Mariposa County lost another authentic cowboy when Patrick B. Sanchez rode off to his last sunset in Merced, Calif., on Oct. 6, 2021, at the age of 84.
We like to think that he was met at the gate to Heaven by his beloved wife, Jamie Marie Curtis Sanchez. They were Mariposa High School sweethearts who were married on Aug. 23, 1958, in the Mariposa Methodist
Church 59 years before her passing in 2017.
Pat’s family witnessed true love as he devoted himself to Jamie’s daily care when her health declined the last few years of her life. He received the same level of care from his children as his life ebbed. We all learned to value family from Pat.
Pat was born on Sept. 14, 1937, in the old Mercy Hospital in Merced because Mariposa did not yet have a hospital. His parents (Narcisco and Mary) were the second generation to spend life in “Sanchezville,” which was a small group of families to settle just outside of Hornitos. His grandparents (Francisco and Dolores) hung an ornate wrought iron sign over the entrance gate giving it that name for many years. Pat’s sister, Ester, remembers lovingly how Pat would braid her long, unruly hair every morning before going to Hornitos School because their mom was tending to younger children. Perhaps that is where Pat developed the rare precious qualities of care taking his loved ones.
Leading pack mule trains in the high country of Yosemite National Park and environs was the beginning of a lifelong love of animals, cowboy adventures, ranching and welding. The outfit Pat worked for supplied the fire lookout towers during fire season and it was during this time that he acquired a love of cooking. No one could make biscuits and sausage gravy like Pat! His culinary skills have been honed by every one of his four children and grandchildren. Pat and Jamie created an inclusive home by bringing people inside and outside the family into their lives. Many young people found Pat to be a fatherly role model. With Pat, respect was earned through hard work. You never wanted him to reference you as that “lazy SOB!”
Horace Meyers Cattle Co. (5L brand) was Pat’s employer for many years. At round-up/branding time, being the lone non-relative in the crew, Pat was tasked with working the tail end of the squeeze chute, where the young male calves quickly become steers. Afterwards, Pat would bring the testicles home in a bucket and Jamie would cook “Mountain Oysters” for dinner.
It was during these years that Pat would join the cattle drives taking the cattle to the high country for the summer and back down to lower pastures to graze for the winter. Jamie was often the crew cook for these adventures. Delicious and exotic food was a big part of the Sanchez/Curtis/Schutt lineage gatherings. Many times the main course could be frog legs, fresh liver, wild boar gravy (Pat’s specialty) or wild pheasant/ duck/dove with rice.
Pat is survived by his siblings, Ester Janzen, Betty Oblender, Lee and Tony Sanchez; his children, Tom ( Jean) of Chowchilla, Donald of Le Grand, Delaine of Merced and Tanya Cabral of Puyallup, Wash.; seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren who were able to know and appreciate the rare precious qualities that he exemplified.
Pat was preceded in death by his wife, parents (Narcisco and Mary), his wife’s parents (Lyle and Mary Curtis) and two brothers, Narcisco and Henry.
Of interest to some, Pat’s lineage can be traced to 1665 when his relative ( Jacinto Sanchez de Inigo) was born in Sevilla, Spain. In 1695, his family moved to Albuquerque, N.M., where he married Maria Xabalero. The family remained in that area for 150 years before traveling the Old Spanish Trail to California.
That trail is a 1,400-mile journey on foot, horseback or in a wagon. Traveling straight through, it was a 100- day journey. Pat’s grandparents (Francisco Sanchez and Dolores Lugo Rozas) met and were married in the San Juan Bautista Mission church in 1865. Francisco and Dolores moved to Hornitos in the Gold Country around 1878-1880. Historical records show that their first seven children were born in San Juan Bautista and their last two children were born in the Hornitos area.