Pat Casad played jazz not because he wanted to play but because he had to play.
"He had music in his soul," said his wife, Peggy Casad.
"I think that's why he started Opus One, because he missed the music."
Frank Anderson "Pat" Casad, a saxophonist and icon in the North Olympic Peninsula music scene, died July 6 after a six-month battle with cancer.
Casad was a founding member of Opus One, the first big band on the North Olympic Peninsula, and also played with the Stardust Big Band at the 7 Cedars Casino.
He was the eldest of three boys born in Yakima to Benjamin Cecil and Dora Leona (Hileman) Casad on St. Patrick's Day in 1923.
The family moved to Bremerton where Casad finished high school and enlisted in the Navy at the beginning of World War II.
Casad began his love affair with music while serving in the military in Hawaii, where he spent four years fitting ships for torpedoes.
After he was discharged, Casad returned to San Diego, then moved to Colorado and then to Port Angeles in 1972.
That's where he met Peggy, his wife.
"He was just my Pat. He was born Frank, but everyone called him Pat because he was born on St. Patrick's Day," Peggy said.
They were married in 1989 in the ballroom of the Elks Lodge in Port Angeles.
"I had seen him but not met him," Peggy said.
"I asked him to dance because I had been a dancer and had taught dancing. It was a waltz, he was so graceful. After the dance, he said, 'I'll dance with you any day.' He came to my office the next day before leaving on vacation and said, 'I'll see you later.'
"He was nice, a gentlemen's gentleman. I think that was what enticed me."
Peggy said Pat always was involved in music, playing both tenor and baritone saxophone, usually by ear.
He learned to read sheet music after high school and then again when he started Opus One, she said.
"He was quite a musician. He got away from music in Colorado, that's why he started Opus One.
"He really worked hard at it and then after we met, we worked hard at it. I think that was what brought us so much together, we both loved the music. Every day, he would sing to me all through the house."
But Pat was an icon because he also loved people, Peggy said.
He once bought a strap for a girl who played baritone sax so she wouldn't hurt herself playing the rather large instrument.
"That was the kind of person he was. He loved kids," Peggy said.
Tracy Blume of Jazz in Blume plans a celebration of life for Casad from 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, at the Port Angeles Naval Elks Lodge where the couple had their first dance and where Pat was the exhalted ruler from 1982-1983.
"We'll have the Pat Casad Tribute Big Band comprised of former members of Opus One and current members of the Olympic Express Big Band to play, and Chuck Darland and yours truly will be the guest singers," Blume said.
Peggy anticipates around 300 people, based on the number who attended his 80th birthday party at the
7 Cedars Casino six years ago, Blume said.
Reach Brian Gawley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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