If you don’t live on the Darling Downs, you just probably know Pat O’Shea as the accurate and entertaining race caller of Toowoomba races each Saturday afternoon.
But Pat, 64, who died on Saturday evening after a short illness, was much bigger than that.
In fact, he was Mr Toowoomba.
At his peak, he was:
·the top breakfast announcer on local radio Monday to Friday
·read the evening sports news on TV (how many times, Pat, after a long lunch?)
·hosted the much-listened to Saturday morning racing preview, which was unique for tipping long-priced winners, thus had a massive following
·called every major sport on local radio as well as the weekly match-of-the-day Rugby League
·was M.C. for the great majority sports luncheon in the region, usually at no cost.
And he was a friend to everyone.
Because he was the best of company, albeit aided by a great bunch of local villains that were his loyal, but very mischievous friends.
Pat’s passion was racing, of which he was involved in every aspect, particular attempting to back and tip a winner.
But he was at his best reminiscing about the sport of kings with an ice-cold in hand, debating the best Cox Plate winners and such.
He rarely missed a Cox Plate, Warrnambool or Flemington spring carnival, usually as the host of tours organised by his great travel agent mate, Graeme Scheu.
Pat relished these trips where he would share his love of the sports with rank and file punters and enthusiasts, many of which formed long friendships with their fearless leader.
And there was no better raconteur than Pat, holding court for hours telling hilarious tales of his life calling and punting, often to his own detriment.
I met Pat in the mid-1970s when he started as back-up caller for Alan Thomas at the new start-up racing station 4KQ.
I had just transferred to Brisbane on the Courier Mail so Pat and I instantly teamed up as the new outsiders in town.
It has been a firm and most rewarding friendship since, crossing paths a minimum three times a year at the ‘Bool, Moonee Valley and Flemington – with never a dull moment.
It was always beer in hand, plenty of bets and a million laughs – without a care of winning or losing on the day because Pat always guaranteed an entertaining day which more often than not, turned to night.
You will be sadly missed, my friend, and I trust Toowoomba gives you a fitting farewell and a tribute for the future so the great name Pat O’Shea lives on.
Pat is survived by his loving wife Cecile, children James, Kate and Karen and three grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements will be posted when available.