A Eulogy for Patrick Haenelt

A perfect portrait of Patrick by Louisa Firethorne, July 2021.

May 16, 1969 – June 20, 2021

Patrick Haenelt was like a brother to me. I suspect he was like family to many of us who knew him because that is how generous Patrick was with his time, his heart, and his soul.

I’m so grateful that no matter how much time had passed in between seeing each other, Patrick and I were always present for each other when called upon. We shared our hopes and fears, we impelled each other to pursue our dreams, and we grumbled incessantly about our nightmares. We were each other’s confidantes for 22 years, turning to one another for inspiration, advice and to process life’s inevitable curveballs. You know, the ones that make you want to scream. Well, we did scream, together, and we maybe cried a little, too. And eventually laughed maniacally at the absurdity of it all. And that, my loves, was one of Patrick’s greatest strengths: resiliency and rising above hardship like a blazing phoenix, a very stylish phoenix, emerging from the ashes of total fucking bullshit.

Patrick and I met in 1999 and quickly became close friends because we both shared a lifelong interest in obscure music and the esoteric. Patrick was very much an alchemist and was deeply influenced by the Hermetic arts. He poured this love and occult knowledge into his creative pursuits, transforming hearts and minds with words and sounds. Furthermore, he was exceptionally adept at bringing people together. 

I personally witnessed his ability to unite communities for the first time in 2000 for my 19th birthday. Patrick brought together the absurdist experimental noise of A Nat Hema, the debaucherous danceathon wonder of Freq Transmission, and his own soulful down-tempo project Ganesha Column, and he organized this birthday show for no reason other than kindness, to show his familial love for me and to welcome me to the intersecting worlds of creative minds under one roof. I’ve never had a birthday party since because there’s just no way anyone could ever top the one Patrick hosted for me that night, 21 years ago. Obviously, this means I’m still 19. I told you, he was an alchemist! 

I think this part of Patrick’s origin story that I was so lucky to be a part of perfectly foreshadows his future trajectory that everyone here can recognize. He moved to Seattle and hosted numerous shows and festivals, for two decades! But it all started with house parties for his friends. And that party he selflessly threw for me embodies his unrelenting generosity and his infinite sweetness that I have seen reach into so many lives. That birthday party shows his unmatched talent for collaboration and celebration, finding a purpose to unite seemingly unrelated groups of people he loved. And that’s what has brought us all here today: with our variety of backgrounds, talents and passions, Patrick, the alchemist, has once again found a way to transform liminal space to connect the people he loves.

Jessie Tear, Patrick’s life partner, encourages anyone reading this to also acknowledge Patrick’s fervor for activism, which he embedded in all outlets: music, writing, socializing and every creative quest he ever followed. 

Please take a moment of silence and hold space for the light and love from and for Patrick that fills this written celebration of his beautiful life.

A eulogy for my dear friend, Patrick Haenelt.
Image designed by Louisa Firethorne.

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