Oct. 20, 1929 – July 26, 2017
Patrick W. Carlin was newly married and looking for a better job in 1961 when he took the Civil Service exams for Buffalo police officer and Buffalo firefighter. After passing both of them, he faced a decision.
The choice was obvious for his wife, the former Dolores Fogal, a New York Telephone Co. worker whom he’d first met at Crotty’s Peace Pipe, an Irish tavern in downtown Buffalo. Police work, she feared, would be too dangerous, according to the couple's daughter Colleen Gartler.
Mr. Carlin began what would become a more than 30-year career with the Buffalo Fire Department in 1962. He served for seven years as a fire investigator.
He died July 26 in Hospice Buffalo, Cheektowaga, after a period of declining health. He was 87.
Born in Buffalo, he attended Mary Magdalene Elementary School and St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, transferring to Kensington High School for his senior year. After graduating in 1947, he enlisted in the Navy and his four years of service included deployments during the Korean War.
Returning home, he attended Bryant & Stratton Business Institute and studied metallurgy at Erie County Technical Institute, now Erie Community College. He then joined Bell Aerospace, where he worked in the electronics division until he became a firefighter.
Mr. Carlin first was assigned to Engine 15 in Black Rock and later was part of the Buffalo Fire Department’s CFR (crash, fire, rescue) Unit at the Buffalo airport. In 1983, he was appointed to the Bureau of Fire Investigation and served as a fire and arson investigator until 1990.
He then returned to firefighting duty with Ladder 1 in downtown Buffalo. In June 1992, during a blaze in a building packed with wood and debris at Garden Alley and Virginia Street, a wall collapsed on him, hospitalizing him with broken bones and a back injury. He retired in 1993.
On his days off at the Fire Department, he continued to work part time at Bell Aerospace until 1986, and was employed for 20 years as a school bus driver for the Williamsville Central Schools Transportation Department.
He also assisted in a Buffalo Fire Department program that treated children with disabilities to a day at the Crystal Beach amusement park and accompanied them on the rides.
Mr. Carlin was a life member of the Faculty Student Association of the New York State Academy of Fire Science. He also was a member of the Judges and Police Conference of Erie County and a delegate to the AFL-CIO Council.
He was a Fourth Degree member of Father Justin Council 5670, Knights of Columbus; a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Equity; and a member of George F. Lamm Post 622, American Legion.
Proud of his heritage, he was a member of the United Irish American Association and was a division marshal in Buffalo’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade for 35 years. He also was a member the Gaelic-American Athletic Association and the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and he twice visited Ireland.
He belonged to several retiree organizations, including the United Auto Workers and the Civil Service Employees Association.
As a Cheektowaga Democratic committeeman for more than 30 years and a former zone chairman, he gathered thousands of signatures for candidates and assisted in numerous political campaigns.
Active in Infant of Prague Catholic Church, he assisted with Catholic Charities in the 1970s.
He enjoyed Broadway musicals and was a season ticket holder at Shea’s Performing Arts Center.
In addition to his wife and daughter, survivors include a son, Michael P.; a brother, John; three grandchildren and two great-granddaughters.
A Mass of Christian Burial was offered Monday, July 31 in Infant of Prague Church, 921 Cleveland Drive, Cheektowaga.
Story topics: Buffalo Firefighters