Life’s setbacks led Kevin Padrick ’76, J.D./MBA ’79 to a lesson he learned in childhood: Be Prepared. Faced with a lost academic opportunity, a debilitating illness, and even an early internet troll, the Eagle Scout turned lawyer and pilot found happiness in self-sufficiency: learning new skills and reinventing his lifetime and again—and having plenty of adventures along the way.
Some things Padrick figured out early: like by age 7 he wanted to be a pilot and a lawyer. The United States Air Force Academy seemed like an ideal fit. But after he enrolled, the Academy axed the program that interested him. There was an upside though: Around that time, he met his wife, Karen.
The couple moved to Santa Clara, so Kevin could enroll at SCU and complete degrees in mathematics and in psychology. He followed that with a joint program in business and law. Padrick quickly landed a spot as an attorney with Miller Nash in Portland, Ore, making partner at 26, youngest in firm history, but was diagnosed with a medical condition that necessitated a different lifestyle. He and Karen changed everything and moved to Colorado, where his health improved.
The family later returned to Oregon, where he founded Obsidian Financial. It was there he tangled with an early internet troll. A blogger blasted the company online and requested more than $2,000 a month to clean up negative stories. Padrick and Obsidian sued for defamation and won a landmark court case.
Kevin and Karen were true explorers. Machu Picchu and the Galapagos. The Colorado Trail and portions of the Pacific Crest Trail. The Pacific Coast and Colorado trails. Kevin loved goal-setting and found order in hiking. Sometimes he hiked by himself, his pace too fast for anyone to keep up, but Karen was always there to pick up her newly bearded—but happy—husband at the end.
During a trip to Antarctica—one of 70 countries he could claim setting foot—Kevin traversed the dangerous Drake Passage and found an Emperor Penguin not thought to be native to an island. When he returned to Antarctica, local scientists were buzzing of his discovery. Walking down the street in town, he heard people talking of a penguin, Kevin, nicknamed by the scientists in his honor.
Karen says her husband lived a life that would’ve sat well in the pages of a book. And he wanted to pass on that gift of adventure. Kevin touched the lives of many Boy Scouts through his work with the Order of the Arrow and countless other trips and programs. Many of his mentees went on to leadership roles in the Boy Scouts, including participating at the World Scout Jamboree.
This June, Padrick died after his seaplane crashed into the Deschutes River. Karen survives him.