Northwest Icon and Edmonds Resident J.P. Patches Dies at 84

"He was a great man, a fine mayor and citizen who loved Edmonds," says former Edmonds Mayor Mike Cooper. Fans create memorial page on Facebook.

OUTSIDE SEATTLE, WA -- Updated at 7:40 p.m. Fans have set up a memorial page for J.P. Patches on Facebook.

J.P. Patches, Puget Sound’s favorite clown for more than half a century, died today Sunday, July 22, 2012 at the age of 84.

The Northwest icon and longtime Edmonds resident, whose real name is Chris Wedes, had fought a long battle with cancer.

Wedes, the man behind the patchwork jacket and red nose whose young fans were known as "Patches Pals," made his final appearance at The Taste of Edmonds last year.

Wedes starred on The J.P. Patches Show for 23 years, from 1958 through 1981. The Emmy Award-winning show at one time had a viewership of more than 100,000. 

"He was a great man, a fine mayor and citizen who loved Edmonds," said former Edmonds Mayor Mike Cooper. J.P. Patches was "mayor" of a fictional dump on his TV show.

Cooper said that he and Wedes had a similar cancer. Cooper had multiple myeloma, while Wedes had acute myeloma.

"I had several chances to meet him over my years in elected office," Cooper said. "He was a funny yet caring man as Chris Wedes. As J.P., he gave laughter to all off us regardless of age. I have been a Patches Pal since my childhood."

Cooper was on hand when Wedes helped dedicate Hickman Park in Edmonds.

"It was an honor for me to be a part of the event when we dedicated J.P. Patches playground at Hickman Park in Edmonds," Cooper said, who was on the Snohomish County Council at the time. The park was dedicated in August 2009 and has a small plaque to honor Patches on the playground.

"The county and city funded this park and it was so fitting because as J.P. mentioned that day, Dr. Hickman developed the catheter that helped save his life, and mine too. Patches Pals everywhere should mourn J.P.'s passing by celebrating his life."

According to J.P. Patches’ Web site, “J.P. Patches, as a Seattle icon, predates grunge music, the space needle, bitter‐overpriced coffee, huge software companies and the Kingdome. The only Seattle icons older than J.P. are slugs and geoducks.”
Fans—called “Patches Pals”—include Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire and U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott.

A statue of J.P. Patches and sidekick Gertrude was erected in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood in 2008.

Read the obituary on J.P. Patches in The Seattle Times.

Please share your memories of J.P. Patches.

