Patrick S. Wolfe, Author/Historian
PATRICK SHANE WOLFE completed the Honours History Program at the University of Victoria, in Victoria, British Columbia, graduating with first-class honours in 1973. He completed an M.A. in History at York University in Toronto in 1974. He went on to teach university-transfer history classes on a part-time basis at two Vancouver Island colleges: Malaspina College in Nanaimo in 1974 and North Island College in Campbell River and Port Alberni in 1977.
Historian was his first choice when profiling three different career options for a Guidance class assignment in Grade 9. His first publications were in the University of Victoria’s Historical Association Journal (Vol. 1, No.1) in April 1973, which was the only time it ever appeared! More durable outlets published his work in the following years. “The Revealing Fiction of Henry Adams” and “Tramp Printer Extraordinary: British Columbia’s John ‘Truth’ Houston” appeared, respectively, in The New England Quarterly in September 1976 and in BC Studies in Winter 1978-1979. In addition to academic articles, Patrick wrote popular history essays for Ontario Report (July 1978), The Chelsea Journal (Jan.-Feb 1979), and Canada West (1981). He also tried his hand at fiction, publishing a few short stories, including one in Grain in February 1976.
In the spring of 1977, Patrick joined the British Columbia Public Service, where he was a program manager for most of his thirty-three year career. In 2003 and 2004, he led the design and development of the Premier’s Innovation and Excellence Awards Program for the public service, and was the team leader for the annual delivery of the program for its first five and a half years, through January 2010. He also designed/redesigned and delivered several other employee involvement, continuous improvement, and staff recognition programs for the public service, starting in 1983 and most intensively in the mid and late 1990s, e.g. employee suggestion programs, staff appreciation award programs, long service award programs, and system-wide, nomination-driven, annual award programs such as the Public Service Awards in 2000 and 2001. A number of these programs received national and international attention and awards. Between 1994 and 2001, Patrick published almost a dozen essays on employee involvement and recognition and related subjects in Canadian and U.S. magazines and journals. The most notable of these was “Using Recognition to Spark Renewal and Innovation,” which appeared in 2001 in Public Sector Management, produced by the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (a.k.a. IPAC). In 2008, Patrick received the B.C. Public Service Agency, Deputy Minister’s Legacy Award.
Since retiring from the B.C. Public Service, Patrick has been finalizing a biography of his friend Jan Petersen (centred on Jan’s life in the Netherlands during the Second World War), which he’s been working on in fits and starts since 1976. He’s also completed a family history and memoir, as well as numerous smaller projects. His brief memoir, “The Barber’s Legacy,” was broadcast on August 9, 2015, by CBC Radio One’s The Sunday Edition and by SiriusXM in the United States. A short piece on his paternal grandfather, Sam, “Patent medicine man,” appeared in the October-November 2017 issue of Canada’s History.
Patrick was married to Colleen for twenty-four years. Although separated since 2000, they remain good friends. They have three grown children, James, Katelin, and David, and three grandchildren.