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.  

Andra Portnoy March 07, 2013 at 04:29 AM
Reston is a better place because of Patrick and we all have him to thank for his passion, his visionary ideas and his devotion to our great community. I will miss Patrick every day, especially as 5 pm comes around and my phone will no longer ring. Forever my dear friend. Andra Portnoy
Colin Mills March 07, 2013 at 04:40 AM
Reston has lost a creative and outspoken visionary. I don't think we were ever at a community event together where he wasn't bending my ear about some big idea of his. I loved the fact that he dared to dream big, and he wasn't shy about sharing his thoughts and opinions. Those of us who are shaping the community's future should learn from his example. One of his great ideas was to create the University of Reston. It would be a fitting legacy for Patrick if we could make that happen. We at RCA are ready to do our part to make that vision a reality.
John Lovaas March 07, 2013 at 12:17 PM
Reston has lost one of its very best. I don't know anyone who had more commitment to this community and the key founding principles-diversity, a place to live your whole life, and beauty both natural and structural --than he. And, there was no one more committed to our youth than Patrick. I will sorely miss listening to his latest idea for a world class redevelopment of Lake Anne or an after school program to enrich the education of Reston's less fortunate children. Rest in Peace, Patrick.
Stewart Schwartz March 07, 2013 at 12:28 PM
Pat taught me a great deal about planning and Reston and will be sorely missed. He set a high standard for community involvement and provided excellent advice to our team at the Coalition for Smarter Growth. I know the Reston community will continue to honor Pat's work through community centered planning focused on creating a sustainable, walkable and dynamic future.
George Kain March 07, 2013 at 02:56 PM
Pat Kane and I had the same last name although it was spelled diffrently. Just a few weeks ago he and I had a telephone conversation about Reston and its future. Pat was a "get up and go" guy despite his illness and I shall never forget him. I do agree with Colin MIlls of RCA that establishment of "Reston University" in his name would be a fitting legacy.
Ed Robichaud March 07, 2013 at 03:38 PM
We'll miss his wit and wisdom. Thanks for sharing those, Pat. My condolences to the family.
Alan Feinberg March 07, 2013 at 05:04 PM
Kane and I, (he called me ‘Fein’ and I called him ‘K’ or ‘Kane’), had talked all the time, even though I had the audacity to move out of Reston years ago. He was a great friend and mentor, but how he dealt with his stroke over a dozen years ago gave me great hope in dealing with adversity -- he was an amazing, passionate fighter for the good. I still share his love for Reston.
Ron Taylor March 07, 2013 at 05:19 PM
Ron Taylor I've known Patfor all of those 46 years and I will miss his sporadic phone calls wanting to discuss one of his newest ideas. He was not only a kind, intelligent human being, he was also a very brave person who never complained about anything.
Carol Reynolds March 07, 2013 at 05:36 PM
Rest In Peace Mr. Kane. -Carol Reynolds
Carol Reynolds March 07, 2013 at 05:37 PM
I remember Pat and his family very well. I was very fond of them. Love Genny Paige
Cate Fulkerson March 07, 2013 at 05:55 PM
A good man who gave much to the community and will be greatly missed.
Roy Eppard March 07, 2013 at 06:00 PM
I met Mr. Kane in his resident office three years ago. While conversing with me, he simultaneously dictated a letter to his associate and began performing research on the topic we were discussing. Multi-tasking at its best. He demonstrated a deep fondness for his community and truly was a civic activist. "He was Reston, before Reston was cool". A great selfless, kind and enthusiastic man. Mr. Kane was a man with a vision. I can only assume Mr. Kane is working on road widening, transportation and enhanced infrastructure improvements in Heaven. Praises Mr. Kane!
Wendy Bennett March 07, 2013 at 10:35 PM
Pat Kane & his family extended loving arms to my family as one of the 1st 100 families to settle in Reston. I was a lifeguard at different pools in Reston, & baby sat his kids. Pat & I spoke regularly, as recently as a few weeks ago. He was interviewing me about my dad, George Bennett, & his role in the anti poverty movement. He was always inspiring, & maintained his childlike innocence until the end. RIP Pat. U were one of a kind.
Barbara March 08, 2013 at 01:59 AM
We lived across the street from the Kanes in Coleson Cluster way back when. My heart goes out to this exceptional family. You have given so much to Reston and Pat will be missed.
Brian Kane March 08, 2013 at 05:41 AM
This is Pat's son Brian. One of his six children. I am deeply touched by the notes and sentiments posted on this site. My family and I greatly appreciate all fo the kind words and fantastic stories of your relationships and experiences with this man I called dad. Keep them coming and thank you for capturing his spirit and legacy. He is a special person to many people and will have a lasting positive impact on the community he called home and we called Reston.
