the parks. I'm sure what he helped create will continue to be "a source of joy" for so many.

What a wonderful legacy.

Xavier said...

Sad news indeed. I pay my respects to his family & friends.

I just love the "serious" & historicaly accurante Frontierland of DLP. I think I wouldn't have fall in love with DLP if it has been the fun & tongue & cheeck Frontier you find in the US parks.

Karen Armitage said...

I spent about 2 years in the next cubicle to Pat- in the "Chastain Building"- we both were part of the DLP Frontierland team. He was an incredible soft spoken genius on the US mining industry. He helped me put mining equiptment- correctly in spaces that eventually would be shops. And he would be such a tease! And put that twinkle humor into the design! What a smile that man had. I am so sorry to learn you were so ill- Mr Patrick. Your close friends will forever miss that smile, your knowledge, your gentle soul... Karen Connolly Armitage

Mike Fish said...

A few days ago I learned of Pat Burke's passing. And yes, indeed, not only was a very gifted artist, but a very kind and gentle soul; he was a one of a kind and I will miss him very much.

Like Karen Armitage, I worked with Pat doing a lot of the show set design drawings for BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN at WDI Imagineering.

We were good friends over the years and kept in touch. I was privileged to be one of the few people who was invited into his home..........It was BIG THUNDER! and a whole lot more.

Actually, I was wondering why he was not responding to my calls and emails! LOL!

What more can I say?! RIP my dear friend and colleague.