April 26, 2012

03/03/12: Philip Patnaude, 28, Chicago, IL

Philip Patnaude
On Saturday, March 3, Philip Patnaude, 28, disappeared near Belmont Harbor in Chicago. Patnaude and a large group of friends had been out drinking in the East Lakeview neighborhood until a little after 2 a.m., when the group left to head over to the Belmont Harbor area of Lake Michigan. Patnaude was last seen by friends about 2:30 a.m. in very good spirits as he exited a cab near Wellington Avenue and Broadway.

Family and friends, including many of the people who had been with Patnaude, began to search for Patnaude after he failed to return home. They alerted police after finding his black ski jacket south of Belmont Avenue in the harbor on Sunday afternoon.

The Chicago Tribune has reported that when he exited the cab, Patnaude told a friend he was heading to the lakefront. His sister, Colette Patnaude, 23, of Downers Grove told the paper that her brother was a nature enthusiast and avid adventure seeker. "I think he wanted to go and look out at the water and take a walk," she said.

While family and friends searched for Philip Patnaude in neighborhoods around Chicago, emergency crews began searching Belmont Harbor where Patnaude's jacket was found.

According to WLS-TV, divers searched for several hours Sunday in frigid temperatures and murky conditions. Sgt. Ray Mazzola of the Chicago Police Marine Unit told the paper that the divers could only see five feet in either direction, but silt reduced their visibility to two or three feet when they searched the bottom of the harbor.

"Each guy has 20 minutes," he said. "We did three divers, starting at about 2:30, and then right now, we're using an ROV. It's a camera that we can drive along the bottom to look for the victim," said Mazzola.

The divers had to stop searching overnight due to safety concerns, but police continued to search the surface of the harbor.

Loved ones posted updates about the search on Twitter and Facebook. Patnaude’s best friend Kevin Callaghan also flew in from San Francisco to help with the search efforts.

On Monday, March 5, 2012, Philip Patnaude's body was found in the southwest corner of Belmont Harbor about 30 feet from the gate of the harbor--an area that had previously been searched by police divers.

The body was dressed in clothes consistent with what Patnaude had been wearing and was later positively identified by the Cook's County medical examiner's office.

The Chicago Tribune has reported that investigators told Patnaude's family that it appeared Patnaude died trying to get out of the water. According to the paper, "Patnaude apparently took off his jacket—which was found Sunday in Belmont Harbor—as he struggled to get out of the water, Moore said. When he was found, he still had his wallet, identification, keys and iPhone on him, indicating there likely was no foul play, she said.

“It was a tragic accident—it looked like he slipped in,” Patnaude’s aunt, Barbara Moore told the paper. "He died trying to save himself,” Moore said.

Moore added that the family appreciated the efforts of the police divers and that they were “relieved” the body was finally found.

An autopsy on March 6 confirmed that Patnaude had drowned. The manner of his death is undetermined.

About Philip Patnaude

Philip Patnaude was known for his zest for life. He was a very positive guy who loved the outdoors and had a wide-range of interests, from snowboaring to earning his pilot's license. Patnaude and his fiancee had been together for five years, and they were to be married in the fall.

A heartwarming article touching on the life of Philip Patnaude is below:

Downers Grove North grad Philip Patnaude laid to rest Friday
28-year-old leaves family, friends with many good memories
By Don Grigas, dgrigas@mysuburbanlife.com
GateHouse News Service
Posted Mar 09, 2012 @ 10:18 AM 
Last update Mar 12, 2012 @ 10:51 AM

Downers Grove, IL — Family and friends remember Philip Patnaude as a young man who lived his life to its full length as well as its width.

“In 28 years, he really lived a full, full life,” said Art Patnaude, Philip’s older brother. “He was just a very enthusiastic go-getter... Philip got a lot done in a short time.”

Traveling the world as an engineer for the Chicago-based engineering firm Sargent & Lundy, revitalizing a University of Illinois fraternity and taking regular backpacking tips to the Pacific Northwest and Canada might prove daunting to some.

Not so for Philip, who relished the challenges.

“He was a true nature enthusiast, and loved getting outdoors — winter or summer. In winter it was snowboarding. He had a very diverse set of interests,” Art added.

Philip Patnaude, 28, a resident of Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood and a native of Downers Grove, died Saturday morning in Chicago. His body was found in Belmont Harbor on Monday morning, two days after he disappeared following an evening of socializing with friends. Details as to how Patnaude got into Lake Michigan’s frigid waters remain.

A 2002 graduate of Downers Grove North High School who went on to earn an engineering degree from University of Illinois, Philip was known for his ready smile and an inclination for games, those close to him recalled.

“Growing up we played a lot of games together, the kind of games that you make up that use sticks, bats, nets, balls, whatever you have available,” said Art, two years Philip’s senior.

Sometimes the games would require establishing rules as the game evolved, but Philip was fair-minded inventor who always made the games competitive and fun, Art said.

“He really was the creative one,” he added. “He had a great mind, and would be the one to set up the rules of how to win or lose.”

Brian Gervase, who coached the sophomore soccer team at Downers Grove North High School on which Philip played, said Philip’s leadership and competitiveness provided a positive example to teammates.

“My recollection of Phil was a soccer player whose heart outshone every other part of his game,” Gervase said. “Not the most talented player, but especially with a group of young players was an outstanding example of a competitive level of play.

