And, he said, "Father Pat touched so many people, and touched them deeply."
Niece Kim Lavin recalled him as "a great storyteller.
"My father was the oldest of three sons. Uncle Wayne was the youngest. They all grew up in South Philadelphia," near 24th Street and Snyder Avenue.
Father Lavin, she said, was "very exuberant, loved to tell stories about the family, about the students at his colleges."
At times, she said, "he used to serve as chaplain aboard cruise ships as well, which he loved."
He even met Pope John Paul II in an audience at the Vatican and, as a photo attests, she said, shook hands with him.
Born in Philadelphia, Father Lavin graduated from St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pa., and was ordained in Camden in 1971.
He served as a parochial vicar at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Berlin in 1971 and 1972, St. Stephen in Pennsauken from 1972 to 1976, Queen of the Apostles in Pennsville from 1976 to 1978, and Queen of Heaven in Cherry Hill from 1978 to 1982.
He resided at St. John the Baptist Church in Camden from 1982 to 1987 while serving at Rutgers-Camden and at Holy Spirit in Atlantic City from 1987 to 1989 while at Stockton.
Father Lavin was the pastor at St. Bartholomew Church in Camden from 1994 to 2001 and at St. Bridget Church in Glassboro from 2001 to 2004.
He resided at Sacred Heart Residence for Priests in Cherry Hill from 2004 until ill health forced him to retire from active ministry in 2008.
Father Lavin is survived by several nieces and nephews.
A viewing was set from 9 to 10:45 a.m. Thursday, July 24, at Christ Our Light Church, 402 N. Kings Highway, Cherry Hill, before an 11 a.m. Funeral Mass there, with interment in Calvary Cemetery, Cherry Hill.
Condolences may be offered to the family at www.schetterfh.com.