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Obituary: Wilkins, Patrick E.

WILKINS, Patrick E. Patrick Eugene Wilkins, retired Pullman Fire Chief, passed away Friday, November 16, 2012 at his home following a long and courageous battle with cancer. He was 73. A Memorial Service will be held Wednesday, November 21st at 11:30 A.M. at the Pullman Presbyterian Church. Rev. Matt McNelly will officiate. Pat’s burial at the Pullman City Cemetery will be private. Patrick Eugene was born November 20, 1938 in Potlatch, Idaho to Archie E. and Neva (Hansen) Wilkins. He spent his early childhood in California and then returned to the Spokane area with his father as a young boy. They moved to Pullman when Pat was a freshman in high school. He graduated from Pullman High School in 1956. Pat played football at the Wenatchee Valley Junior College for one year before an injury sidelined him there. He transferred to Washington State University and attended college until 1958 when he entered the United States Army. Pat served as a Communications Specialist where he supervised a section of 12 radio operators and 2 repairmen. He was honorably discharged from the Army in June 1960. Pat worked as a clerk for the U.S. Post Office in Pullman for eight years. He became a reserve firefighter for the City of Pullman in January 1967. Pat was hired as a full-time firefighter two years later and began a career that spanned 43 years - 27 of those years as Pullman’s Fire Chief. Pat’s willingness to learn, his eagerness for the job and his talent both physically and mentally made him a good fit in the fire department. From 1970-1974 he served as Pullman’s Assistant Fire Chief. He then served as the Assistant Director of Public Safety and was responsible for overseeing the operation of the department. In 1983 he became the Fire Services Program Officer where he developed and administered comprehensive fire prevention, training and inspection programs and served as the City’s primary fire (cause) investigator. Pat was named Fire Chief in 1984 and oversaw a department that rose to more than 18 paid professional firefighters and more than 20 reserves with an annual operating budget of over 4 million dollars. In 2001 he also became the Chief of the WSU Fire Department when the two departments merged. Pat was very active in his community but also strived for knowledge and continued to develop through many career oriented courses and membership activities as well. Some of his professional affiliations include membership in the; International Association of Fire Chiefs, Washington State Association of Fire Chiefs, Inland Empire Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Arson Investigation, Washington State Association of Arson Investigation, Washington State Football Officials Association, Pacific 10 Track Officials Association, Regional Director for Whitman, Garfield and Asotin Counties-EMS Communications System, Board Member of Inland Empire EMS Council, Whitman County Heart Fund Chairman, Chairman of the Pullman Branch of Salvation Army Emergency Fund, Board Member of the Whitman County EMS Council, Member and Past Chairman of the Whitman County Communications Center Executive Board, served on the Pullman Memorial Hospital Facilities Task Force, member Quad Cities Fire Chiefs, Past President of the Pullman Rotary Club, Past Assistant District Governor of Rotary District 5080, Washington State University Cougar Club Member and Past President of the Pullman Cougar Club, Whitman County Masonic Lodge 49 member/officer and active member of the El Katif Shrine and Past President of the Whitman County Chapter. When he wasn’t working Pat enjoyed physical fitness activities, sports officiating, golf and Cougar athletics. He thoroughly enjoyed spending over 25 years as a high school football referee for schools throughout Whitman County and Eastern Washington. Of his many activities and accomplish- ments, perhaps his proudest was his marriage to his wife Jackie Sue. Pat married Jackie Sue in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho June 4, 1994. They enjoyed spending time at their cabin on Lake Coeur d’Alene. Pat loved to go boating or fishing. They also enjoyed several trips together including favorite spots in Mexico and Hawaii and they liked to go on cruises. Pat retired after 43 years of serving in 2010. He is survived by his wife, Jackie Sue; his brother, Gary Wilkins of Spokane; children Jenna, Jackie and Michael; step-son Brad and his wife Marisa and daughter Alisha. Pat was preceded in death by his parents. The family suggests memorial gifts be made to the Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Spokane, the Whitman County Humane Society or to Friends of Hospice both in Pullman.On-line guest book is at Kimball Funeral Home of Pullman is caring for the family.