“This is really a sad day here at North. Phil was definitely well-liked by the team and no doubt well-respected,” Gervase said.

While attending Downers North, Patnaude was an honor student.

“He excelled academically and took a number of honors courses in math and science,” District 99 spokeswoman Jill Browning said.

Patnaude also was a member of the school’s National Honor Society for two years, and the Foreign Language Honor Society for two years, Browning said. He played soccer and volleyball all four years of high school, and captained the volleyball squad his senior year, according to Browning.

He had the type of personality that drew people to him, and his network of friends was extensive, according to those who knew him.

“He had a wide circle of friends,” Art said. “The amount of contact we have had with people, the support from his network of friends, has really been incredible and has helped us to deal with this.”

One post on a Facebook page established to memorialize Patnaude provided a glimpse of how he impacted those who came in contact with him.

Anthony Staple recalled an instance growing up with Patnaude that spoke volumes of his character.

“My appreciation for Phil’s smile, kind heart and spirit stems back 17 years to when I first moved here in fifth grade,” Staple wrote. “Phil was one of the few who reached out to me as a new member of the social groups and wanted to hang out one on one and be friends... may have only been one moment in life... and I may remember it more than he did.

“But it is a true testament to how much of an impact his genuine soul had through his life, and I am reassured over the last few days that I’m not the only one he impacted.”

Philip’s broad smile was his trademark, friends recalled.

“He always brought a smile to my face when I would run into him from time to time,” Nicholas Golemis wrote.

“He was always incredibly vibrant, and as sincere as a person could be. I’ll always reflect upon the great times we had while caddying,” he added.

Sean Huggins recalled Patnaude’s personal warmth after running into him a few years ago.

“When I ran into Phil outside Wrigley Field in November 2010 it had been four years since I’d seen him last. With his warmth and all around good nature, he made it seem like only weeks had gone by,” Huggins wrote.

Grace Fitzpatrick, who said she worked alongside Patnaude at the engineering firm Sargent & Lundy, characterized Patnaude as funny, hardworking and “very smart.”

“Phil was one of the good ones. It was a pleasure to sit next to him and to work and socialize with him. What a great guy,” Fitzpatrick wrote.

Another Facebook post from Donald O’Brien, who identified himself as Patnaude’s landlord, said Patnaude was more than a tenant.

“The place had a fairly large front garden which meant a lot to me. Phil, without ever asking, took care of that garden as well as I ever could,” O’Brien wrote. “I know it’s a small thing, but it sums up the man in my mind. A class act and a big loss.”

Patnaude lived with his fiancee in the 3200 block of North Ashland Avenue in Chicago.

According to reports, Patnaude was out drinking with friends when, at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning, he left the group to visit the lakefront in Chicago. He was last seen getting into a cab on the north side of Chicago. The reason Patnaude had left the group to head to the lakefront was unclear as of Tuesday.

Two days after he was last seen Chicago Police Department divers found his body at the southwest corner of the harbor, according to John Mirabelli, Chicago Police Department News Affairs Office spokesman.

“Until the medical examiner’s office provide more information into the cause of death, this is a death investigation,” Mirabelli said.

An autopsy on March 6 showed Patnaude died of drowning.

Philip Patnaude is the beloved son of Robert W. and Phyllis M. Patnaude; loving fiancĂ© of Selena Nanthavong; cherished brother of Arthur and Colette Patnaude; dear grandson of Edmond and the late Peggy Patnaude, Wilma and the late Arthur McKown; fond nephew, cousin and friend of many.

A service was held for Patnaude at Christ Church of Oak Brook on March 9.

A scholarship has been set up in Patnaude's name at Chase Bank. Donations may be sent to: The Philip W. Patnaude Scholarship Fund, c/o Chase Bank, 1200 Ogden Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60515.

Case Details

Name/age: Philip W. Patnaude, 28
Hometown: Downers Grove, IL
Residence: 3200 block of North Ashland, Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago, IL
College: University of Illinois grad
Last Seen: 03/03/12: Chicago, IL
Physical Description: 6'1," 175 pounds, blonde hair
Last Wearing: black ski jacket
Recovered: 03/05/12: Belmont Harbor
Investigating Agency:  Chicago Police


Grigas, Don. (2012, March 09). Downers Grove North grad Philip Patnaude laid to rest Friday. GateHouse News Service. Retrieved April 26, 2012 from http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/downersgrove/newsnow/x587876716/A-lot-done-in-a-short-time-Downers-Grove-native-Philip-Patnaude-remembered

Knowles, Jason. (2012, March 05). Crews search Belmont Harbor for missing man. WLS-TV/DT. Retrieved April 26, 2012 from http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=8568737

Legacy.com. (2012, March 07). Obituary for Philip W. Patnaude. Retrieved April 26, 2012 from

Sobol, Rosemary and Meyer, Erin (2012, March 05). Body pulled from Belmont Harbor identified as missing man. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 26, 2012 from

Sun-Times Media Wire. (2012, March 05). Police: Body Recovered Near Belmont Harbor Idenified as Missing Man. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved April 26, 2012 from: http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/news/metro/philip-patnaude-friends-fear-man-drowned-in-lake-after-jacket-pulled-from-belmont-harbor-20120305

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