Patrick Halley: Outgoing reporter lived colorful life

Detroit Free Press/November 25, 2007

A private memorial service will be held today for Patrick Halley, a former reporter with the radical Fifth Estate newspaper who had a reputation as a journalist with a go-for-broke attitude.

Mr. Halley died suddenly Nov. 16. He was 57 and lived in Detroit.

He made front-page news in August 1973 after tossing a menthol-scented shaving cream pie in the face of a nationally known, self-proclaimed teenage god, Guru, Maharaj Ji, who was receiving a tribute at a Detroit City Council session.

The headline for the Free Press story that appeared the following day declared it was "No Way to Treat a Guru."

Maharaj Ji, who billed himself as "Lord of the Universe," was connected to an organization known as the Divine Light Mission. Mr. Halley was protesting his claim of divinity.

A week after the incident, Mr. Halley was beaten and almost killed in his apartment by two of the guru's devotees. After undergoing surgery, he recovered.

"He was a very outgoing, colorful character who was a bit on the radical side," said his brother, Richard Halley.

Born in Detroit, Mr. Halley graduated from Lamphere High School in Madison Heights in 1968. He married Linda Zimmerman in 1979, and they had two children.

Mr. Halley earned a living as a taxi driver with the Greater Detroit Cab Co. for more than three decades and was a freelance writer for a number of local publications. He wrote an article for the Metro Times detailing surreal experiences he witnessed and the cast of colorful characters he encountered during his daily runs as a cabbie.

A supporter of the underground theater scene, he was involved in numerous productions as an actor and writer.

Beside his brother, survivors include a daughter, Celeste Finley; brothers Michael and Shawn; a sister, Kathleen Williams, and five grandchildren.

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