Legacy Inductee (1920-2020) MCHF District 10
Hollister Pat McVay was born March 14, 1920, in Tonkawa, Oklahoma to a farming family. His family returned to his mother’s home state of Montana when he was two years old. The McVay family moved to the state of Washington during the Great Depression. His father passed away in 1933, leaving behind Pat, three siblings, and their mother. He called these “hard times” and moved out of the house when he was 16 to find work. Pat finished high school and worked at a lumber mill along with other odd jobs. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force and served from 1942-46 as a machinist in the Pacific Theater. When the war ended, he returned to Washington and found work at the Grand Coulee Dam with the Bureau of Reclamation. In 1952, when the Hungry Horse Dam in Flathead County was constructed, he transferred there and never left the Flathead Valley. He continued to work on the dam as a powerhouse shift operator and supervisor, retiring in 1975. The family lived in Hungry Horse for five years, moved to Coram for another five years, and then moved to his 40-acre farm in the Lake Blaine area. He died peacefully at his home May 18, 2020 at the age of 100.
On paper, Pat’s life wasn’t much different than other men of his generation and era. As his family settled into Coram and Lake Blaine, he became involved with local organizations, including the Cayuse Prairie school board. He was president of the Rocky Mountain Riders Saddle Club, held offices in the Montana Saddle Club Association, and on the Flathead Employees Credit Union board of directors. Because of his activities, Pat was referred to as a legend, a visionary, and a pioneer; however, the word that best describes Pat McVay is “volunteer.” He became involved with the hunting, shooting, and outdoors community. In addition to spearheading the state’s hunter education program and teaching it for six decades, he hunted for more than nine decades, beginning when he was six years old. He logged thousands of miles in the Bob Marshall Wilderness and never tired of the mountains. He was inducted into the FWP’s Montana Hunter Education Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame in 2016. He was the first inductee into the 4-H Shooting Hall of Fame in 2017. In fact, this award is named the “Pat McVay Award.”
McVay accomplished many things, but his greatest achievements were those done in the spirit of contribution. He dedicated his life to serve others.
“Working with the kids has been the most rewarding thing,” McVay said. “I get the feeling that you never wasted a minute you spent with a kid.”