Frank Patterson’s voice has been stilled. But his notes will forever linger. Many have been shocked at the untimely death of "Ireland’s golden tenor" at the age of 61. Legions of Patterson fans on both sides of the Atlantic were anticipating years yet of lyric and melody from the Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, singer. But it was not to be.
Still, Patterson’s sweet voice and the obvious joy he brought to his work will live on in the memories of those who heard him sing in person and the many more who have enjoyed his voluminous recordings.
There was, of course, a cruel irony in the fact that Patterson was diagnosed with his final illness on the day he was supposed to sing at the funeral of Cardinal John O’Connor. But cruel irony was soon overcome by courage. Patterson was nothing if not the professional performer and only a handful of days before his death he stood before an audience in Massachusetts and, as always, gave of his very best.
As was Count John McCormack before him, Frank Patterson was indeed one of Ireland’s greatest musical and cultural ambassadors, an Irish musical gift to the world. He will be greatly missed.