A Celebration of Life funeral Mass was held Jan. 4 at St. Stephen Church for Patrick W. Albert, 51, who died after a long battle with brain cancer. Albert was a parishioner and the church's maintenance director.
Albert and his family moved to Bloomingdale after his home in New Orleans was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. However, before heading to Florida, Albert assisted in the hurricane relief efforts in his hometown.
He was born in New Orleans June 16, 1961, graduated from St. Paul's Catholic High School in Covington, La., and received a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Loyola University where he was an active member of Theta Xi fraternity and the Beta Xi chapter at UNO, organizing the annual "Pole Sit" to raise funds for Multiple Sclerosis.
He was a lifetime member of the New Orleans Yacht Club where he pursued his second love -- racing sailboats.
Upon moving to Bloomingdale, Albert promptly joined St. Stephen Catholic Church where he quickly became involved in the church's annual Spring Jubilee, preparing N'Awlins-style fish, shrimp and crawfish for the crowds.
"It was a hit from the start," said friend and fellow parishioner Brian Swetnam. "Everyone loved it."
Albert also was an active member of the St. Stephen's Men's Club, coordinating the annual Lenten fish fries for the parish. He was a member of the St Stephen Council 14084 Knights of Columbus as well.
As director of maintenance for the church, he became a jack of all trades for the parish, overseeing repairs, setting up tents for special services, handling the landscaping and making sure the church was well maintained.
"He never backed down from any challenge, whether it was work or just helping someone out," said Swetnam. "He was always willing to lend a helping hand."
It was that dedication to the church that prompted the parish council to nominate Albert for this year's St. Jude Medal Award, an honor presented by the Diocese of St. Petersburg to parishioners who demonstrate outstanding dedication to their parishes. Albert and 102 other recipients were recognized by Bishop Robert Lynch Nov. 25.
"He just had a huge impact on the parish," said Swetnam, a member of the parish council. "He was a person who was tireless and never said 'no.' He put his life into this parish."
Albert is survived by his first love, his wife of 25 years, Sylvia, and their four sons, Nathan Patrick, Kevin James, Brian Manasseh and Jason Edward.
He also leaves his father and mother, Jules G. Jr. and Nancy (Hendley) Albert; brothers, Jules G. III (Margaret), Stephen G. (Susan), Kenneth G. (Linda) and Scott M. (Tammy); a sister, Robin Ann (Wilbur); and many nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his sisters Janice Ann and Nancy Marie.
A reception will follow the funeral Mass at the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Wayne Patrick Albert's name to LifePath Hospice, 3723 Upper Creek Dr., Ruskin, FL 33573.