Patrick Archbald, Former Faculty

Patrick W. ArchibaldPatrick Wodrow Archbald passed away Friday, March 6, 2015, at the age of 80.

He was born in Pottsville, PA, on March 17, 1934, to parents Wodrow and Jane (Suender) Archbald. Pat attended local schools and The Gunnery in Connecticut before graduating Cum Laude from Yale University in 1956 with a BS in Civil Engineering. While at Yale, he was a member of the Crew Team. He married Ellen Morrison of Pottsville in that year, and began work as a civil engineer for Bechtel Corporation in California.

After several years, and two relocations, Pat and his growing family moved back east where he began a 30-year career at Williston Academy in Easthampton, MA. While at Williston, Pat taught chemistry and physics, and over the years held positions as head of the science department, varsity lacrosse coach of both the men’s and women’s teams, and supervisor of Williston’s summer school, among other duties. Pat retired in 1991, and moved to Damariscotta, ME. He spent the last three and a half years of his life happily at Loomis House in Holyoke, MA.

Pat is predeceased by his first wife, Ellen. He is survived by his sisters Ann and Sara, and brother Tom, by his sons Kevin, Michael ’76, Robert, and Patrick ’79, daughter Nancy ’81, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his second wife, Judy, and step-children Kim ’79 and Todd Potasky ’81 and Shannon Shaw ’84, and by his long-time companion, Mary Hart.

Pat was a member of the Pascommuck Club in Easthampton and, over the years, was a communicant and Lector at Immaculate Conception Church in Easthampton, a member of the Jaycee Club, and an avid fan of the Red Sox and Patriots. He also greatly enjoyed motorcycling, particularly touring with Judy. After retirement he traveled extensively with Mary both in the US and abroad.

Anyone wishing to remember Pat may do so through a charitable contribution in his name to Williston Northampton School, Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association, Skidompha Library or Miles Memorial Hospital League, both in Damariscotta, ME.

21 thoughts on “Patrick Archbald, Former Faculty”

  1. Two fond memories of Mr. Archbald’s chemistry class c. 1973: He’d start most first period classes by putting a pot of coffee on the bunson burner, and his hilarious demonstration of a dust explosion knocking a startled classmate off his lab stool.

  2. I am very sorry to hear about the loss of Professor Pat Archibald. He was a tremendous influence on the students he taught and who were mentored by him. I am sure that his loss will be affected acutely by his family but in their grief they should know that Pat Archibald’s influence and legacy will last long into the future.

  3. One of my most abiding memories of Williston was of Mr. Archbald bringing up a 12″ B&W TV to the Physics lab so that we could watch the JFK memorials, parades and interment. I am forever grateful for this.

  4. RIP Mr. Archibald. Will never forget the explosion (and little fire that followed) in chemistry class on Parent’s Weekend 1988.

  5. So sad to hear about the loss if Mr Archibald. I have vivid and fond memories of his chemistry class back in the 70s. His patience was particularly memorable as chemistry was not my strength but he made it interesting and enjoyable.

  6. I had Archie for honors chemistry my junior year (1985-1986). While a good student generally, I was an AWFUL chemistry student! My classmates, all a year younger than me, were brilliant. Archie would fill the boards with multitudinous, clever ways to solve a single equation. I was lost after the first two while my classmates remained in rapt attention. It was only through good tutoring from several classmates and Archie’s patience and kind final grades that I got through. I am sorry to hear of his passing but also pleased to learn that he spent so many years in Damariscotta, ME. My family had a home in Waldoboro for many years which is very close to Damariscotta and a favorite place in my memories. I wish his family prayers of peace.

  7. Pat was my advisor for the three years that I went to Williston. He always told it like it was, and was going to be. I always respected his opinions, and I appreciated his advice. Pat was always there for me whenever I needed him, and he never bothered me when I did not. A good man and a good mentor.

  8. I am very saddened to hear about the passing of Patrick Archbald, or “Arch” as some of his students call him. He was my sophomore year Chemistry teacher and my junior year AP Physics teacher.

