J. Patrick Rooney, Great American, Friend and Mentor Died Today

J. Patrick Rooney, Insurance Executive and Civic Leader (80) died Monday, September 15, 2008.  He was the first person to fund vouchers on a large scale, for the parents of inner city children to send their children to a school of their choice.

More than any other unelected person, J. Patrick Rooney was responsible for the creation and passage of the Health Savings Account legislation.

Excerpts of some of the emails sent today:

“He was a great man. A visionary, a Patriot, and a righteous man of God. He will be missed by all who love freedom.”

From another:

“Somewhere up there, God just opened an HSA.”

Here is an email from a friend whose first language is not English:

“This morning when the cell phone rang I did not answer.  I was scared – there is some bad news knocking to me, I thought.  Minute later when I was playing the message left, I realized that the news could not be worse – Our Pat Rooney is no more…

“What can I say?  At his age it would be dishonest to say that it was absolutely unpredictable.

“During the time spent with Pat in his house, during evening martini consumption ritual (and Pat is the best in creation of absolutely marvelous and thus famous Pat Rooney’s martini), he had a joke – ‘Edward, I have decided that I will live till the age of 125 years.’.

“And I truly believed that he found some secrets of a long successful life.  I was witnessing – he would easily write several hundred dollar donation check for parishioner in his black church but hesitate to order a bit expensive meal or drink in average restaurant for himself. A man, well-known as the wealthy millionaire, he was driving average US made car, he was dressing modestly etc.  But as to working – he was immodest working up to 18 hours a day.

“21-st century realities were putting him in not very comfortable working specifics – internet, email, GSP, etc.  But he was successfully cooping with this new for him challenges.

“Being a millionaire his master bedroom was also his office with piles of papers organized on the floor and he kept shortest way from working desk to the sleeping bed.  Was he a workaholic? I doubt.  He was best type of a normal person, a stoic!

“For me, a Soviet émigré, Pat was the live proof of the immense personal qualities of the people of this great nation, about which I previously knew only from the literature of writers like Ernest Hemingway, Jack London and others (whose works were published in the USSR.

“Today I am sad, very sad.  Not many of such type of Great Americans are still alive.  Civil Rights Champion, big reformer and crusader for the fairness, defender of the week and poor, big Christian, Big Heart…

“Pat, it was an honor and the privilege to know you in this life…”

The following arrangements have been made with Stuart Mortuary:

Visitation will be Wednesday, September 17, 2008, from 4-8 p.m. with a Prayer Service at 7 p.m. at Holy Angels Catholic Church, 740 W. 28th Street, Indianapolis, IN.

The Funeral Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated at St. Monica’s Catholic Church, 6150 N Michigan Road, Indianapolis, IN, Thursday, September 18 at 10 a.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Fairness Foundation, 5767 W. 74th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46278.

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