Saint Patrick was born in Westmoreland, Jamaica on November 11, 1939, and passed away in Toronto, Ontario on September 30, 2012, surrounded by close family and friends. Patrick left behind a massive legacy, plus several books and a wealth of friends in Canada and around the world. Brother Patrick was a Rastafarian prophet and core disciple of Haile Selassie I and Berhane Selassie I (Robert Nesta Marley).
Patrick was the son of Henry Arthurs and Lynette Fletcher, the brother of Neville, the father of seven children (Melanie, Craig, Daniel, Shem, Elisha, Nathan and Hannah) and grandfather of five (Nigel, Roman, Iylah, Iyabo and Irie). After a standout career as a Jamaican athletics star in the pole vault, Patrick moved to the U.S. to attend the University of Arkansas in the late 1950s, moving on to Canada in the 1960s. Since his arrival in our fair city, he has been a positive and inspirational influence on three generations of Toronto musicians, especially in the Reggae and Jazz genres.
In 1975, Patrick published his first book, Soul Revolution, the Diary of a Rastaman on the Freedom Road. It is a musical and spiritual tour de force that resonates with truths, rights and justice even to this day. In 1982, Patrick published Mental Earthquakes in Divers Places, and continued writing and publishing Rasta theology for the rest of his life.
Brother Patrick was a formidable influence on me and many others, and his knowledge of and love for music was inspiring and contagious. He was a loving husband to Lisa Conover for over two and a half decades, and was a long-time friend of Alvin Seeco Patterson, Judy Mowatt, and Rita and Bob Marley.
I remember Patrick telling me about the last time he saw Bob Marley. He had been backstage at Maple Leaf Gardens with Seeco and other Wailers, and he was able to present Brother Bob with a very old, large Bible, which Bob was pleased to receive. His final glimpse of Marley on this earth was outside of Maple Leaf Gardens, seeing the Reggae legend walk up the steps onto the “Babylon by Bus” tour bus. Marley had the same Bible in his hands as he bade farewell to Toronto.
When we were organizing the two-day Toronto memorial for Haile Selassie I’s Ethiopian reburial in the year 2000, Patrick was fully supportive and along with Samuel Ferenje, Jahn Hoy’s former speechwriter and traveling companion, Pat was a keynote speaker on both nights and his heartfelt and profound words were much appreciated by all.
For those who were unable to attend the funeral, it was a wondrous and deeply touching affair shared by family and friends of many generations. Drumming was provided by Ras JahPaul, Ras Tsepo and Empress Deb. Among those who paid tribute and spoke to honour Patrick were his cousin, Tsepo Anthony Fletcher; MC Simba, Franklins Ford, Al Peabody, Jay Douglas, Frank from the barbershop, Danielle, Lena, Daniel, Loyce, Lorenzo, nephew Michael Arthurs, son Craig, son Shem, daughter Hannah, daughter Elisha and many more.
For 40 years, Patrick was a mainstay of the local Rasta and Reggae scene, a genuine patriarch in our midst, and he will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by many. We give thanks for having had the opportunity to know Patrick, a soulful and creative human being that everyone in Jamaica and Canada can be proud of.
By JOSEPH TRAINOR