My name is Pat Fale. I passed away on April 15, 2020 at my home in Kamiah. I was born in Wellington, New Zealand of a New Zealand mother and an American father on May 16, 1944. After World War 2 we moved to Seattle, Wash., where my other two brothers were born, however my father deserted us a short time later. Neighbors and friends donated enough funds for us to return to New Zealand.
Growing up was not easy in my family. I had no guidance from a drinking stepfather, so I just made the best I could in a wild world. I always had a love for big trucks, heavy equipment and the military. I worked for New Zealand Ministry of Justice part time as an assistant warden. I spent 14 years in the New Zealand Army including a Vietnam tour of duty and resigned as a platoon sergeant to migrate to America. One of my brothers, Mike, through the Salvation Army, located my father after a two-year search. In 1980 we started corresponding and decided to migrate to America in 1981 (legally) and join my father’s Chevron distributorship company. Once in America I could see great opportunities. I went to an academy to become a police officer, which was very rewarding and worked for a radio station as an announcer and the accounts executive at the same time.
I had a wandering spirit and the freedom of the road grabbed at me again. I joined a great brotherhood of truckers like Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), helping supply the nation and its inhabitants with food and goods while they slept. Then it struck: emphysema! While loading seafood in Seattle bound for Florida and states in between. It struck! Suddenly, without warning my windpipes closed up then slowly released… Whew that was close, I thought. It was then I realized I wasn’t breathing right, in fact I was downright breathless! I pondered for a moment, thinking it was a bug or some pesky little virus. (I found out later that there was a constant strip of airborne mold between Seattle and Tacoma). Bad stuff!
As I received my paperwork and was cleared for takeoff, I hoped my breathing would rectify itself. I fired up my trusty Kenworth’s 550hp Cummins and listened as it settled down to an even tempo. I slowly slipped into 1st gear and released the clutch. I could feel this great beast of burden lean into the 80,000-pound load, eager to go. I had two drops in Minnesota before dropping down to Wisconsin, where my terminal was located. Was I going to make it? My lungs were hurting and my breathing was getting scary. I finally made it to a new clinic off the freeway I-90 in Wisconsin Dells. It had taken me 3½ days to get there due to several stops. I walked into the clinic and collapsed. The next thing I remember was a doctor looking down at me shaking his head side to side. Hey doc, you got a problem with your neck, I thought? “How do you feel?” he asked. “Great,” I chirped. He said he couldn’t understand how I drove all that way and was still alive. I said with a smart remark, “People gotta eat.” Then he got to the point. He said, “You have pneumonia, bronchitis and emphysema. We got rid of the first two, but you’re stuck with the third for life.” I didn’t even know what emphysema was when I left that hospital. I was ready to go trucking again. Dang, it felt good! What did the doctor know, I was about to find out.
This was not going away. Every round trip (two weeks) I ended up in the hospital (10 times) for two days, then back on the road again. Finally, I had to shut ’er down and sell my beloved Kenworth. A sorry day for me.
I ended up in a small, but beautiful town in the hills of Idaho, nestled between two huge ranges in the Clearwater Valley. Here I would learn some computer skills and decided to research the very chronic disease that was slowly killing me. The medical industry lumps together any lung problem such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and other respiratory diseases as COPD which stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. But emphysema gets a bum rap, even though it is nearly replacing cancer for global annual deaths. Early on in my research I was finding out that if the government, especially the FDA and pharmaceutical companies would get the hell out of the way we could get other treatments not necessarily prescribed by the Medical Mafia. As I think we all know by now big pharma and the FDA have a way too cozy of relationship. Heaven forbid that we may find a treatment elsewhere to help heal us. If that happened, then who would big pharma sell his pills to? I see you got the picture!
Farewell to my friends and relatives. I’ll be watching!
I am survived by son Shane Fale, daughter Carolyn Fale and my awesome three sisters: Jo-Ann Smiley, Loraine Wey and Linda.
Trenary Funeral Home of Kooskia is assisting the family.