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CODY, Wyo. - J. Michael Patrick, 51, of Cody died Thursday, May 8, 2003, near Lander, Wyo., as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident.

Mike was born Jan. 27, 1952, in Cody. He was raised on the Diamond Bar Ranch and Belknap Ranch on Southfork, participating in all aspects of ranch life. Mike competed in high school rodeo, excelling in the event of team roping. One of the greatest pleasures of his life was team roping with his beloved dad, Jim. Mike graduated from Cody High School in 1970 and attended the University of Wyoming on an academic scholarship where he studied journalism.

Mike lived an exciting and adventurous life, experiencing it to the fullest. In 1971 he traveled to Kenya to visit his mother, Lucille, and spent several months managing a large African cattle ranch there. In 1973 he spent four memorable weeks horse-packing through Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding area with his brother Nic and close friends Jerry Hodson, Que Mangus and Tom Anno. Mike also traveled throughout South America with friend Tom.

Mike married Virginia Livingston in 1981. They one had son, Jim, in 1985. Jim was the greatest source of joy in Mike's life and his greatest treasure.

Mike founded New West Furniture in 1986, and built it into the premier western furniture business it is today. His peers recognized his artistry and creativity with many awards, including the Buffalo Bill Historical Center 1998 Switchback Ranch Purchase Award, Western Design Conference People's Choice Award in 1994 and 1995, WDC Best Exhibit Award in 1995, and Metropolitan Home Magazine Design 100 Award in 1992. He was featured in a HGTV program, "Your Home with Kitty Bartholomew" in 1998, and recently completed filming for a second HGTV program, "Sensible Chic," which will air later this year. Mike was the driving force behind the development of the Western Design Conference, never backing away from his strong belief that bringing artisans together to share ideas and philosophies would benefit all.

The recent renovation of the Plains Hotel in Cheyenne, Wyo., was a source of pride, because it combined historic preservation goals and state-of-the-art design elements.

As a third generation rancher, Mike understood the critical importance of continued sustainable use of natural resources. He was an advocate for wild places and dedicated many volunteer hours to the cause of maintaining environmental balance through organizations such as Northwest Resource Council, Park County Planning and Zoning, and Corporation for the Northern Rockies, which he co-founded.

Mike is survived by son Jim Patrick; by his biggest fan, his mother Lucille Patrick; brother Nic Patrick and wife Joyce; sisters Pat Harter and Jo Knight; Virginia Livingston and by many loving and caring nieces, nephews and friends.

Mike was a creative, artistic, intense man, passionate about many things: New West Furniture, the environment, and most important, his son, Jim.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church in Cody on Wednesday, May 14. Donations may be made in his memory to Crisis Intervention Services.

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