Obituary: Patrick Hart, 74, Key Figure in Palisades Homeless Task Force

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Patrick Hart with his sister Mary Dee in Temescal Canyon Park in July 2020.

Patrick Lynn Hart, one of the key figures in the implementation of the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness, passed away on May 30.

He had Multiple Systems Atrophy Striatonigral Degeneration, a rare progressive neurodegenerative disorder that had only been diagnosed in February.

His sister, Mary Dee, whom Pat called “Dee,” wrote, “During the three months that Pat lived with Chris and me, in Hospice and later, caregivers, all of whom became family, my brother and I bonded even more closely, and loved each other more deeply in our oldest brother/baby sister way. Pat died with love, comfort, care and dignity.”

Born on May 22, 1948, in Los Angeles, the son of Dixie Bales and Douglas Hart, Patrick spent his first five years in the town of Muroc (Corum spelled backwards after local farmer Mr. Corum) in Kerosene Flats.

His father, who had been a flight-test engineer in World War II and later worked with Northrop, was stationed at Edwards Air Force Base at Muroc. In the mid-1940s, temporary wartime housing had been built and was nicknamed Kerosene Flats due to the strong odor of kerosene used for heating and cooking.

The housing included a chapel, bowling center, library and service club and Mary Dee remembers her two older brothers, Pat and Tim, “wore full cowboy attire and rode together in a little red fire engine.”

While their parents were at Christmas Midnight Mass one year, the two boys discovered Santa had come, and proceeded to open every present.

The backyard neighbors were Chuck Yeager and his wife, and Mary Dee remembers how “Pat got ringworm from Chuck Yeager’s dog.”

Pat grew up in Torrance, on “The Hill,” attended St. Margaret Mary Catholic Elementary School, and graduated in 1965 from Fermin Lasuen Catholic High School.

In 1969, he received his bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

One of his first jobs was with Warehouse Sound in San Luis Obispo as a sound design engineer. He then moved to Southern California and worked with Pioneer, Kenwood, JVC, Maranz, Sherwood and Harman Kardon.

Pat also developed his own line of speakers: Hart Acoustics. He later wrote for several audiophile magazines under the nom de plume of Cory Daniels.

In 1985, Pat moved back to Torrance to be closer to his younger brother Tim.

Then, in 2002, he moved to Pacific Palisades. He was an active community member, always questioning city and county authorities about geological and engineering matters and proposals. He was one of the first people to join the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness (PPTFH).

Tributes and remembrances have come from many people in the Palisades community.

PPTFH co-president Sharon Browning said, “This is sad and truly a loss. Patrick was key to PPTFH’s beginning and so many of our practices that have led us to success. He was our first data guru, gave us our boundary lines, epitomized ‘outreach and engagement’ with our homeless folks, brought people together, and was a tireless, positive advocate. He cared about people. He made a difference with his life. He is missed already.”

Task Force member Nancy Klopper said, “Patrick was such a founding member of the team from the very, very beginning. He engaged Timothy and Scotty before anyone knew their names. He knew everything about them. He came up with the maps. He divided the areas. He had compassion and understanding. Patrick was a gentleman.  We will miss him dearly.”

Carmen Kallberg said, “This is just heartbreaking. Patrick was so kind and encouraging when I joined the response team. He will be missed. Thank you Sharon K. and Bruce for all you did for Patrick. He loved you both.”

PPTFH co-president Sharon Kilbride said, “Patrick was a Sparkplug for his Google Earth-mapping of all the encampments in our hillsides in 2014 and 2015. He was a dedicated volunteer since the beginning of PPTFH. It is with a heavy heart that our team member passed away.”

He is predeceased by his mother, father, stepfather Lou Bales and brother Tim. He is survived by his sister, Mary Hart Maggay (Chris), one nephew, two nieces and their spouses, three grand-nephews, one great-niece, one great-great niece, three aunts and nine cousins.

A memorial service will be held in July or August at a site to be named. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Multiple System Atrophy Coalition (multiplesystematrophy.org/Donate) in honor of Patrick.

Patrick Hart (right of the sign, standing) helped the Homeless Task Force get the restricted entry signs.

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