Patrick F. McManus Dies at 84

I’m sad to announce that Pat McManus died on Wednesday evening, April 11, 2018. He retired from writing several years ago, and his health was declining. He passed away in a nursing facility in Spokane, WA.

His humor and stories have brightened the lives of millions of readers over the course of his writing career. I have received many emails from fans expressing their gratitude and telling how his stories have helped them in dealing with PTSD. Many fans tell of the bonding experiences of their families over generations as they read his stories together. Sharing his stories has been a favorite part of my own family’s gatherings for many years.

38 thoughts on “Patrick F. McManus Dies at 84”

  1. I knew this day would come, and wish I could in some small way lighten the mood as my hero Mr McManus could. But I can only express my deepest condolences to Pat’s family and loved ones. And to remind them of the profound gift that this man had, to affect so many with his gifts of wit and wisdom.
    Pat will always be with me, because in no small way, he touched my heart when it needed it most.
    You see, I was one that had what we are all now cognoscenti of now as PTSD, after the death of my very young son. And it was at that time a dear friend introduced me to Pats works. ” A fine and pleasant misery”
    And for the first time in a time of crippling depression, he brought laughter back into my life.
    I wrote to Pat an a number of occasions, even relating my story to him. And every time, he so kindly responded. And to my greatest joy and surprise, I had the privilege to meet my hero in person, when unknown to me, he had joined Tim Behren To a little town in western Pennsylvania. I had the opportunity to speak to him briefly, and to tell him in person how he reached my soul when I needed it so much. And he teared up, removed his glasses to wipe his eyes, and told me he remembered my letter some 10 years past. And we shared a few words, all the time with both of his hands holding my handshake.
    Pat was the same age as my own father. And even as I knew this day must come, I longed for just one more story with Retch, Eddy, Rancid, or Sheriff Tully.
    But not three feet from the desk where I sit now, The whole gang’s right there in the I special spot on my book shelf. And Pat’s there too.
    God speed Mr. McManus. And thank you for being with me, even now.

    1. What little town in western PA did you see Pat? This a long shot that you may see this nearly 4 years later. I would have loved to have met him. I treasure the one fiction book he autographed for me.
      You surely were blessed to have met him, and in such circumstances.

  2. I am so broken hearted to loose one of my dearest friends who I never met. He could always make me laugh even after reading the same stories over and over, like The Two-Wheeled ATV. I once read that to my sister-law who has just lost her husband and she laughed till she cried and felt so much better. What a wonderful gift he was to the world.

  3. It is good to read stories of how Pat’s tales have brought laughter, joy, and equally healing. As my profession is pharmacy, I have seen many people in depression, anxiety, turmoil, loss of sleep, and those that are just happy to discover a good yarn.

    I’m sure there are many readers who have gone through several sets of books because it is a joy to share Pat’s stories. I would “lend” out books at the pharmacy and people would bring them back after a short time or years and be either sleeping better or have a fuller life because they knew that laughter and joy still existed. I have been privileged to see great healing.

    Personally, Pat’s stories gave me meaning and a framework for my childhood and dreams. These stories followed into Scout camp outs and readings by the fire. I don’t know who loved the experience it more.

    We have been tearfully blessed and wonderfully given a McManus imagination for our dreams of life.

    To Joy, Laughter, and Healing… (and a lot of re-reading)

    1. Thank you Thomas for your insight and heartfelt words. You mentioned the Scout camp outs and I couldn’t help but think of the story “Cubs” (in the book The Good Samaritan Strikes Again), which contains one of my favorite lines, “…he wore a layer of mosquitoes thick enough to serve as a fur coat.”

    2. It is so true about rereading Pat’s books. Even years later I will pull them out and go away with him on an adventure. I also gifted people with copies of Pat’s book, when I thought it would really help them.

