Obituary of William Patrick Fleming
Passed: February 28, 2023
Resided: London, Ontario
Patrick was born to parents Paul and Kay Fleming (nee Brown) and was the youngest sibling to brothers Michael (Isobel) and Barry (Mary) and sister Maureen (Doug Campbell), as well as Uncle to numerous much-loved nieces and nephews. Patrick moved with his family to many different cities across Canada before settling in Halifax, Nova Scotia where he spent the majority of his formative years. Patrick valued education very highly. He graduated from St. Patrick’s High School in 1976, attended Acadia University from 1976 to 1979, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, and pursued a Master’s in Social Work degree at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario from 1979-1981. During this time, he met his wife Janice (nee Ryan), and married in 1982. Both from Halifax, they shared a love of the ocean, sailing, camping, and exploring together. They moved to London, Ontario in 1981 where they began their life together, frequently visiting the Great Lakes and enjoying the waves at the beach. Patrick became a father to four children, Ryan, Katherine, Laura and Jeffrey between 1985 to 1992, caring deeply for each of them, supporting them through their growing years and onward until his passing. He also cared deeply for the family Wheaton Terriers Holly (2003-2019) and Mya (born 2019), enjoying many walks, beach visits and snuggles on the couch. Professionally Patrick began his career in Social Work with Children’s Aid Services in 1981 through to 1984 however, his professional interests shifted to supporting older adults. He then began working with the Geriatric Mental Health Program through London Health Sciences Centre in 1984. He remained with the program until his retirement in August 2022. During his time with LHSC, Patrick supported 27 Social Work students through their practical placements with the Geriatric Mental Health Program, inspiring many of them to work in the geriatric mental health field for their career. He was a part of the creation of the Association of Social Work Field Practice Educators in 1990, including being president from 1994 to 2001. He also taught a fourth-year elective course at King’s School of Social Work, specializing in older adults. Patrick worked diligently throughout his 38 years at the hospital to create a more age inclusive community for seniors. As Chair of the local Elder Abuse Network for 28 years, Patrick made it his mission to bring public education and awareness to those in his profession, all levels of public services and the London and surrounding community about the needs of older adults in the community. Through his diligent efforts and the efforts of other professionals passionate about the care of older adults, London Ontario was able to receive the status of an Age Friendly City and was able to start the Age Friendly London Network. This ensured greater supports for older adults through programs, funding, infrastructure and public education. Patrick was also involved in countless committees and working groups over his career all of which supported seniors living in London and Southwestern Ontario. Not only was Patrick a phenomenal mentor to Social Work students, and a champion of older adults in the community, he also was consistently involved in the Ontario Association of Social Workers. Patrick became a member at the beginning of his career in 1982 and supported OASW throughout his 40 year career in various voluntary positions supporting everything from professional education as a Chair of multiple committees and projects, to financial responsibility in his final position as Treasurer – Executive Member of the Provincial Board from 2018 to 2022. Patrick received many awards for his contributions over his career – some of which were The Mayor’s Honour Roll 2020, Brian Young Award in 2008, Rose Marie Jaco Award of Excellence in Social Work Field Practice Education in 2022 and OASW Distinguished Social Worker Award 2022. However, despite all the well-deserved awards, if one spoke to Patrick, he would say the greatest reward is knowing he has been able to make a positive impact in the lives of others.
In his home life, Patrick enjoyed spending time with his family. He enjoyed visiting the shores of Lake Huron at the Pinery Provincial Park, cottaging in Inverhuron, Ontario, walking the family dog in Port Stanley, going running at lunch time and on the weekends, reading books about Canadian and World history, cracking excellent puns, and spending time with close friends. He will be dearly missed by his family, friends and community, and lovingly remembered for his endless optimism and kindness. Thank you to our family and friends for all of your love and support, especially in this last year.