Patrick M. Gunkel died on March 14 at the Newton Wellesley Center for Alzheimer’s Care. He was 69.

For several years Patrick lived in Woods Hole, where he was known as The Cat Man. He was often seen riding his bicycle around town and on the Vineyard with a white cat perched on his shoulder. He was considered a genius, specializing in the science of ideonomy, which he described as the science of ideas.

Born in Chicago on May 1, 1947, Patrick had an unconventional education, having never received a diploma from any school or college. Nevertheless, for several years he held a position at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, developing his thoughts on ideonomy.

After a few years in Princeton, N.J., Patrick returned to West Falmouth, where his health declined.

He is survived by a half-sister, Mary Norton, and a host of friends who hold deep respect for his intellectual accomplishments. Patrick was preceded in death by his sister, Donna, three brothers, Douglas, George, and William, and by his parents Douglas and Gladys. His Turkish Van cat, Tatiana, now resides with a family on Martha’s Vineyard.