It gives us us great pleasure to present our 2020 Irishman of the Year, Mr. Patrick O’Toole, Esq.

A son of Los Angeles, Mr. O’Toole has a long and distinguished history of public service to the people of San Diego during a stellar legal career that saw him serve as a US Attorney and a Deputy District Attorney. He graduated magna cum laude and phi beta kappa from USC, and graduated from UCLA School of Law. He served as an Assistant United States Attorney from 1982 until 2005, during which time he tried approximately 100 felony cases, primarily involving public corruption, drug smuggling, violent crime, and fraud.

Patrick has argued approximately 70 cases in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and he has over 40 published Ninth Circuit opinions. From 2000 to 2001, He served as First Assistant United States Attorney, and he was the United States Attorney from 2001 to 2002. From 2005 to 2017, he was San Diego Deputy District Attorney, where he investigated and handled public corruption cases, and created a criminal investigative grand jury system. Since 2017 he has engaged in private practice and has pursued a number of projects that he is passionate about for the betterment of the legal profession in this state.

Mr. O’Toole’s Irish credentials are undisputed. He is a proud member of The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and currently serves as our General Counsel, tasked with the tough job of keeping us out of trouble with the powers that be! He is a founder member and past President of the Irish American Bar Association of San Diego, and served as President of the Board of The Irish Outreach Center from 2014 to 2016. He is an Irish history enthusiast and an avid follower of current affairs in Ireland.

The respect and esteem with which Patrick is held in the Irish community in San Diego was reflected in his imminent appointment as the Irish Government representative in San Diego as Honorary Irish Consul. This is a major honor to be bestowed upon any individual, and as the very first Irish Honorary Consul to San Diego, he is poised to bring an abundance of professionalism, wisdom, and caring to the role, that will serve our Irish community and this city well.

Patrick has Iserved as President of the Irish Outreach Center. During this time, the knowledge, expertise, and community network he brought to Irish Outreach was of immense benefit as the Center grew and expanded service during those years.

Patrick is a firm friend to the Irish community in San Diego, one that will always answer the phone when you need any advice or guidance, and someone who answers the call in time of need.

A devoted family man, Pat is married to Marlene and has grown up 4 children, Jimmy, Megan, Molly, and Marney.


The Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick, Irishman of the Year Award is our organization’s highest honor. It is annually bestowed upon a deserving member of our organization who has demonstrated a history of selfless dedication to our community and to this organization. Gentlemen are reviewed on their merits, their benevolent endeavors, their character as well as their dedication to preserving the Irish culture and traditions. The Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick are proud to award this accolade to the Irishman whose commendable works and deeds are truly worthy of tribute. There is a deep history, heritage, and lineage of pat recipients of this award.

In all we have recognized 56 Friendly Sons, dating back to our first such presentation in 1964 when we appropriately recognized Bishop Charles Buddy.


Of course we kept with our sacred beliefs and went on to recognize three more priests, as a few years later two prominent bishops were bestowed this honor. Then, things started getting interesting…

Around 1970, when in a span of 10 years we recognized 7 honorable judges, followed by San Diego County’s senior lawman – Sheriff John Duffy.


There have also been 12 attorneys to receive this honor. In all, we’ve awarded two firemen, 2 police officers, and a total 0f 28 have donned the uniform of this Nation and served in our Armed Forces, to include the likes of Corporal Dick Lighthall, USMC – who served at Iwo Jima – and, the legendary Colonel Jack Kelly, USMC.

COL John A. (Jack) Kelly, USMC