Obituary: Patrick Kane, Community Planner

Community planner's ideas impacted Reston, where he was a resident for 46 years.

Patrick Kane, a community planner who was instrumental in the development of Reston and was still concerned about the area 50 years later, died of lung cancer on Tuesday, his 77th birthday.

Kane was the founding president of the the Reston Board of Commerce (later renamed the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce) and chair of the Chamber from 1982-86. He was chosen as Lord Fairfax by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2010 for his contributions to the community.

"Pat was a guy who had more thoughts per square inch than anyone I have ever known," said Reston founder Robert E. Simon. "He was a good man. I enjoyed his sense of humor and was impressed by his imagination."

Karen Cleveland, the chamber's first executive director, recalls first meeting Kane in the late 1980s. He was memorable then - as well as more recently - as a man with an eye patch, a handlebar mustache and a "wonderful sense of humor," Cleveland said.

"We all adored Pat," she said. "Pat so loved Reston. Even more than that, I feel like he was the conscience of Reston in many ways. He never lost his enthusiasm and desire to make Reston the best it can be.

Kane's family said in a message on the website CaringBridge.com, that he read about Reston in 1966 and was intrigued by the new, inclusive community.

"The concept of Reston was that it should be a place where everyone can live, regardless of race, creed, economic status, and it attracted resident pioneers with a keen sense if social justice," the post reads. "It has been home to Patrick and his family for 46 years."

Kane's papers about the planning and development of Reston from 1967-2002 are part of the library at George Mason University, where Kane was an adjunct professor.

Kane founded his own planning firm, KRS Associates, in Reston in 1966.  In 1973, he formed The Corporation for Community Development, which was a consortium of firms and individuals working on planning projects.  Among some of the projects: A Future of Tysons Corner, prepared for TYTRAN; a plan for the downtown area of the Town of Herndon; and an assessment of the reinvestment potential of the Lake Anne in Reston.

"Pat Kane is one of the smartest people I know," said Del. Ken Plum. "He always had a bright new idea. He understood and loved Reston as a professional planner and as a longtime resident. He was deeply involved in the life of the community and a major contributor to its success. He also had a wonderful sense of humor."

In November 2012, Kane was diagnosed with lung cancer. He has been undergoing chemotherapy and battling side effects since December, his family said.

Funeral services will be held at St. Thomas à Becket Catholic Church in Reston at 1 p.m. on Saturday. There will be a small reception at the church following the service. 

In lieu of flowers, the family suggest donations to Gabriel Homes, Inc. Gabriel Homes, of which Kane was a co-founder, is a nonprofit organization promoting independence for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Northern Virginia.

Feel free to share a remembrance of Pat Kane in the comments below.  

Sally Schafer March 09, 2013 at 10:53 PM
Pat and I go back to Notre Dame, where we met in 1959. My beloved friend. What a pleasant, thoughtful man who started out rescuing my cat, and years later still made me laugh. Living in Reston as a KRS wife, we shared many times with he and Susan starting in '67. I am so thankful for knowing him. Bless you Pat and peace to your family.
Ken Lanfear March 09, 2013 at 10:54 PM
Singing at Pat's funeral service, the St. Thomas a Becket choir spontaneously added a final song: "Beautiful City." Pat certainly did his best to make Reston fit that description.
James K March 12, 2013 at 04:54 PM
I briefly worked as his assitant and it didn't take me long to realize just how ahead of his time Patrick was. He always had the betterment of the community at heart and has improved the lives of so many. He was a very likeable man who I am proud to have known. Patrick I know you're in a better place, but we'll miss you, I'll miss you, and Reston will miss you.
Michael Callahan March 20, 2013 at 10:41 PM
As a planning professor and mentor, there was none better than Patrick Kane. He left a legacy of hope, inspiration, creativity, and problem solving for future generations of practitioners and teachers. Pat taught me that children are the key to successful community planning because of their exuberance, resiliency, and fun loving nature. He used to say, "teach a child about how a community works and you have a citizen for life." He is dearly missed!
Michael Jordan April 12, 2013 at 06:34 PM
I met Pat Kane in 1978 when I started at my first real job after high school. I was regularly picking up blueprints and drawings from his business on Lake Anne. Pat had a great sense of humor and would always warmly greet me. One day he saw that I was driving a broken-down Ford Pinto. Pat threw me his car keys and said, "Take my car and have fun!" I was astounded because he barely knew me. I drove all over Reston that day in Pat's convertible (I think it was red), with everyone waving to me because they thought it was Pat. He was that kind of guy and even though its been almost 30 years since I last saw him, I never forgot him.


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