Born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1914, James Patrick Ready couldn’t wait to leave and explore the world. Before he was twenty he had visited Gdansk, Poland, the Balkans, and St. Petersburg, Russia aboard a Polish steamship. After graduating from Indiana University, he enlisted in the US Air Corps, trained as a fighter pilot and flew 75 missions in Spitfires, Mustangs, and Aircobras over England and North Africa during WWII. He was among the first Allied pilots to land in Southern Italy in the fall of 1943, with the ranks of Major and squadron commander. He set up a base in Naples where he met Margherita Carcaterra, who would become his wife for the next fifty-eight years. After the war, they settled in Seattle to be near the land in the Columbia Basin that had been in his family for decades. Having traveled the world, Patrick loved no place on earth more than the Columbia Basin. He felt the enduring wealth of America lay in its abundant and productive farm land and in the hearts, minds, and creativity of the farmers who tilled it. He believed that the Columbia Basin was the finest example of that land and that the Hirai family were the finest example of farmers dedicated to the most efficient and responsible use of that resource. Patrick believed that the Columbia Basin River Project was one of the great agricultural development projects of all time. It brought irrigation to the land and hydro-electric power to the farms, as well as cities near and far. He loved the Columbia River with its great gorges, high banks, and productive dams. He liked to say that “there are only two reliable sources of energy in this world, rivers and oil…and rivers are born in heaven and oil is born in hell.” Resting now at the source of his beloved river, Patrick Ready would be honored to know that the Hirai family has given this scholarship to Washington State University in his memory.
The principal of this fund shall be used to provide two scholarships for WSU students certifying in Horticulture, holding junior or senior status, who demonstrate financial need.