Age 69, of Ocoee, was holding a handful of tools working on a bicycle when he passed away at home on May 31, 2022, with his mother and sister close by.
Walter was the ultimate storyteller. He loved to travel and was always ready for adventure. If a friend was going somewhere, he said, “Come get me” and they were off. Pat traveled the world, often with his high-wheel bicycle. In 1984, he and several of his friends rode their high-wheel bicycles from San Francisco to Boston in 69 days to commemorate the United States portion of Thomas Stevens’ ride around the world in 1884. He rode every single mile of that trip, including several century days (100 miles). Over the years, he took his Mom to ?oat down the Rhine where they visited Switzerland, Amsterdam, and several small towns along the way, and especially enjoyed visiting Mackinac Island, Michigan, Hershey, Pennsylvania, and Copake, New York.
Walter never missed a launch. He saw every shuttle and Space X launch and loved feeling the roar and vibrations. As a great communicator, Pat posted launch times on Facebook so we could all participate. He posted about drag racing, motorcycles, beautiful women, and cute alligators. You never knew what was going to pop up on his Facebook page.
He is survived by his mother, Jean Grafton, his siblings Susan Branche Poteet (Neal), Mary Branche, and Robb Branche (Valerie), his many beloved nephews and nieces, great-nephews and great-nieces, and one great-great-nephew who all would ?nd their front-row seat to hear their Uncle Pat tell of his many adventures. He was preceded in death by his father, Dennis, and his brother, Michael.
Some of Walter’s antique bicycles are currently on display at the Wheels of the Past Museum in Clearlake Oaks, California. Michael and Candi Herman are creating a Thomas Stevens Commemorative Ride memorial featuring Walter’s 1889 Victor high-wheel bicycle and memorabilia from the historic ride.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Unity Orlando, 4801 Clarcona Ocoee Rd, Orlando FL 32810 on Wed, June 15, at 3:00 PM. Please bring your memories and stories to share, and join us for refreshments in Meyer Hall following the service. Walter’s service will be live-streamed on his Facebook page.