In a large family tree, there is always one person who can touch all the branches.
We usually refer to them as peacemakers, though their real gift is being able to leave others a little more hopeful than when they found them.
In my cousin Patricia Street’s family, it was her youngest, Patrick, who fulfilled that role.
Known in the music industry as “DJ Big Pat,” Patrick D. Thompson passed away suddenly of an apparent heart attack on Sept. 24 at age 42.
Those who knew him and loved him were devastated.
If anyone epitomized the characteristics of an all-around good guy, it was Patrick.
“He was very creative, outgoing and enjoyed gatherings, cooking and fishing. He was just a happy person who stayed away from problems,” his mother told me.
The family lived on the South Side before moving to Chicago Heights, where Thompson played basketball and football at Homewood-Flossmoor High School.
He worked in a health-related field before he started his music career, said his brother, Darrick Thompson.
“He learned how to do mixing and mastering from Kevin,” Darrick told me, referring to his cousin and my first-born.
“He later formed his own record label. He worked with a lot of national artists and had a relationship with major record labels. He was the bridge between old school hip-hop and new millennium hip-hop,” Darrick said.
But once a month, Thompson, whom family called the “world’s best chef,” put on an apron and helped his mother provide a hot breakfast for hundreds of homeless and senior residents in the area.
“He helped me from day one. He was really dedicated,” his mother told me.
Thompson first worked as an engineer on CatEye Records, a local record label formed with his brothers in the late ‘90s. He put out his first hip-hop record, “Well Qualified,” on his own label, On the Map Productions, in the early 2000s.
Shortly afterward, he went to Crawford Broadcasting, where he worked as a remote broadcast engineer at Power 92 and a mix show DJ at Soul 106.3, and had just recently resigned to pursue other music opportunities.
“We started off as co-workers and then we became friends and that turned into family,” said Paris Taylor, a producer and on-air talent at Power 92.
“He became like a big brother to me. I could talk to him about anything that was going on in my daily life. He was dependable, reliable,” she said.
“I was lucky to have him in my life, and I thank God for sharing him with me,” she added.
Cas Matory started working with Thompson on radio promotional events in 2007, and the pair landed a show of their own a few years later.
“The energy that he had was real positive. Whenever he came in the room, he was in good spirits. This is a big loss to everyone who came in contact with him. Everyone thought they had their own special relationship with him,” Matory said.
As a producer/songwriter, DJ Big Pat developed a huge following and has appeared on hundreds of songs, including a song by the Rev. Jolinda Wade, retired NBA star Dwyane Wade’s mother.
Wade credits God and Thompson with helping her make a gospel rap song that targeted the ongoing violence in our communities.
“He wrote the beats to that song, and that brought more depth and more meaning. It was like it was coming to life. I was like ‘wow.’ I didn’t know he was that type of artist where he hears the beats in his head,” Wade told me.
The father of a 13-year-old daughter, Jaiden, Thompson took fatherhood seriously, she said.
“You could see that love and genuineness. He was a daddy to his daughter. Oh Lord, that was his world,” she said.
He showed the same level of commitment to his craft.
“He wouldn’t let me quit. He’d say, ‘Yes, you can Mama Wade.’ He brought me over the bridge,” she said.
He was in the middle of producing a rap song by his 7-year-old nephew, known as “C.T. Marshmallow,” when he died.
One of Thompson’s older brothers, Norris Thompson, is also a singer/songwriter and is currently an on-air personality at Power 92. He called his brother “the backbone.”
“Big Pat was really a good dude,” he said.
Services for Patrick D. Thompson (DJ Big Pat) will be Thursday, Oct. 3. Wake is 5:00 p.m. Funeral is 6:00 p.m. at Abounding Life Church of God in Christ, 14626 Mozart Ave., Posen, Ill., 60469