    His classes are what inspired me to become involved with science. I will never forget him. He used to take me aside after class and perform off-curriculum experiments, such as exploding small balls of hydrogen and observing the resulting water from the reaction.

    He was the first person to encourage me to study science as a profession. I am forever indebted to him.

  9. Sorry to hear the news. He was very good to me when I was playing Varsity Squash. I wasn’t much of a football kid, and he knew that, but always took an interest in me. That’s big stuff and speaks volumes about this sense of goodness and generosity.

  10. Arch was my coach for JV Lacrosse for my sophomore and junior years. Great, old-school guy. He was very funny, too.

  11. I remember his willingness to help me when I was studying chemistry at Mount Holyoke. I would travel back over the mountain and ask him to explain concepts I was struggling with. He helped me stick with my desire to study science.

  12. I attended Mr. Archbald’s chemistry class as a PG day student in ’80-81. I remember “Arch” as a steady, calming presence in class and gifted teacher – able to communicate complex subjects in understandable terms. He always had a smile, a twinkle in his eye, and (for some reason I can’t explain) gave you the feeling he knew something you didn’t. I think he did. You’ll be missed Mr. Archbald.

  13. Mr. Archibald had a policy that if you attended all of his Saturday morning special help sessions that you would pass Chemistry. If not for that policy I might still be sitting in a classroom trying to make it out of Williston. I also remember his explosion with dust, I had the first class of the day with him and sat in the front row, I woke up quick that day. Finally, Arch was my first lacrosse coach and instilled in me a lifelong love of the game. I passed my love of lacrosse to both of my children who played lacrosse through college and were co-captains of their college teams. I cannot think of a better legacy than to touch so many lives in a positive way. RIP Arch.

  14. RIP Arch…I’ll never forget the way you almost set my hair on fire when I fell asleep in chemistry class, and you decided the best way to wake me up was to turn on the gas at my lab desk and LIGHT IT UP. Scared the bejeezus out of me, but it worked! I never fell asleep in class again!

    In all seriousness, you were a great teacher, patience of a saint with me, willing to go over and over (and OVER) moles until I “got” it and I will never forget you.

  15. I will always remember Arch’s no flinch drill where he circled 4 or 5 JV football players around him and he would bounce the football off our helmets yelling don’t flinch – don’t blink.

  16. My thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Archbald’s family. I was a classmate of Michael and I always greatly respected his father, who was always busy and hustling from one commitment to another on campus. Rest in peace, Mr. Archbald.

  17. I just want to thank everyone for the kind words, and great memories you shared with him, we will miss him dearly. RIP Dad..Love you always, Nancy

  18. A great teacher….friend and Dad of my classmate and friens, Mike. He left his mark on many of us Willies, my memories of my years at WNS (74 -76) was a grand one and Mr. Archbald was a part of it. My heartfelt condolences to his family. May he rest in peace!

  19. Rest in Peace, Arch, and thank you for the many years of hard work, dedication, an ear when needed and being an all around cool person <3

  20. Mr. Pat Archbald was my first chemistry teacher. Little could I realize how his class would affect my life in future years. He was an instructor who inspired his students to excell, opening vistas to the world of science hitherto unknown. Although a civil engineer, his grasp of chemistry was impressive and I’m sure his engineering background constantly drove him to give us practical examples. I still retain the text book from that period, with notes in the margins per Mr. Archbald’s lectures. The fuller notes have long ago been sent to Rick Teller and the Williston archives. On the personal side, I remember asking him about the making of gunpowder. It was a likely question for a kid my age, perfectly juvenile. Rather than making me feel trite for the question, he used the opportunity to explain the properties of the constituents, and how substitutions were possible based on the sharing of properties within the group and periodicity of the elements. He couldn’t know that the knowledge would produce a mad bomber or a Nobel scientist, but the investment was sound, as I went on the earn a degree in chemistry, working for the Florida Dept. of Agriculture. I have Mr. Archbald to thank for my interest in the sciences.

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