Delray Has Lost a Friend

Pat Archer

Pat Archer

Delray Beach lost a friend today when former City Commissioner and Vice Mayor Patricia Archer passed away this morning after a brief illness.

Pat served on the City Commission from 1999-2006 and I had the privilege to sit next to her on the dais for five of those years. I really believe those years were among the most productive in Delray history and Pat was a solid contributor throughout her tenure and beyond thanks to her work leading our Drug Task Force, serving on the board of Aid to Victims of Domestic Assault and most recently on the county’s Ethics Commission. She was a devoted Rotarian and worked hard on our Sister Cities efforts.

I met Pat prior to her service on the commission when we served on the board of the chamber and went through Leadership Delray together. There were four people in our leadership class who eventually ended up serving on the City Commission.

My fondest memory of Pat was a trip to Tucson, Arizona where we presented some of the things happening in Delray to a national audience of city staffers and elected officials. The presentation wasn’t as memorable as the group experience—dinners, lunches and side trips—that served as a great way for all of us to bond. Those trips made us closer as a team, so did goal setting sessions and lobbying trips to Tallahassee where we split up to cover more ground but found ways to get together for lunch to share notes and progress. We had debates, but they were civil. We might have disagreed a time or two, but if we got out of our meeting early we would all meet for wings and a beer at Bru’s Room. During the holidays, we put on aprons and threw a party for city staff. We were a team and we were working together on behalf of a city we all loved.

They were vastly different times, first of all, we had a budget for these types of things and second the city felt closer knit, like a family really. We were an All America City by that time, but not yet America’s “Most Fun”, we were still “becoming”—working on the downtown, the neighborhoods, Pineapple Grove and our schools. Every year was better than the one that just past. We were a city on the rise, not yet divided into camps and Pat was a teammate you could rely upon to make hard decisions.

She took some gutsy votes during her tenure—supporting downtown projects, moving Atlantic High School—and while some of us didn’t draw opposition it seemed like Pat was always running. She won too, usually by big margins.

Sadly, I lost track of Pat after she was termed out. I didn’t really see her around town; few did because she wasn’t here as much. She had family obligations and issues to deal with. So I was surprised when two years ago she came out of retirement and decided to run again. We met at The Coffee District and I agreed to endorse her. I took some grief for it too. A lot of grief, actually because during her absence the family I referenced earlier was no longer. That made Pat sad. She talked about bringing the notion of “community unity” back. That was a theme coined by the commission’s Pat served on. We meant it too. We had a good talk that day, lots of laughs, lots of memories.

Pat didn’t win in her comeback race. But she did go onto to serve on the Ethics Commission. In fact, she was slated to become chair this year.

Pat Archer called everyone she knew “dear.” I liked that about her.

Even when she would lean over during a heated debate it was always gentle. “Sorry dear, I just don’t see it that way.”

Delray lost a family member today. I will remember her for stepping up for the things she believed in. Rest in Peace, Pat.


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