Pat was born April 20, 1950, in Billings, as the fourth of Bill and Wilda Cahill’s six children. He died peacefully on Aug. 28, 2018, in Billings, surrounded by his family, after many years of living with Alzheimer’s disease. In between these dates, he lived a monumental life.
Pat graduated from Central Catholic High School (now Capital High School) in Helena in 1968 as valedictorian of his class. He attended Carroll College, where he met the love of his life, Edna Walsh. He majored in pre-medicine, graduated maxima cum laude in 1972, and received the Bishop Gilmore Award honoring the most outstanding senior scholar. Pat attended medical school at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, graduating with Alpha Omega Alpha honors. He began Internal Medicine residency training at University of California San Francisco, where he discovered his passion and transitioned to a Neurology residency at Stanford University.
Pat and Edna were married on Aug. 26, 1972, and raised four children, who blessed them with eight grandchildren. As with his commitment to his profession, he was a loyal and dedicated husband and father. He shared his love of the outdoors with his family, hiking, camping, and making memories throughout Montana with a special fondness for Glacier National Park — Pat and Edna’s honeymoon location. Many evening and weekend hours were spent teaching his children how to play sports and instilling in each of them his mantra: attitude is everything. He was a proud dad on the sideline for countless games and even stepped up to be head coach on occasion. He remarked in his later years that driving his children all over the state to sporting events provided a wonderful opportunity to really get to know them. Pat was a star athlete in his youth and continued his commitment to physical fitness by running nearly every morning before work.
Pat joined the Billings Clinic Neurology Department in 1981. During his 27-year professional career he was known as a skillful and compassionate physician who helped many thousands of patients and their families. He also served as Neurology Department chair and as Billings Clinic medical staff president for several years. He was a forward-thinking leader in the Clinic as an early adopter of tele-medicine and outreach clinics, both means of helping patients with neurologic diseases who live in remote locations. He was instrumental in the organizational merger of the Billings Clinic and Deaconess Hospital into the modern unified healthcare system that serves this region today.
Following his father’s footsteps in service to our country, Pat joined the Montana Army National Guard as a physician and officer in 1992. During his 17 years in the Guard, he rose to the rank of Colonel, served a stint as state surgeon, and deployed to Iraq as part of the Medical Corps supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Pat is survived by his wife Edna; brothers Joe (Kay) Cahill, Mike Cahill; sisters Cathy (Dave) Drynan, Mary (Tom) Tierney, Carolyn (Greg) Williams; daughter Lee (Josh) Quick; sons Mark (Tracy) Cahill, John (Maria) Cahill, and Paul (Amanda) Cahill; eight grandchildren, Emma Quick, Ryley Quick, Julianna Cahill, Blake Cahill, Hollis Cahill, Natalie Cahill, Bridger Cahill and Anamarie Cahill; and 37 nieces and nephews. Pat was preceded in death by his parents Bill and Wilda and his nephew Patrick Walsh Kelly.
The family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all who cared for Pat, especially the memory care staff at MorningStar, as well as the team at RiverStone Hospice.
A celebration of Pat’s life will be held in Billings on Sunday, Sept. 2, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Avenue, with a public viewing from 2 to 4 p.m. and a 4 p.m. vigil. Funeral is Monday, Sept. 3, at 10 a.m., at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, 2055 Woody Drive. Dr. Cahill suffered from one of the diseases he treated. While Alzheimer’s disease is presently incurable, medical advances are being made and we are hopeful for a cure in the future. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association or the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund in Pat’s name.