November 28, 1945 – July 31, 2022
Patrick Bruce Abernathy, 76, beloved husband, father, brother, uncle, and friend, graduated on July 31, 2022, from his home in Pelican Hills, Green Valley, St. George, Utah, following terminal complications from an anoxic brain injury following respiratory failure in 2020.
Patrick was born November 28, 1945, in Monterey Park, Los Angeles County, California to Walter Wilson “Budge” Abernathy and Betty Geneva Moone, and grew up in the San Gabriel Valley. At age 16, he converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and at age 19 served a full-time volunteer mission for the Church in the Far East Mission of South to the islands of Taiwan and Hong Kong, where he developed a love for the Chinese language, history, culture and people.
After his faithful missionary service, which included responsibilities as assistant to Keith Garner, his mission president, he attended Columbia University in New York and Brigham Young University, campuses in Utah and Hawaii. , where he completed his undergraduate studies in Chinese Language and Literature with a minor in Economics.
He married Joyce Marie Jensen for eternity in the Los Angeles California Temple on November 26, 1969, after which they resided in Taiwan, where he earned a master’s degree in modern Chinese history from National Taiwan University and began to work in the financial industry in California. Subsequently, he was recruited to work for the US government in Washington, D.C. Frequent travel and relocation marked his early career and family life as they welcomed four children into their family. From 1977 to 1992, Hong Kong became their permanent home and the place of many treasured family memories as he transitioned from government work to China expert for several multinational corporations.
Returning to the United States in 1992 to care for his then aging parents, Patrick settled his family in Bloomington, St. George, Utah, where he dutifully and lovingly spent time with and cared for his parents. until their death. He also developed new loves for barbershop music, family history research, and service at the St. George Utah Temple. He enjoyed a great spirit of brotherhood with the Color Country Chorus and various quartets, and he generously gave his time and talents to sing at many community and charitable events. Family history research and temple service were among his highest priorities, and he approached his nearly 10 years of temple service with much study and prayerful preparation to serve honorably in the House of the Lord.
In 2018, Patrick and JJ embarked on a new adventure together as missionaries called to the Utah Headquarters Mission in Salt Lake City, where they served at the famed Family History Library until 2021. He has found great joy in serving the patrons of the Family History Library, and he cherished the fellowship with those with whom he served. He helped many people discover their roots and he also became known as the “Candy Man of Temple Square” for generously sharing his endless supply of salt water taffy.
Patrick possessed a keen intellect and the discipline to master whatever he decided to learn or accomplish. He was widely considered a friend, mentor and role model to many. Among his countless activities and talents, Patrick was known for his diligence, expertise, thoroughness, perfectionism, good humor and good nature. Above all, he valued his family and their deep and lasting testimony of – and sincere devotion – to Jesus the Christ.
Patrick is survived by his wife of 52 years, Joyce Marie Jensen “JJ” Abernathy, of Green Valley; son and daughter-in-law, Matthew and Janella Abernathy of Spanish Fork; son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Monica Abernathy of Austin, Texas; daughter and son-in-law, Holly and Joseph Infanta of Layton, Utah; sister, Karen Berry, of Camarillo, Calif.; half-brother, Donald Walter Abernathy, of Wooster, Ohio; and nieces, nephews and grandchildren: Céline, Chanel, Yale, India, Justin, Joshua, Emmanuelle, Christine, Joseph Israel and Elijah. He was predeceased by his parents, Walter and Betty Abernathy, and his son, Yale Andrus Abernathy.
The family offers their sincere thanks to the following people for the professional, gentle and caring way in which Patrick looked after his last months: nurse Deb and the entire team at Zion’s Way Home Health & Hospice; LuAnn Lundquist and her team at Memory Matters; Dr. Bobby Niemann, neurologist at Vista Healthcare Specialists; and St. George’s Regional Hospital.
In Patrick’s memory, the family invites donations to FamilySearch, a nonprofit family history organization dedicated to connecting families across generations through the preservation and digitization of records and documents. Click here to make contributions online or call 1-800-525-8074.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, August 13 at 1 p.m. at Green Valley Stake Center, 511 South Valley View Drive, St. George, Utah. Visitation will be Friday, August 12, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Metcalf Mortuary, 288 West St. George Blvd., and Saturday, before services, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the stake center. Interment will be in St. George City Cemetery located at 600 East Tabernacle St.
The services will be broadcast live. Visit the Metcalf Mortuary website where the link will be posted at the bottom of Patrick’s obituary.
Arrangements are in the custody of Metcalf Mortuary, (435) 673-4221. Visit the Metcalf Mortuary website for condolences, full obituaries and funeral announcements.