  4. Hard to express the emotions of losing Pat McManus. He was the fellow Idahoan author friend I never met, yet knew so well through his books and plays. The best kind of celebrity in my eyes. His skill at telling stories from different perspectives made his stories so easy to enjoy. His humor was unmatched and his own obvious experience made every story ring familiar and added to the humor. He was a great man that will be long remembered for his positive impact on the lives of his readers and family. My Grandpa especially loved reading his stories to us kids and now I love reading them to my kids.

    Thanks for maintaining the McManus Index to help keep the tradition alive.

    On a personal note, oddly I also have bald eyes, possibly related to potentially hazardous experiments done during childhood. 🙂 (Poof, No Eyebrows) one of my personal favorites.

    1. Thanks for your memories Collin. And the humorous mental image of your missing eyebrows! I’m glad you’re keeping alive the tradition of reading Pat’s stories to your kids, it will be a fond memory.

  5. I found Mr. McManus while I was riding the ferry in S.E. Alaska, going to some of the villages to preach. They say “men do not cry”. But, I cried many a tears “of laughter” over the years reading Pats stories. Some of them over and over again. I would try to read his stories to my children, but would always have to stop in the middle of some catastrophe that Pat and Crazy Eddie were in, and laugh so hard I couldn’t breath. My children would just set there and wait for me to stop laughing before I could go on reading. What an awesome man.
    To his family: May God bless and comfort you. And Yes. Grown men do cry.

    1. I know I have cried many times as well. I too have had those times of trying to read, and the laughter gets in the way! Just today I even had some of those deep, healing belly laughs. Thanks for sharing, Ralph.

  6. My life was forever changed when I discovered Patrick’s genius work through my husband and his family. I cherish every single time I get to hear my husband read these delightful stories out loud. We both shed some tears this morning when we learned his death. He was a great, talented writer and human. May his stellar legacy live on. It is a bright and shining star in our weary world. ❤️

  7. It saddens me deeply to hear this. I just recently purchased four of his books, just finished reading Avalanche and was in the middle of another of his books when I heard about his passing. I agree with Carolyn about laughing after reading his stories over and over. I have my favorites bookmarked so they are easy to find when I need a good laugh. I will always treasure my autographed copy of “A Fine and Pleasant Misery”. My deepest sympathy and prayers to out to his family. He will be sorely missed.

  8. Patrick F. McManus has left behind a wonderful gift – the opportunity to laugh – found often in many of his stories.

    Some of his stories made me laugh so hard the first time I heard them that my stomach muscles ached.

    Even hearing the same story later on, knowing the funny surprise that was to come, I would still laugh and smile.

    I recommend his audio books to many people – especially anyone who needs some joy.

    He made this world a better place.

  9. So sad to hear about Pat. My grandpa was one of his biggest fans and when he passed, I inherited most of his McManus library, all of which I’d read and reread many times. Although my grandpa wasn’t a writer, he was a great story teller, and had a lot of adventures much like Pat’s. I’m hoping they’re getting to know each other and starting to swap stories right now. Grandpa’s ranch was in Northfork not far from you!

  10. So sad to hear this news! I first found his books at the library when I was a little boy in the 1970s, and have read them so many times to my family. They have been a welcome treat when life is bearing down a little too much. Had the privilege to meet Mr. McManus a few times over the years and still see his signature and notes inside my books.

    1. Thanks Mak, I’ve discovered several of his books at the library myself. I’m sure I attracted too much attention as I sat reading, silently laughing, with tears running down my face.

  11. The world has truly lost a legend, I have read his writings and enjoyed them over and over. God bless you Mr. Mcmanus.

  12. I just learned of one of my favorite authors passing. I am saddened to the point of tears. He became my friend, just by reading his books. I am so thankful I have kept each and every one. As in the past I will continue to reread and continue to laugh my head off. I will miss the enjoyment of looking so forward to a new book.

