Robert Joyce Pate M.D.
Robert (“Bob“) Joyce Pate M.D., 80, began the resting chapter of his life on Wednesday, January 13, 2010, at McAllen Medical Center, McAllen, TX, after a lengthy struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. Graveside services for Dr. Pate were held Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at Stevens Cemetery, Buffalo, TX, under the direction of Walters Buffalo Funeral Home. Rosary and chapel services were held January 14-15 in Mission, TX.
Dr. Pate was born December 29, 1929 in Oakwood, TX, to Myrtle Lela (Stevens) Pate and Thomas Alsberry Pate. He was raised in Buffalo, TX, attended & graduated from Oxnard/Ventura High School, Oxnard, CA, in 1948, obtaining his pilot license, along with commercial and instructor ratings while in high school.
In 1953, he received his B.A. in History from Texas A&M University, where he was a member of the prestigious Corps of Cadets, and the boxing and football teams. During his 4 years at Texas A&M, he instructed approximately 90 cadets from basic ground instruction, to their private pilot licenses. To subsidize income, he flew summer crop dusting from 1952-66, throughout the Rio Grande and Brazos Valleys, accumulating some 8000 hours in the brawny, yet graceful Stearman biplane. During this time he also met and married the mother of his children, Ethel Bride Walsh in 1953.
In addition to cadets, he taught countless friends and family members the beauty and finesse of flying - including his three sons. Many people have Bob Pate to thank for their “wings”, and it would be impossible to count the number of different aircraft in which he was proficient.
A highly-accomplished pilot, Dr. Pate served the U.S. Air Force 1953-1961, as a transport pilot/instructor. By age 26, he was aircraft commander in his C118 squad- ron, McChord AFB, Tacoma, WA, in the Pacific Division of M.A.T.S (Military Air Transport Service), flying both the DC-6(C118) and the DC-4. Following his 4-year service in M.A.T.S., he flew the C-119 in the Air Force Reserves, as well as instructed in the T28 and T37, having been one of the first instructors in the U.S. in the T37. He concluded his Air Force career with the rank of Captain.
As achievement always accompanied him, he embarked on medical school in 1961, attending the University of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Monterrey, Mexico, receiving his M.D. in 1967. From 1967- 68, he completed his social services training in Mexico, followed by internship 1968- 70 in Marlin, TX, and general surgery fellowship training 1970-71 at Ochsner Medical Foundation, New Orleans, LA. - where he met one of the loves of his life, Bella Amor.
During his medical practice in Mission, TX, which spanned 1971-2003, Dr. Pate touched the lives of so many, was revered by his colleagues as a solid, skillful surgeon, and exemplified the caring, compassionate physician.
He leaves behind a legacy in both aviation and medicine.
Dr. Pate’s hobbies were aviation, sailing, astrology, travel, time with family and friends, and he possessed an intense love of reading. His personality was one on extreme generosity, high-spirit, compassion, intelligence, and dauntlessness - to name only a few. He was a leader - never a follower, and never met a stranger.
He was preceded in death by his parents, infant daughter Rita, brother Joyce, sister Ruth, brother Aubrey, and grandchildren William and Charles.
He is survived by sons Robert Joseph Pate MD and wife Cheryl of Palestine, TX, John Michell Pate of Weslaco, TX, and Gregory Thomas Pate of Mission, TX, sisters Loyce Morris of Oxnard, CA and Carmelita Pate of Buffalo, TX, grandchildren Christy, Patrick, Johnny, Megan, Laura, Evan and Ryan, great-grandchildren Madeline and Victoria, nephews Ronald Pate and wife Debbie of El Paso, TX, Keith Pate and wife Eleanor of Waco, TX, Joe Morris and wife Robin of Los Osos, CA and Steve Morris of Oxnard, CA, nieces Marilynn Gimble and husband Dick of Waco, TX, Sylvia Morris of Oxnard, CA, and Shanda Woodall of Buffalo, TX, very dear friends Dewey Merriman of Blanco, TX, Don Russell of Cleveland, TX, James Jones of Bryan, TX, and life-long special friend Bella Amor of Brownsville, TX.
Local arrangements were under the direction of Walters Buffalo Funeral Home.
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