Patrick R. Dougal, master harp technician and owner of PRD Harp Services, passed away on March 26, 2015, after only 16 hours in hospice care. Pat worked with harps and collaborated with harpists for more than 30 years. After a long tenure with Lyon & Healy, Pat designed and made harps with Carl Swanson, and later, served as a representative for Harps Unlimited International. As the proprietor of PRD Harp Services, he traveled widely throughout the United States and Canada, caring for a loyal clientele of performers, teachers and students. His shop and showroom in Joliet were famous for the collection of instruments of all vintages and designs, most in the process of rebuilding or restoration. Pat’s famous hospitality made teachers and students always feel welcome.
Pat was renowned for his outstanding rebuilding and restoration of both pedal and non-pedal harps. Pat’s maintenance and “trouble-shooting” class for harpists, “What You Should Do BEFORE You Call Me,” was a favorite among students from western Canada to the eastern US. Pat’s famous quote was, “If I don’t teach you why I am doing what I am doing to and for your harp, then what’s the point? A good technician has to be a good educator; otherwise, I am not really helping YOU, and my job is to provide the best possible service to every harpist.”
Pat was well known for his warmth, sense of humor and commitment to making anyone who met him feel comfortable. When not working on harps, he could be found reading, discussing politics and philosophy, cooking something wonderful, or in the company of his beloved Nancy and their animals, canines Lola and Delphi, and Mortoise, a friendly giant tortoise.
Pat’s family has requested that memorial gifts be made to The Harp School, Inc., designated for “The Pat Dougal Scholarship Fund.”
This article was published on www.harpcolumn.com March 29, 2015, and also appears in the July-August 2015 issue of Harp Column.