True son of Montana, brilliant mathematician/linguist and inveterate wanderer, Patrick Shelton Alsup passed away at age 91 on Saturday, April 23 after a series of illnesses.
The son of Cecil and Genevieve (née McCabe) Alsup, Patrick was born in Conrad Montana, the eldest of five siblings - including John Michael (d.) Stephen Alex (d.), Elizabeth Ann, Mary Jane - he spent his formative years in Shelby, graduating from Shelby High School. He attended Northwestern University in Chicago, where he met and married Juliet Buckley with whom he had eight children. He enlisted and served four years in the US Air Force as a Russian translator in Germany and Turkey during the Korean War. He earned a Bachelor’s in Biochemistry from Montana State University, and later pursued advanced degrees in Mathematics.
A Jack-of-All-Trades, Pat played banjo and guitar and sang in coffee shops, drove test cars for Corvette, worked at MD Anderson on RNA x-ray crystallography, owned a professional photography studio, taught math and science at an alternative school in Houston, and translated technical texts into Russian. He was politically active - involved in anti-war movements, and he passed that interest on to all of his children. More than anything, he loved to travel, spending most of his later years living and traversing the southern and western US in a cantankerous RV.
Most of all, Pat enjoyed thinking deeply and discussing mathematics, physics, and the nuances of different languages and faiths, practicing Ramadan fasting alongside Baptist Bible discussions while keeping Catholicism near at hand. He was as fond of quoting poetry as he was of building elaborate models of mathematical concepts. He enjoyed regaling his children and friends with stories about of fast and risky driving - off a cliff in Glacier NP, across hurricane flood waters, under logging trucks - hauling pipeline materials for his dad, hiking the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and plenty of wild tales from living on the edge.
Patrick leaves behind his children, Shelton W Alsup, Katherine A Fernandez and spouse Louis, Patrick J Alsup and spouse Theresa, Elizabeth C Plake and spouse Jim, John L Alsup, Margaret M Steinhilber and spouse Carl, Mary G Rehmann and spouse Dan, Damon L.S. (Joe) Alsup; he is preceded in death by daughter Lisa Van Pelt. His children remember boisterously dancing in the living room to his guitar and banjo, trips to the beach, stargazing, and long road trips to Yellowstone NP, the Louisiana bayou, and other far-flung places. Pat’s love of learning lives on in his fourteen grandchildren: Jason, James, Michael, Christopher, Laura, Sarah, John, Clara, Anna, Julia, Adam, Andrew, Emily, and Elena, and ten great-grandchildren: Jason Connor, Artemis, Chase, Cassin, Charlotte, Ryleigh, Rowan, Alexander, Juliet, and Alice. He will also be missed by his sisters Elizabeth Pearce and Mary Jane Moog - who provided much care to him in his final years, their children, grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
A burial service will be held on Friday, April 28th at 2:00 at the Veterans section at Mountain View Cemetery in Shelby.