Mike Cooper July 23, 2012 at 03:24 AM
thanks for the story. It should be noted that I was on the county council when the park was dedicated. Gary Haakenson was Mayor
Brian Soergel July 23, 2012 at 04:07 AM
Thanks Mike. Story reflects the change.
michael pederson July 23, 2012 at 06:18 PM
I used to watch The J P Patches show when I was growing up , I was 8 yrs old now Im 63...where does the time go..J P- you will be missed,.you were surely loved..R I P my friend...........michael pederson
R. Preston July 23, 2012 at 06:51 PM
I grew up here watching J P Patches,Gertrude and the group. Also Stan Boreson, Wanda Wunda, Captain Puget, Soupy Sales and had a great child hood. The kids on the East Coast only had Captain Kangeroo. We were so blessed to have these fine adults in our childhood. RIP our pal. R Preston
ray guardiano July 23, 2012 at 06:56 PM
As like many other " Patches Pals ", I grew up in the late 50's, 60's & 70's with J.P. before I went to school and then looked forward to watching him again when I came home from school. A lifelong memory for me was when he called out my name on his ICU2 tv to wish me a 8th Happy Birthday !! I'm 56 years old now and was very fortunate to have met he & Gertrude on several occasions, as recent as last year. Rest in Peace my childhood friend and THANK YOU for your laughs & kindness. Ray Guardiano - One of 1000's of Patches Pals
Kevin Patches Pal July 23, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Love ya JP Patches Pal for life
Jo Ewing July 23, 2012 at 07:23 PM
I remember my younger brothers and my nephews and nieces being glued to the TV whenever JP Patches was on. He was one of a kind and a class act. I'm sure many of his Patches Pals were there to greet him in heaven. God speed, JP. Jo Ewing, Oklahoma City
Trisha Bullock July 23, 2012 at 07:34 PM
JP Patches and Stan Borson were my two fondest television memories as a child. I grew up watching JP Patches down by the city dump. I think I remember his first name was Julius, but I can't remember what the P stood for... Yesterday was my 58th birthday; thanks for all the wonderful memories. RIP JP.
Elizabeth Thielen July 23, 2012 at 08:22 PM
I loved watching JP Patches. I looked forward every day to the time when his show came on. It all seem so real to a little kid. I have often thought about him over the years. He gave us all so many wonderful memories. RIP JP
Linda Handy July 23, 2012 at 08:47 PM
My fondest memory of JP was the Senior assembly when JP and Gertrude performed for Lincoln High School thanks to our class president Steven Boyd class of 1966. I don't think I ever laughed more. JP Patches great gift was his ability to say something to kids and have it mean something else to adults. My mom met him at the studio one day and he asked her if she watched his show and how old were her children and my mom said "18". I said "MOM" and she said she couldn't admit she watched him alone. That memory has always made me smile. Linda age 64. we will miss you JP.
Sally Caffrey July 23, 2012 at 09:08 PM
I grew up watching JP, like those on this page. He just made our little kid lives a bit brighter. The ICU2 TV was a favorite. I went to Lincoln High School and saw JP and Gertrude there. My last sighting of JP was the Summer of 2008 I was on the Whidbey Island ferry and so was JP. We talked of his visits to Lincoln High School...he was very nice in person and that was a special day for me. RIP JP
Karen Bell Katona July 23, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Those of us who grew up in the Seattle area lost a dear, dear friend last night. Chris Wedes died of acute myeloma at age 84. We all knew him as (Julius Pierpont) J.P. Patches, and we were all Patches Pals. He was a true pioneer of children's television, and always a shining star to us kids. My sincere sympathy and deepest condolences to his wife, daughter and granddaughter on their loss. And hugs to all my fellow Patches Pals out there, too. I know he's in heaven looking down at us with his ICU2 TV! Thank you, Chris/J.P. You brought joy to millions over the years; how many people can say that? We will always love you and keep your memory close. May your memory be for a blessing.
Arlene M. Baladi July 23, 2012 at 09:40 PM
RIP J.P. Patches...may you finally enjoy a much-deserved rest, and thank you for brightening the world with your comedy!
terry l henry July 23, 2012 at 10:04 PM
his name was Julius Pierpont Patches. i watched him as a child, and with my children. he will be so missed. rip jp
Curves July 23, 2012 at 11:35 PM
To my dear friend Joan our hearts are heavy for you. We ,all the Ladies at Curves send our thoughts and prayers too you ..Chris is Now in Heaven making laughs for all God's children.
Steven July 24, 2012 at 01:36 AM
We'll miss ya Patches. You lived in and presided over a beautiful dump. You truly were a great guy with a kind heart. Tonight I'll be saying a prayer on my knees in front of all my beloved trash cans before I go to sleep to honor your memory. Every time I pick up my Hefty bags and pack them with empty beer cans, styrofoam containers, crumpled foil, plastic wrap and toilet paper rolls, I will think of you. Hope that you are resting comfortably on an old mattress with a ragged pillow in another dump somewhere in the sky. Godspeed Patches.
Brian Soergel July 27, 2012 at 05:01 PM
George Dean: Thanks for the great photo of J.P.!
Pamela Greco July 28, 2012 at 07:47 AM
Like everyone else on here I am a diehard Patches Pal..When I was 9 yrs old my Daddy died, and so did a large part of me. But I still had JP and the gang every morning. My Mom swears if it wasnt for them I may never have smiled again. Thank you JP for giving me back my smile..and for all the laughter over the years..you will be greatly missed. Signed a lifelong Patches Pal
Brian Soergel July 28, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Pamela: Great story. Thanks for sharing.
Brian Soergel July 28, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Ray: A great memory, for sure!
Pat Graves September 08, 2012 at 07:28 AM
I grew up with JP. My Bluebird group made him a quilt and he woke up with it each morning with Mr. Clock. We were on his TV show 3 different times. I wish there were tapes of those shows! I still have a LOVE for Clowns and I owe it to JP. He was a very gentle soul and great for the community of Seattle. He will be missed. Thanks for the memories JP! Forever and Always a Patches Pal. Pat Graves


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