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PASSAGES Art teacher/advocate Patrick Rand dies
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

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Patrick Charles Rand Jr., 54, died Dec. 25. The cause of death is unknown.

At the time of his death, Rand was an art teacher at Tilden High School. He previously taught art in Chicago at Pickard Elementary School, Agassiz for Performing Arts Magnet Cluster School, William F. Finkl Academy, John Smith Elementary, Willa Cather and Leif Ericson Schools and in Richmond, Virginia at George Mason and Swansboro Elementary Schools.

While at Pickard, Rand focused on cultural practice sharing and art techniques/history. He wrote and secured multiple grants from a variety of entities to expand the art resources at the school and collaborated with other teachers to enrich student learning.

Rand also took every K-8 student on fully grant funded annual field trips to museums, musical concerts ( including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra ) and theater performances ( including the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago ) with the goal of exposing them to a wide variety of artistic disciplines. He also brought Yo-Yo Ma to Pickard for a performance and organized and led the annual talent show there.

In addition to these endeavors, Rand implemented a partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository ( GCFD ) and oversaw the in-school Kids Healthy Market that provided free fresh food and staples twice a month to needy families. Rand was also recruited by the GCFD to train people at the National Conference on Hunger. He was featured on GCFD's Meet the Advocates video series

He also established a partnership with Impact in the Northern suburbs to provide Christmas gifts for K-5 students.

Rand was born Aug. 1, 1963 in Richmond, Virginia, and spent his childhood there. He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a bachelor of fine arts degree with a focus on studio art and sculpture, and an art education certificate. He moved to Chicago in 1995 after a vacation to the city to see his friend.

While teaching at Pickard, Rand got his masters degree in curriculum and instructional leadership as well as a Type 75 administrators certificate from National-Louis University.

Rand is survived by partner Jose Avila; their dog; Heath; mother Marge Rand; sisters, Missy Rand ( Wayne Conners ), Dee Dee ( Lake ) Critzer, Melanie Rand ( Bantz Wyant ) and Lori ( Mike ) Kennedy; his nieces and nephews Patrick ( Rachel ) Rand and their son Riley, Ashlie ( Tyler ) Buell and their daughter Leah, Brian Horning, Kate Horning, David Horning, Morgan Barker and Haley Barker as well as countless friends. He was preceded in death by his father, Patrick C. Rand Sr.

"Patrick believed that folks should never just 'speak their mind' recklessly because he said words mattered and how you use them should not be done thoughtlessly, especially around children," said Avila.

"Patrick was a gifted artist, passionate teacher, voracious reader and avid traveler," said his niece Kate Horning. "He was always happiest when surrounded by friends, particularly at biannual group vacations to Provincetown, Massachusetts. Known as his herd or—thanks to a typo with staying power—his 'birches,' Patrick's friends illuminated his life. Patrick lived with an intentional heart and open mind. But most of all, he was a beautiful soul, generous spirit, gracious host, enthralling storyteller, the life of the party and light of our lives."

"He was such a force of brightness," said longtime friend and fellow teacher Sue Stone. "People only had to meet him once and they instantly felt a connection. Patrick cared so deeply for his family, friends and especially his students. He was more than a teacher, he was an advocate for all the kids. I have been receiving emails from students we taught. They all remember his kind heart and caring spirit. Although his subject area was art, he was about developing the whole child. He taught in underserved neighborhoods and had a keen instinct for what would open doors for these kids. He brought them experiences and helped them dream bigger—beyond what they thought they could be or do.

"If you read the book Wonder, there is a teacher named Mr. Browne. He gives the students a saying to analyze and interpret each month. One of them is 'Your deeds are your monuments.' Patrick embodied this in the truest sense. Personally he was one of the dearest people I have ever met. He was tender, kind and had a razor-sharp wit. He loved big and embraced adventure. I will miss his beautiful spirit every day."

"Patrick was a wonderful human being," said longtime friend Dan Olson. "He was the most thoughtful, kind and warm person I have ever known. Patrick was very passionate about teaching and his students and always went above and beyond for them and others in the community. He loved reading, traveling, cooking and hosting people for dinner. Finally, he adored and loved his and Jose's dog Heath. I will miss him so much."

"Patrick was a kind soul that was thoughtful until the very end when he cooked a meal, entertained and gave gift bags to his friends in his home on Christmas Eve, the night before he died," said friend and Windy City Times contributor Jerry Nunn. "I was honored to have been there and to have known him."

"Patrick was smart and fun," said longtime friend Curt Schade. "He loved travel, art and music and being with his family, friends and students. He was a gracious host and a welcome guest, always laughing, smiling and being the life of every party. His many friends already miss Patrick so much."

A memorial service will be held March 3 in Chicago ( details are forthcoming ). In lieu of flowers, the family asks that people donate to a children's charity or food bank of their choosing.

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