Basalt family says death of Patrick Palardy, 15, won’t be in vain
The Aspen Times
Friends and family are remembering Patrick Palardy this week as a young man who placed others before himself, got along with everyone and was always ready with a joke.
That’s what makes his death by suicide so perplexing and heartbreaking. Patrick died last weekend after an incident on Friday.
Patrick was a 15-year-old freshman at Basalt High School. A memorial service will be held for him at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Basalt Middle School.
The Palardy and Glassier families have received an outpouring of community support since his death. Scores of letters from Patrick’s classmates at Basalt High School were delivered earlier this week to Temple Glassier, Patrick’s mother.
One student recalled how Patrick’s jokes would prevent long bus rides during middle school track meets from getting dull.
“Patrick never would hurt a soul and was so kind to young kids,” the student wrote. “Patrick will always be in my heart and all of ours.”
Another letter addressed to Patrick said, “Everyone is going to miss you but you have left a mark on everyone’s heart.”
Classmate Peter Zimmer was at the Glassier household Tuesday night providing comfort to the family with other friends. He said he’s known Patrick “forever” and they were close friends. Patrick liked being outdoors — ripping around on ATVs, Razors and dirt bikes.
He was a good-natured guy. “He used to have a joke for everything,” Zimmer said.
When asked what he will remember best about Patrick, Zimmer said, “Just him being happy.”
Matty Gillis met Patrick through Zimmer when they were in fourth grade and have been close friends since.
“He was just such a funny guy,” Gillis said. “He hung out with everybody.”
Patrick loved the various animals around the family home on Missouri Heights. Patrick’s brother Dylan recalled a goose they had that would shadow Patrick.
“You could tell where Patrick was. There would be a goose popping up,” Dylan said.
The community’s support for the family has been incredible and reflects the kind of guy Patrick was, Dylan said. “Everybody loved Patrick,” he said.
Although he was at an age where kids can get engulfed in caring only about themselves, that never happened with Patrick, Glassier said.
“Every single day, whatever time it was when he saw me, he would say, ‘Hey, mamma, what interesting thing happened today?’ Every day,” Glassier said.
Patrick always put the cares of his family and friends ahead of his own, she said. He was well known for advising people to “don’t worry about it,” she said. Patrick’s catchphrase was also noted by a few of the students who wrote letters to the family.
Patrick’s grandma, Joann Glassier, said Patrick stopped by her house nearly every day and would ask if she needed help with anything.
It’s easy to see why everyone was stunned by Patrick’s death. Glassier and her support network are determined to salvage something from the tragedy.
“Our mission is to get the word out about suicide” as well as the services available for kids and parents in need of help, Glassier said. “There shouldn’t be another parent that doesn’t recognize the signs,” she said.
She noted that suicide has struck the family twice. Her sons’ father, Dennis Palardy, died from suicide last year.
Glassier said the Aspen Hope Center has played a tremendous role in coping with the tragedy. It is her hope that students and parents will tap its resources when needed. The family will build awareness about the Hope Center by making information available at Patrick’s memorial service.
Michelle Muething, executive director of the Aspen Hope Center, called Glassier a “beacon of light” in the effort to spread the word about resources available and to prevent suicide in the Roaring Fork Valley. The families of children and young adults who die by suicide tend to withdraw. They are concerned about what people will think of their child and the adults’ parenting skills, she said.
“She is standing up and saying, ‘My son took his life by suicide and that’s not OK,’ ” Muething said. “She is so determined to get the message out.”
She compared Glassier’s determination to that of Sandy Iglehart, who co-founded Aspen Hope Center in 2010 after her daughter took her life the year before.
Muething said Patrick and his family were so embedded in the community that the Hope Center had to marshal all of its resources for a response. Counselors held debriefings with first responders over the weekend, met with students at Basalt schools on Monday and with teachers in a different session after school Monday. Another session was held with parents Tuesday evening. Ongoing support is available to all.
“In crisis you have to reach out for support,” Muething said. Aspen Hope Center reached out to roughly 30 mental health practitioners in the community over the weekend. Five closed their practices to assist in counseling on Monday, she said.
Roaring Fork School District Superintendent Rob Stein said in a statement that the work of counselors from across the school district and partner organizations has been valuable.
“Since learning this sad news, our focus has been on supporting our students, staff and families. Many staff members are heartbroken and are working hard to manage their own grief while supporting their students,” Stein said in the statement.
Patrick’s penchant for helping others continued at the end of his life. He was an organ donor and his family has been informed that life-saving surgeries have already been performed where someone has received his heart, left lung, right and left kidney and liver. In addition, tissue, skin and bone will help hundreds of others in need.
“He’s touching 250 to 300 lives,” Glassier said.
In lieu of flowers, the family has set up a fund for “children awareness.” Contributions can be made at any Alpine Bank. The proceeds will go to Aspen Hope Center and various causes in Patrick’s memory, Glassier said.
Patrick Laurent Palardy was born on May 3, 2002. He is survived by his mother, Temple Glassier; brothers Tyler, Dylan and Tristin Palardy; and sister Chandelle Nelson; as well as numerous extended family members. He was preceded in death by his father, Dennis Palardy.