  13. May God be smiling and laughing with my favorite author of my 77 years.
    I own every book of Pat’s writings and extra copies to give out to those who need a little laughter to help their healing.
    I’ve shed tears of joy reading his stories and tears of sadness since Pat left us.
    Oh, how I wish we could somehow spread the word of Pat’s incredible talent and heart-warming books to all. To everyone I meet, I suggest reading one of his books from the library or buying one to read over and over as I have. We need more laughter and good feelings in our lives today and what better way than reading and sharing Patrick McManus and his wonderful works.
    God Bless Pat! Though we never met, I miss him so much.

  14. I loved his work! I always carry a fishing related book with me when I go to the doctors office. They never have anything worth reading. Anyway, I remember sitting in the waiting room one day, reading one of the stories in “I fish, therefore I am”. I wish that I could remember which one. I absolutely busted out laughing. Laughed so hard that I had tears running down my cheeks. Everyone was looking at me. A little old lady looked at me and said “That must really be a funny book.” It sure was. RIP Mr. McManus, thanks for the laughs.

  15. The Cor0na virus has restricted our activities at the present. I pulled a box down from the overhead in my shop to see what I could discard. I found about 200 Field and Stream and Outdoorlife magazines I was saving for the McManus stories. I have 10 of his autographed books. I clipped and stapled each of the stories from the magazines and am reading them with as much joy as the first time. Our library is closed until May 13, and there are no yard sales to pick up reading material. This nest of McManus stories has wonderfully helped to fill in a gap in my reading. What a great man.

  16. I am planning to accompany my three daughters and assorted grandchildren to Minnesota’s boundary waters in the next few weeks, as we have been doing for over 40 years, and always bring a couple of Mc Manus books to read aloud around the campfire. It is a family tradition which all of my family looks forward to. Every evening after marshmallow are toasted I am prevailed upon by grandchildren to delight them with Pat’s amazing wit and insights. I’m 79 now and still laugh out loud, and happy to pass on Pat’s magic to succeeding generations.

  17. Many years ago when I was doing volunteering work with Idaho Public TV in Boise Tim was doing his one man show at Boise State University. Idaho Public TV was filming portions for a future program. Pat was present at the performance and afterward, a reception was held for him to meet people who had made a certain contribution to PBS. I was able to attend because of my volunteering status and waited until the “contributors” had met him. Then I walked up and said” It certainly is nice to meet someone from Sandpoint Idaho besides Gerry Kramer who is famous.” He looked a bit startled and asked what my connection to Sandpoint was. I told him I grew up there and told him my name. He remembered my cousin, Beth and my sister Marilyn who were closer to his age than when growing up. He was a Junior when I was a freshman in high school. He seemed to be really happy to meet up with a “Sandpointer’ from the old days. Several years later, when he was in attendance at a production in Ogden, Utah, my sister got to meet with him and had a great time remembering their days in Sandpoint. I have 5 of his books, have clipped several of his articles from Outdoor Life and whenever I need a “lift in attitude” haul out one of his works and laugh myself back to sanity.

  18. I began reading Pat ‘s stories over 30 years ago and would often have one of his tapes playing in my truck on long drives. My kids are familiar with his stories and have always referred to him as the”funny guy.” My favorite story has always been, “The Night The Bear Ate Goombaw.”

  19. Hi all

    Late with my comments, but I too have enjoyed Mr. McManus’ books for the last 30 years or so. Sorry to hear of his passing. His writing style just clicked with me from the beginning. People now use LOL way too often, but his books not only had me laughing out loud, but quite often had me to the point of tears as well. An amazing talent for sure. RIP Mr. Patrick.

  20. Patrick McManus was a brilliant humorist who regularly brought a smile to my face and uncontrollable laughter to my home. I still burst into laughter and my wife will respond, “He is reading McManus!” Once my wife and I were listening to a McManus audiobook and we almost crashed because we could not stop laughing! I tell my friends who have not read McManus that I am very jealous of the joy that awaits them! The Bible states:” Laughter is the best medicine.” How very true. Thank you Patrick McManus.

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