Patrick J. Berarducci 1950-2021

MEDINA — Patrick J. Berarducci, 70, a former supervisory special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and police chief in both Boardman and Medina, passed away Friday, Jan. 30, 2021, in Medina.

He was born Oct. 2, 1950, in Youngstown, to the late Raymond and Ann Vuletich Berarducci.

Patrick, known by most as “Bear” or “Chief,” lived an inspiring life guided by the principle of “Do the Right Thing” and characterized by his dedication to family and helping others, an immeasurable joy for life, and incredible sense of humanity, passion and dedication in all he pursued.

Bear was bold and never took “no” for an answer, whether on his own behalf or someone else’s, and never met a process or set of obstacles he was not willing to circumvent or change in the course of a worthy pursuit. When bureaucracy stood in the way of him getting hired by ATF, the then-young officer called the White House directly and asked for the president and petitioned his senator to intervene. He was hired.

On his first date with Judith Barrett, he proclaimed they would marry. She threw up many obstacles over the next five years, including dating others and giving Bear many “friends” talks, but Bear married Judy on Jan. 24, 1976.

With Judy, Bear always put family first. His goal was to give their kids more opportunities in life than he had available. He succeeded. Nobody in Bear’s family had graduated college until he did. With his steadfast support and encouragement, Bear’s children achieved advanced professional degrees. His first son, Patrick B., received a law degree, clerked for a top federal appellate court judge (Hon. Alice M. Batchelder) and made what Bear described as the “Super Bowl” of his then-profession by working at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. Bear’s daughter, Megan, received two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree to become an acute care nurse practitioner, and made what Bear considered the “Super Bowl” of her profession by working at the top medical institutions in the region, The Cleveland Clinic and University Hospital (UH).

When Bear’s second son, Justin (Megan’s twin brother), was born with severe brain damage, Bear navigated a hardship that breaks many families apart by doubling down on his family. He bypassed career promotions to remain close to Justin, who received incredible care and support at Hattie Larlham in Streetsboro. The experience reinforced for Bear a lesson he passed on to his children — that you are only as strong as your “weakest link.” This outlook drove Bear to always try to help others, with one extended family member explaining that “Bear never looked down his nose at anyone unless it was to help them up.”

With their opportunities, both children chose to carry on their Dad’s mission of helping others: Patrick, now Global FinTech co-head at ConsenSys, uses blockchain and “crypto” technology to build a more free, fair and accessible financial system that he hopes will work for everyone, everywhere; and Megan, now a nurse practitioner at UH in the Neurology Intensive Care Unit, treats and helps patients in their most vulnerable and critical times.

Bear also somehow managed to turn his family into a source of strength for work. He had an intense sense of humanity that drove him to go above and beyond in helping the many victims he encountered in decades of law enforcement. But that humanity also meant he felt much more deeply and personally their heartache, especially, for example, the victims of Hurricane Katrina and the Oklahoma City bombing. Bear let his family and the power of prayer give him the strength to always find himself and his way home.

Bear ultimately responded to most of the national tragedies of the 1980s, ’90s and early 2000s, and continually found the strength to always think outside the box and doggedly pursue what he believed was right, even when it was not easy. Early in his career, for example, this meant making cases that others could not and fighting off an armed attacker to save a Cleveland police officer’s life. Later in his career, it meant saving the police department $2 million in annual operating expenses, growing officer education and training, and even being the first responder on scene to save a Medina man in cardiac arrest, even when Bear’s own strength was beginning to waver.

This all led to many professional honors, including the United States Treasury Department’s Medal of Valor for heroism and bravery, the Albert Gallatin Award for a career of unblemished faithful service to the United States Treasury Department, and the William French Smith Award from the United States Attorney General for his role in cooperative law enforcement. He also was a six-time recipient of the department’s Special Achievement Award and a five-time recipient of the department’s Special Act of Service Award. He also was invited to and testify to the United States Senate about “Encouraging Innovative and Cost-Effective Crime Reduction Strategies.”

Throughout it all, Bear had a great joy of life. He was known for hamming it up with his friends and his kids and their friends. He told many tall tales, including that he played professional football with both Jim Brown and Joe Montana (at the same time, on the same team) until that fantastical career was cut short by a stubbed toe, at which time he began mentoring Michael Jordan, telling him to “shave the hair.”

Bear had an amazing ability to bring people together. When he started his own exercise program, he turned it into a national competition with colleagues. When he became a police chief, he created a Chaplains Corps, representing all major religions in the community to provide support for victims. When Bear was a glutton for punishment, he created a fantasy football league and drafted lots of Browns players (a strategy that, until this year, led to more heartache than anything).

Bear is survived by his beloved wife of 45 years, Judith Barrett Berarducci; loving children, Patrick B. (Jessica Van Epp) Berarducci and Megan (Jim Ingersoll) Berarducci; grandchildren, Wesley, Ryleigh and Brody; brother, Robert (Michelle) Berarducci; nephew, Robert; and niece, Chloe.

Patrick was preceded in death by his son, Justin, and his brother, Raymond.

Bear’s family hopes that, even amidst the current conditions, Bear can bring people together at least one more time. On Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021, the family will hold a private viewing and private funeral service at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, with interment in Spring Grove Cemetery. The family will provide a livestream of the service at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, to those who wish to but cannot attend. Please log in to https://www.waitefuneralhome.com/obituary/patrick-berarducci and use the link imbedded into the top of Patrick’s obituary to view it.

Bear and his family extend a special thank you to everyone at The Echelon in Medina, who provided Bear a warm home and much love for several years, and whose compassion will always be appreciated and never forgotten.

Online condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.waitefuneralhome.com.

(special notice)