Friends and family of Patrick O’Hara prepare for a birthday brigade in their finest classic bikes and cars for the 73-year-old’s birthday. Battling lung cancer, O’Hara’s community came together to show him they care. (Michelle Cabana/Black Press)

VIDEO: Langford man battling cancer honored with hot rod, motorcycle procession

Friends and family support Patrick O’Hara on his 73rd birthday

A man known and loved in Vancouver Island’s motorcycle and hot rod community received the birthday surprise of a lifetime Wednesday night.

On the evening of May 27, friends and family of Patrick O’Hara assembled outside the Langford Fountain Tire on their bikes and cars before forming a brigade and driving past O’Hara’s home in celebration of his 73rd birthday.

But the physically-distanced motorcade was also a celebration of O’Hara’s life and the impact he’s had on the lives of hundreds. According to family, the Victoria-born man has stage four lung cancer.

“Pat has been well-respected on the Island all his life,” said his ex-partner Lori Black. “He’s a kind, gentle, quiet man…we wanted him to know how much we all appreciated him.”

READ ALSO: Community surprises Saanich boy with car parade on seventh birthday

Patrick O’Hara is well-known in Greater Victoria for his involvement in hot rod and motorcycle communities. The car-enthusiast turned 73 on May 27 and was surprised by a brigade of friends and family in their finest classics of the two and four-wheel variety. (Facebook/Patrick O’Hara)

Along with his involvement with the Ford and Friends Car Club, O’Hara ran PJ’s Exteriors, a stucco and plaster company, on the West Shore for close to 50 years.

He made connections across the region both in the construction industry and amongst car and motorcycle communities. An avid motorcyclist, O’Hara participated in a number of the Victoria Motorcycle Club’s Hill Climb competitions in Metchosin.

He helped to organize a number of hot rod events in the Pacific Northwest and for the last 40 years, O’Hara has owned and maintained a 1948 black Ford coupe.

Close friend Dennis Ireland recalled the incredible, made-from-scratch motorcycles O’Hara made in the ’70s. O’Hara painted the bikes in shades of ocean-inspired Mediterranean blues and greens.

“He built some unreal bikes,” Ireland said. “He’d win the bike show, or at least the ‘people’s choice’ award. His bikes were that pretty.”

Ireland said his friend is reliable and respectable – a man of his word.

“He didn’t look down his nose at anybody,” he said. “He’s a really really good guy. We need more people like that.”

Charlie Parker has been close friends with O’Hara since they met as teenagers.

“We’ve done everything, from trout fishing, hunting, riding motorcycles and driving hot rods…we watched our kids grow up and come and go,” Parker said. “We spent a lifetime together. Not many people can say they have a buddy like that.”

Parker said O’Hara is a family man who loves his kids and grandchildren.

“He’s very ill,” Parker added. “We want to make sure we let him know that everyone is thinking about him. He’s going to be sorely missed by a lot of people.”

READ ALSO: George Jay teachers parade through Victoria to visit students



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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