Alice Murphy March 08, 2013 at 07:38 AM
A kid of the plaza, I had no idea of the extent to which Pat Kane nurtured the culture of our burgeoning, beloved little Place Called Reston. To behold him, though, especially as a child of the time, was to witness such a charisma that it was easy to see how I could naturally assume he was a pillar of the community. The center of so much - what a *smiling spirit* has touched many positively and undoubtedly left innumerable beauty marks along the way.
Alice Murphy March 08, 2013 at 07:42 AM
Hugs & Love, Brian!
Steve Graul March 08, 2013 at 02:11 PM
I first met Pat when I was tending bar at night at the Ice House Cafe in 1985, while working during the day, trying to begin my career in commercial real estate. Pat was so immersed in trying to help fix what was broken in Herndon back then, and his passion for his work served as an inspiration to keep me focused on my career. 25 years later, established with my own commercial/retail firm, I discovered that Pat was a neighbor of mine. He would recognize my wife and I walking past his house by the sound of our 3 dogs. Always cheerful, always upbeat, always looking to make a difference. It was always good to hear his voice in my voice mail, often never announcing who it was, but I always knew it was Pat, calling to solicit my assistance with the retail at Lake Anne Center. One of kind - no question. Mary, Leo, Coco, Mimi and I will miss you Pat.
Jeff Cody March 08, 2013 at 03:19 PM
My thoughts, prayers, and meditations go out to the Kane family. Pat Kane is/was a cool dude for sure. Several years ago I ran into Pat Kane hanging out at Lake Anne Center and he was just as vividly charismatic as ever. I'll also never forget the time my friends and I got the OK from the original "big daddy Kane" to rock out (uhh....for graduation or birthday party? ...ehe) on the Kane family's deck with about a thousand watts of noise - open-minded parent for sure. He'll be missed, and again, my thoughts and prayers go to the Kane family and friends. JCody
Jeri May March 08, 2013 at 05:30 PM
Richard J Kennedy March 08, 2013 at 09:15 PM
Nicely said Bryan and so many others. I have been blessed to have known Patrick. "Connectivity" was always on Pat's lips. We had connectivity in many ways. Notre Dame, Buffalo, family, urban planning, kids sports, HUD, affordable housing, friends, and a love for Reston. I will treasure our many conversations on Pat's well know Big Ideas. But most of all I witnessed real courage and a love for life, despite many physical challenges I never ever heard Patrick complain. We always felt better after talking to Pat. Susan and family, God bless and know Patrick is looking out for you in a new way. Dick Kennedy
Louis Matsikas March 08, 2013 at 11:48 PM
I have catered several networking events for sponsors in the Reston Chamber. Mr Kane was always the first to arrive and the last to leave, and we enjoyed every minute of his company.
Glenn Saunders March 09, 2013 at 12:55 AM
I was saddened to hear of pats passing . My family and I have known Pat for the entire time since he and his family moved to Reaton including many years when they lived on South Shore Road. I most remember Pat for his constant stream of ideas and far reaching thoughts which kept all around him thinking about our future . We will all miss Pat very much and know that Reston has lost a real Champion . Rest in peace Pat ,and God's peace to your family. Glenn Saunders
Rena Corey March 09, 2013 at 01:15 PM
It's lovely reading all these stories about Pat in his younger days. We only knew him over the past 5 years or so, because my boys would help him out with the yard work and his computer. We were so sad when the Kanes had to move out of Reston.
Willard Fraize March 09, 2013 at 04:01 PM
Pat and Susan have been friends and neighbors since we moved to Reston (Coleson Cluster) in 1969. Our kids and the Kane children grew up together and have remained friends to this day. In recent years, after his stroke and his eyesight began to fail, Pat has needed help in maintaining his connectivity with friends in and out of the community, and I've been privileged to be a sighted friend who could help him make the most out his sometimes balky computer (that kept "losing" his files). What I remember most about Pat was his wonderful sense of humor and his very keen "eye" for connections among people. Connectivity, for him, was the essential ingredient of a thriving community and he looked for it in every encounter he had. One of Pat's distinguishing marks was his camera which he carried with him at every community function. In recent years, with only one functioning hand and eye, he was still able to spot and snap pictures of ongoing connectivity. I grew to love the guy; I will sorely miss our long and varied discussions between searches for lost photos. Rest in Peace, Pat! You've left an indelible mark on many lives, including mine.
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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