By KEVIN CHIRI
Slidell news bureau
SLIDELL – Ask the four daughters of Pat Miramon about their fond memories of “daddy,” and the theme is the same.
“I remember his goofiness,” Denise Miramon said. “We would go to fancy places and the girls would be getting dressed and daddy would say ‘ya’ll are SUCH good looking girls.’ He was so playful, no matter what.”
Even in his final days, Debbie McMath said “I’ll miss his great sense of humor. Even when he was dying he never complained and was still joking.”
Dolly Miramon added, “I most remember his sense of humor. So many great memories of great trips with him. He was so much fun.”
And Donna Campbell said “he was such a rascal and so proud of his girls. He loved us to take him by the arm and act like he was with a younger girl.”
Miramon was certainly known in Slidell as the greatest developer and homebuilder in the history of the city. He developed over 10,000 lots, built over 5,000 homes and led the way for parish inspections, as well as the start of building codes.
But he was also known as a great philanthropist who gave over $1 million in land and money to build local Catholic Church buildings, donated thousands of dollars to non-profits and charity groups, and was a supporter of untold individuals who needed a helping hand. Miramon did it all with little fanfare, expressly shunning attention of credit for his giving ways.
Donna, a committed member of the Catholic Church along with her mother Gloria who attends mass at St. Luke every morning, said it was that side to her father that few in the public knew about and it was something she recognized as something greater in her father.
“I don’t think Daddy knew how much God was really using him,” she said. “But I could see that God did use him in such a powerful way to help people.
“Daddy may have liked to have a lot of fun, but I think he truly lived the example of the Christian life God would have us live,” she said. “That’s what I most admired about him.”
Miramon certainly was known by family and friends as someone who lived life to the fullest, as was stated during his funeral Mass on Monday. It was well known that he loved parties on his yachts, loved going to Colorado to ski, took numerous trips to Las Vegas for the party life and more.
Denise said that in her father’s final hours at home he called each daughter into his home individually to talk to them. She said the first thing and the last thing he told them was, “we sure had fun, didn’t we?”
In the past year-and-a-half as health problems became more of a burden to Miramon, suffering with heart problems and living in pain, Denise said she gained a greater appreciation for her parents, who were married over 65 years.
“I have been blown away by the strength of my parents, especially in the past year when I kept learning from them about how to live,” she said.
Denise said that even in the past few weeks, with her father suffering with a lot of pain, “he took the time to constantly show his gratitude to us all for taking care of him, and even to the nurses, the sitters and priest for visiting. In his worst pain he was still thinking of others.
“And through it all, he was joking until the end,” she added.
Debbie said the trips for the family to the boat, particularly in past years when the Broadwater Beach Hotel near Biloxi was the popular place to be, Miramon had “the second boat slip there.
“We had so many boating trips with Daddy and he was always fun to be with,” she said.
Dolly agreed, noting “we had so many great memories, especially on the boat, going to ski in Colorado—he was always about having fun.”
She added that “even in all my dad did for the community he was never a bragger. He was so down to earth. If you met him on the street you would never know how successful he was.”
Donna said that her father was “so proud of his girls. He loved to call me ‘Donna Marie’ and I loved that he did that.”
But true to the worker he was, she said her father was protecting his girls as they became teens and got ready for their own adult life.
“He made sure we girls knew how to work. We had to do a lot of chores at the house and we had to clean the mildew off the boats and that was a hard job. But he wanted us to understand you had to work hard in this life.”
She said that her father had a rule that none of the girls could get a driver’s license “until we proved to him we could completely change a tire by ourselves.”
Donna also remembers a line all the girls heard from their dad.
“If we didn’t do something right he would tell us, ‘girls, remember to think. Use your head.’ He showed us all how to operate the boat safely before we could go out on it,” she added. “We know he loved his girls very much.”
Miramon fought his final days so much that one daughter said “I had to cancel four vacations to come home since we didn’t think he would make it. But he would just bounce back and go have more fun until the next time.”