Gone to that great big re-enactment in the sky!
Mark died of a heart attack on Monday the 14 th November 2011 aged 50. He had not been working, due to illness, for a long time but initially in his career he was in car sales and then insurance (he loved claims handling). Mark was a fellow re-enactor in ACWS, and both he and Geraldine (they were married in 1985) joined in 1989, having watched an ACWS event at Tatton Park. Mark initially joined 13 th Alabama with Joe Brierley whilst Geraldine joined 2 nd Wisconsin and then moved to 19 th Indiana at the Eastnor Castle event.
Mark moved to the Pyrotechnics Team and wore both uniforms for that purpose, but his heart was always really with the Confederates, and he always preferred to wear the grey.
Lt. Phil Berry of 19 Ind was reversing his new sports car out of the garage, and unfortunately scraped a wing on the wall. He rang up his insurance company, and because it was a new policy it went through to a claims handler, who asked him all the questions necessary and then said "well, Mr Berry, that sounds fine and I understand what happened and I will approve the claim so do not worry. All you have to worry about is having the mickey taken out of you in the 19th Indiana magazine Swamp Hog Gazette." Phil Berry was somewhat startled. "Hi Phil, it’s me Mark Patrickson …." Mark always had a very good sense of humour, and enjoyed having a good laugh. He was always interested in firearms, especially from the Civil War period, and he and Geraldine travelled so often to the USA on holiday, and re-enacting, that they once got pulled over by US Immigration, on suspicion that they were up to something, because they visited so often! Mark "found his home" in the Pyro Team, and Geraldine remembers that she (driving) and Mark and Paul Schofield were driving back from a C&W night out, and the boys were messing around in the back of the car and suddenly the car completely filled up with smoke and the she couldn’t see out. Luckily Geraldine managed to get the window open quickly and her head out, to see the road ahead, with "the boys" screaming with laughter. Geraldine says she didn’t know what they had done between them but it was a bit scary at the time, and you always have to be on the look out when the Pyro Team are playing around with blackpowder!
One of his best "performances" was at the first Weston Park International when we were doing First Bull Run. A mock-up of the Henry House had been constructed in the middle of the battlefield, with a white painted picket fence around it. Hidden inside were the Pyro Team with all the wires radiating to the ground charges scattered across the battlefield. The event starts and Mark is looking through the spy hole and directing Phil Caswell to flick the switches, to simulate artillery fire landing on the battlefield. Mark says to Phil "quick quick number eleven." That duly goes "BANG". Then Mark says "quick quick, number thirty two, and immediately number forty one." They duly go off. Then he says "quick quick number seventeen." So Phil says "what are you doing?" and Mark replies "chasing that French officer around the battlefield……."
At the end of the Battle, when the Henry House was duly blown up, he stuck a "For Sale" sign up on the fence! We shall always remember Mark for his flair and sense of humour, and for his many enthusiasms. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Geraldine, and we will always remember Mark, especially when we sit around the fire drinking beer and telling jokes, or when trying to avoid the ground charges when crossing a battlefield.
My Memories of Mark Patrickson
It is with the deepest sadness I receive news of the death of Mark Patrickson during the night of 14/15 November. Mark and I have been the best of friends since I joined the Society in 1990. He was the Best Man at my marriage to Rosemary in 1999.
We had what most people would regard as a "weird" relationship, based almost entirely on public insult, he calling me "BUG" (Big Ugly Gordon), and me calling him "FUD" (Fat, Ugly and Dumb). Outside of that, we both enjoyed re-enacting with some gusto, adding in our love of "Loony Tunes" by doing our impressions of Elmer Fudd, Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, et al.
We also had a shared love of Second World War music, doing tap dance routines to "The Siegfried Line" and "The Maginot Line." On one well-witnessed occasion at Scarborough Castle, we were doing our "Maginot Line" routine, when we were espied by a member of the public, who asked: "What do they do?" She was informed that Mark was in charge of all the pyrotechnic charges, and I was in charge of the line of artillery along the parapet. "Oh, my God!", cried said lady, last seen disappearing down the exit ramp (at speed).
In later years, since Rosemary and I emigrated to the US in 2003, we have been "plagued" by many visits from Mark and Geraldine. The first house we bought over here was visited, and when they arrived at our door, Mark considered that we lived "beyond the Boonies." Then we moved to PA, and he considered we had moved even further than "beyond the Boonies." We were expecting another visit to our new home in Ohio. This he would probably consider to be in an area that considered the Boonies to be uptown!
We have been in irregular contact ever since we moved here. One or other of us would always call at Thanksgiving and Christmas, amongst other times when one or other of us was in need of a long chat. To say I consider his passing the equivalent to losing a brother would be an understatement. We are closer than brothers - we are best friends.
I can't really grasp what Geraldine must be going through at the moment. I have spent all day trying, and failing, to suppress my tears, but managing to remember the laughs we had along the way, Dear Mark, you have gone to a better place, where all the pain and suffering is gone. Say "Hi" to your mum and dad from us.
Gordon and Rosemary Clifford