Alain of Disney and More just shared the sad news that John Patrick "Pat" Burke, longtime designer and (in his own words) "artifact tracker and refitter" for Walt Disney Imagineering, has passed away.
I never got to meet Pat in person but having exchanged countless e-mails over the years I've known him as a kind and generous human being who would never hesitate to share a story or some particular insight from his decades-long career in creating Disney theme parks around the world.
He worked on all four versions of Big Thunder Mountain, on four Indiana Jones attractions and on three Jungle Cruises, among many other lands and attractions. In the case of many of his projects, including Frontierland at Disneyland Paris, he would track down rare antique items across the United States, from oil cans to stamp mills, from ore carts to steam tractors. He then excelled at finding unique and interesting ways to arrange those artifacts in ways that would add authentic texture to an area at first glance and tell entire stories on a closer look.
I can't help but feel that he would have had many more stories to tell.