Sunset Surf

Patrick A. Bynoe

June 13, 1951 ~ February 12, 2024 (age 72) 72 Years Old


Patrick Bynoe

Patrick Bynoe was a character. One of our favorite characters. His story seems improbable because his story IS improbable. Born in Dominica to his parents Dora and Eustace Bynoe, he went on not just to see, but to be known and find home in different soils across the world. Patrick loved to tell stories of the magical island that welcomed him into the world. A place where everyone made extra food in case someone stopped by, where fruit and vegetables grew like weeds and it was impossible to go hungry, and where children ran, climbed trees and tormented adults in town. On that island they say a nose that sweats is the sign of a troublemaker. Patrick’s nose sweat profusely. He proudly told us stories of how he refused to obey his teachers, asked too many questions of the priests, parents and elders, and did all sorts of mischievous things he was constantly told not to. When his teachers tried to punish him, he ran to his mom for protection. When his mom or dad came for him, he ran to his grandmother. Always somewhere to run, always loved. During Patrick’s childhood, his father Eustace, a schooner captain, met Robert H.I Goddard, a captain from Rhode Island, and both families formed a friendship that would ultimately transform Patrick’s life. As a teenager, Patrick left Dominica for school and opportunity. He said goodbye to his parents and set off for Rhode Island to live with Robert Goddard and his wife Hope Drury Goddard in their home on Prospect Street in Providence, RI.

The Goddards were a second family who gave him a home, put him through school, and set in motion America becoming the first of many second homes. He kept the memories, moments, and culture of Dominica (and his sweaty nose) as he made his way through school in Rhode Island. From the Gordon School, to Providence Country Day, and eventually to Brown University, Patrick was proudly one of the first and only people of color at each institution. Each year he was generously offered the chance to travel anywhere in the world by the Goddards, but his answer was always the same, “I want to go home.” Patrick always kept Dominica at his core and loved going back home whenever he could to see his family and smell the sweet air of his home island.

As he continued to build a life in Rhode Island, he married his first Wife, Gail Potter. They had two sons, Trevor and Zachary. It was also in Rhode Island a number of years later where he met his second wife, Jaya Sarkar. They would have one son, Aubrey, before he would follow Jaya on her career travels around the world during which his last two sons Wensley and Marvin were born. Doing his best to raise all his sons and in his ever expanding repertoire of lunches and dinners to feed them, his excursions and adventures with them around the world, the impossible strugge of wrangling them all together across borders and many miles, he found his purpose.

A proud stay at home father, he leaves his children as his legacy. Each of them share his same stubborn forehead, open heart, loud voice, and the thousand tiny wisdoms he imparted on them over a lifetime. He buried into the essence of each of them with the spells which always began with, “Let me tell you something...” All his children know that cigarettes kill, education is important, family comes first, and that there is no limit to a heart; that it can love and hold to capacities beyond any measuring or even imagination. Each of them know without a doubt or hesitation that everyone is someone worth knowing, with a story worth hearing. All of them hold the door open, spare a smile & greeting for a stranger, and try their best to find the things they love and connect to in every person and place they come upon.

He also leaves the little legends built in each place his family called home, in each of them he is remembered fondly, just as he is where it all began. During visits to Dominica with us during the summers, people would shout his name as we drove down the street and it felt like everyone on the island would stop us, hand on the shoulder to tell us a story of some adventure with our dad. In India, his wife’s family grew to love him like a son, the only one of all of us who could understand cricket and fought for the fish heads. In Bolivia where two of his sons were born, his smile was well known by the merchants of El Mercado Negro of La Paz and “La Casa de Senor Patrick” was a destination for class cookie making field trips and one that any taxi driver worth his salt knew their way to as well as the airport. In Panama, he finally got his return to the islands. He didn’t have to wait to go home to Dominica to drink from Coconuts picked from the backyard and he lived each day in the open green space he’d missed for so long, waking up before the sun, walking the dogs, and listening to the rainforest wake up. From Panama, he made his way to the big city of New York. In New York, he found a different island, and while he could never make peace with the waves of people passing through Penn Station at rush hour or the obscenity of a skyscraper, he carried his Island and sweaty nose all the same. In typical Patrick fashion, he made friends everywhere he went, from the owner of the laundromat down the block, the physical therapist next door, to the people at the Chinese restaurant and all the groceries stores down the block. Everyone knew and loved him.

Eventually, all his adventures and travels led him back to his first home away from home, a city with which he shared a long and complex history, Providence Rhode Island. Patrick and Providence got to know each other in new ways, like a shirt you haven’t seen in a few years, with some rips, tears, & stains you don’t remember. He loved sitting outside on his front stoop on Sheffield Ave. and talk to any passerby that would listen while he drank his morning chai tea. He also had so much pride in his garden and loved to grow flowers, berries, tomatoes, and green beans that he would often pick with his granddaughters. He got a new dog (which he pretended to hate but loved so very much), ate at his favorite restaurant at least once a week (Apsara on Public St.), revisited old friendships, and as always, told stories of Dominica to anyone that would listen – from strangers at groceries stores, waiters at restaurants, doctors, and anyone else that happened to be standing 2 feet in front of him. Nobody was safe from a prideful Dominica story.

Like all humans, Patrick wasn’t perfect and had many flaws that he was well aware of. He had the patented “Bynoe Stubbornness” and was prone to anger and frustration, hard of hearing when he wanted to be, and always up for a good debate. However, he grew immensely in the time we knew him - softened, hardened, stretched, listened, and aged his way into being a better husband, father, grandfather, and person each day. You couldn’t ask for a better example, no illusion of perfection, not even its pursuit, just a real, honest-to-goodness try at life. And what a life it was – chalk full of love, energy, and a spirit that will rage on in our hearts. Through it all he was the most wonderful ambassador for that land he loved more than anything, that resided in and called to him no matter how far he went. He inhabited its truth so ferociously that you couldn’t help but wonder at the place that raised him. It’s the same reason folks can’t help but stare at all his children, can’t help but ask where we are from, and there are a thousand answers but surely one of them is, from “La casa de Senor Patrick.”

Patrick loved his family more than anything and is survived by his wife (Jaya Sarkar), his seven children, Ella (Dominica), Monty (Birmingham), Trevor (Madison, Wisconsin), Zachary (Massachusetts), Aubrey (Dominica), Wensley (Rhode Island), Marvin (California) and his eight grandchildren.


Celebration of Life
February 24, 2024

12:00 PM
Waterman Grille
2 Richmond Square
Providence, RI 02906


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