Patrick Michael Wiglesworth Jr.

[ Age 42 ] The gregarious bartender was the beneficiary of a cancer fundraiser that attracted thousands of well-wishers.

May 30, 2007|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN REPORTER

Patrick Michael "Wigs" Wiglesworth Jr., a well-known Baltimore County bartender for whom friends organized a medical-expense fundraiser last year after he developed cancer, died of the disease Saturday at Union Memorial Hospital. The Hampden resident was 42.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Rodgers Forge and Guilford, he was a 1982 graduate of Loyola High School, where he played soccer. He attended what is now Towson University.

As a young man, Mr. Wiglesworth worked at Harbor Island Marina in Ocean City and then tended bar at the Fox Ridge in the Loch Raven area. He also worked at Phoenix Grille in Jacksonville.

"He was a gregarious man who was known in every bar along York Road from Jerry's Belvedere Tavern north," said George McCaffray, a caterer and lifelong friend.

Mr. Wiglesworth joined the staff of a new bar, An Poitin Stil, an Irish pub that opened in late 1999 in Timonium.

"He became a fixture behind the bar," said Jack Mitchell, another friend. "He would offer his hand to you and make you feel welcome when you sat down."

After Mr. Wiglesworth's esophageal cancer was diagnosed, his family and friends organized a fundraiser last May that they called the Wigs Wham. An estimated 2,000 people attended the event at the Timonium Fairgrounds.

Family members said Mr. Wiglesworth adapted the phrase "still strong" from cyclist Lance Armstrong's "live strong" campaign. Mr. Wiglesworth's friends expressed their solidarity by wearing hunter-green bracelets.

"He had an amazing way to make anyone feel great about themselves within the first moment he met them," said Lance Baldwin, a fellow bartender.

Mr. Wiglesworth underwent surgery and other treatments and appeared at area cancer charity events, including the Susan G. Komen race.

"He never surrendered," said Dr. Stanley Walker, his physician. "He was very positive and was always a super nice guy."

His sister, Kelly Wiglesworth Streib, said at his death he was planning to open his own business, the Still Strong Tavern in Baltimore County. "It was a suitable name, because he remained so strong."

His family has established Wigs Wham Charitable Cancer Foundation to assist local cancer patients.

Mr. Wiglesworth played golf on Tuesdays - traditionally a slow day in the hospitality industry. He also followed thoroughbred racing, and attended this year's Preakness Stakes in a wheelchair.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at noon Friday at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5200 N. Charles St.

In addition to his sister, survivors include his life partner of 11 years, Shannon Maddox; his mother, Mikie Neubert Ellwood of Selbyville, Del.; his father and stepmother, Patrick M. and Mary Webster Wiglesworth Sr. of Rodgers Forge; his maternal grandmother, Kathleen Neubert of Baltimore; a brother, Kevin Lee Wiglesworth of Germantown; and a niece and two nephews.

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