How very softly
you tiptoed into my world.
only a moment you stayed.
But what an imprint
your footsteps have left
upon my heart.
-- Little Footprints by Dorothy Ferguson
The Post-Crescent obituaries
Nov. 3, 2003
Patrick George (Grand Chute): Infant son of Andrew and Elise Oppmann was born and taken
into God's hands on Nov.
2, 2003, at Mercy
Survivors include his sisters, Emily Katherine and Sarah Elizabeth of Grand
Chute, and his grandmother, Anne Freeman Peace of Hopkinsville, Ky.
He was preceded in death by his grandfathers, Patrick George Oppmann of Marshfield, Harold E.
Peace of Hopkinsville, Ky., and Frank Kenneth Wey Jr. of Gadsden, Ala.,
and his grandmother, Mary Katherine Wey of Monterey, Tenn.
Private services have been held. Memorials may be directed to First United
Methodist Church of Appleton or to the charity of your choice.
Note from Andrew
Nov. 2, 2003
All: I wanted to let you know that
our son, Patrick, was born early Sunday morning at Mercy Medical
Center in Oshkosh. We were
fortunate to have about 30 minutes with him before he died from complications
from Potter's Syndrome. Thanks to the generosity of friends, we were also
lucky enough to get our daughters to the hospital in time for them to meet
Patrick while he was still with us. Elise and I want to thank each of you for
your support and kindness during these difficult months. This entire process
has caused me to reevaluate many things in my life --- and, I hope, gain a
greater appreciation for the things that truly matter. Your friendship truly
matters to us and, as a result, Elise and I consider ourselves to be lucky
Photos of Patrick during his brief
life (click your BACK button on your browser to return to this page):
Patrick with a doll
given to him by Emily and Sarah
Patrick’s heartbeat with a scope
Close-up shot of
Patrick resting on Elise
close-up of Patrick
another one of the boy
A brief Q&A about our third baby
Q: What happened to Patrick?
A: Our son was diagnosed in September with
Potter’s Syndrome, a rare, fatal birth defect that, in layman’s
terms, means he did not develop kidneys. While rare, it does happen enough
for there to be a Web site (www.potterssyndrome.org)
and numerous support groups throughout the nation. The formal term for this condition
is Renal Agenesis.
Q. Is there a cure or treatment to
A. No. Most Potter’s babies are born
stillborn. Without kidneys, there’s little or no amniotic fluid in the
womb. Without the fluid, the baby cannot easily move and, even worse, the
lungs fail to properly develop. Death usually comes from respiratory failure.
Q. Who is Patrick named after?
A. We named Patrick after his
grandfather, who died in 1989. Andrew thought this would be appropriate,
since his father was born in Wisconsin
and spent his youth in Marshfield,
about two hours west of Grand Chute.
Q. How are Emily and Sarah doing?
A. We were able to get some great advice
from professionals on helping toddlers deal with tragic news. Both understood
that Patrick was sick and would not be with us for very long. Both of them
also were able to say “hello” and “good-bye” to him.
Later, Emily told a friend, “Patrick came to visit us for awhile, but
now he lives in Heaven.” Emily now says she wants to be a “baby
Columns from The Post-Crescent
wrote four columns about Patrick for his newspaper.:
- On March 21, 2004, Andrew
recalled the loss of Patrick in a column that concluded with news of an
expected new arrival. To read it, click here.
- On April 4, 2004, two weeks after
the first column appeared, Andrew wrote a follow-up column after
learning that the baby Elise had carried for 15 weeks had died. To read
it, click here.
- On April 18, 2004, The P-C
featured stories from readers who have experienced similar losses.
Comments by Andrew introduced a package of letters from families across
the Fox Valley. The main part of the package
featured full stories from readers, while a sidebar included brief
- On Nov. 24, 2005, Andrew recalled
Patrick while telling the story of the birth of new baby daughter Rachel.
To reach it, click here.
The March 21, 2004, column
received first-place honors in the
2004 Best of
Gannett competition. Click on the medallion above to read a PDF copy
Gannett contest book (See page 46).