Remembering Pat Joyce

Aug 24th, 2014 | By | Category: Joyce Obituaries

By Michael K. McIntyre
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on September 11, 2014 at 3:00 PM, updated September 12, 2014 at 3:19 PM

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Pat Joyce liked hunting and he liked classic cars, but he rarely had any time for that.

He was a small business owner and a tow truck operator. And what he had time for was work.

“Pat always towed. He towed on Christmas Day. He towed 24 hours a day, year round,” said Tim Huston, who drove a wrecker for Joyce’s Euclid towing concern, Professional Automotive Towing, whose capital-letter initials on each truck, cleverly, spelled PAT.

Joyce’s Ford crew cab, slide-back, flat-bed truck — which he parked in his Green Road Driveway in South Euclid to save time on wee-hours calls — had more than a million miles on it. He was the cavalry when cars broke down, ran out of gas or shredded a tire — delivering roadside assistance whenever it was needed.

Huston said his 57-year-old boss joked in his husky baritone voice about dying in his tow truck someday.

That day came on Aug. 24. Out on yet another job – on a Sunday when most people take a break from work – near the intersection of Waterloo Road and E. 161st St. in Cleveland, Joyce had trouble breathing. He stopped the truck and called 911. Help arrived too late. Pat Joyce was gone.

This is not the obituary of a famous man, a noted philanthropist, a renowned scholar. You never ate at his restaurant: He’s not that Pat Joyce.

This is the story of an ordinary Cleveland-area guy, a working man. He had his job and his business: ‘If you don’t go to work, you don’t get paid.’
This is the story of an ordinary Cleveland-area guy, a working man who added extra tanks to his trucks so long-hauls for dealer trade jobs could be spent driving instead of stopping to gas up. He had his job and his business: “If you don’t go to work, you don’t get paid.”

He towed for special events in Cleveland, including the Air Show and the Grand Prix auto race. He was a go-to guy for the local American Automobile Association, winning a commendation for his dependability and longevity of service.

Joyce, who graduated from St. Joseph High School in Euclid, was married and divorced decades ago. No kids. He’d been a long-haul trucker before the divorce and started the towing company after, in the late 1980s. He had a small circle of friends and at the center were twins Joe and Mike Angelucci, with whom he spent virtually every holiday.

“The stories he’d tell. He’d been everywhere and towed everything,” said Joe Angelucci, who buys and inspects classic cars.

Airplane parts. Priceless cars. Even a 1,500-pound pumpkin, which Joe Angelucci had him haul from Pennsylvania for the elaborate Halloween display at Angelucci’s Lyndhurst home.

When Angelucci went to auto shows or made a purchase, Joyce did the hauling.

“He worked so much. I bugged him about it and the only time he’d take any vacation was when we would go out to Las Vegas or California for a car show,” he said. Even then, he’d show up with just a couple of articles of clothing in his bag. “I didn’t have time to do laundry before I left,” he’d say.

Joyce struggled with health issues after he was diagnosed with diabetes a couple of years ago. A hefty guy, he tried to watch what he ate and drank. “He was on a never-ending quest for something delicious and sugar-free to drink,” said Huston.

Joyce kept the business afloat and paid the bills, but he wasn’t rich. Nevertheless, the usual $45 fee and $3.50 per mile were negotiable when a customer was short.

“He’d say, ‘This person is stuck and they only got $50. Do it for the $50 instead of $78,'” Huston said.

There’s a memorial service for friends and family at St. Clare’s Church in Lyndhurst Saturday and then stories will be told in a gathering at the Mayfield Heights home of Joyce’s sister, Mary Anne Simpson-Joyce.

The business – a small shop with two slide-back trucks and a wrecker – closed its doors the day Pat Joyce died.

But as Joyce would have wanted, Huston picked up his truck once the ambulance took him away and delivered Joyce’s final haul, a car in need of service, to a mechanic in Euclid.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Skip to toolbar