Tifton Gazette


March 26, 2013

Willie Mack Patrick

FITZGERALD — Willie Mack Patrick, known as W. M. to his colleagues and fondly called Pat by his wife Nelda of 67 years and his close friends, entered into eternal rest March 25 at Tift Regional Medical Center in Tifton. Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Thursday at Fellowship Baptist Church with the Rev. Dr. Rusty Brock and the Rev. Robert Couey officiating. The family will greet friends at the church one hour prior to the service. Interment will follow at 4 p.m. at Philadelphia Baptist Cemetery in Quitman. The family will also receive friends from 5:30 until 7 p.m.  today at the home, 184 Lynn Drive.

Mr. Patrick was born November 12, 1925 in Quitman to Harmon Leslie & Connie Lee Bowen Patrick. He lived in Brooks County his entire childhood, graduating from Quitman High School in 1942. He married Nelda Wardlow of Cordele in 1945. They have one son, Dr. James Benjamin (Ben) Patrick who lives in Athens.

Since Mr. Patrick’s family was engaged in farming, he chose to major in agriculture. He received his Bachelor of Science in Education in Vocational Agriculture from the University of Georgia in 1946, his Masters in School Administration from his alma mater in 1954, and his education specialist degree in School Administration in 1963 from the same institution. His scholastic honors include being in Kappa Delta Pi, the scholastic honorary society in education, receiving a fellowship from UGA in 1962 for advanced study, and an appointment to the doctoral program that same year for work toward a PhD. In college, he pursued his interest in public speaking and continued to instill that interest in others as an educator, coaching students, one of whom placed second in a national speaking contest in Kansas City, Missouri.

He was an educator for most of his professional life, coming to Fitzgerald in 1963 to become principal of Fitzgerald High School where he retired in 1978 after having been in education for 38 years. Prior to coming to Fitzgerald, he had taught agriculture and been a principal in north Georgia in McDuffie, White and Stephens counties.

While an educator, he served in various capacities throughout the state. He was president of the eighth District Principal’s Association and president of his region for the Georgia High School Association as well as serving on the state STAR student and teacher committee, the Professional Practices Commission, the evaluation committee to review state renovation funds for schools, and the state committee for evaluation of the Vocational Office Training Program. He also served on professional teacher organizations, serving as president of local units of GAE and chairman of the Credential Committee for the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) at the state level. Mr. Patrick was always on the cutting edge in the state and served in various capacities to move Georgia forward. These include the evaluation committee of the Southern Association of Schools and the state committee to set up a new reporting system and permanent records to name a few. Being recognized as a leader by his peers, he served both as a local delegate to the National Association of Educators convention as well as the state delegate for the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

In whatever community Mr. Patrick served, he became active, both in his Baptist faith as well as community clubs and organization. Besides being an active member of Fellowship Baptist Church, he taught both the adult Sunday school class and the Agoga Radio Bible class. He was a Rotarian who was given the highest award given by local clubs, the Service Above Self Award, in 2007. He was also active in both the Jaycees and the Lion’s Club and served as president. Besides these clubs, he was honored as the Jaycee Boss of the Year and served on the Mayor’s Advisory Committee and the Dorminy Hospital Board of Authority. While on the board, he was instrumental in setting up the policies and procedures handbook for the facility.

Besides being in education, Mr. Patrick was former co-owner of Patrick Farms in Brooks County and owner and operator of Colony Antiques. One of his hobbies and interests as well as an elective course in college led to the later business and his appreciation of fine antiques and restoring fine furniture.

Throughout life, Mr. Patrick has enjoyed reading, fishing, hunting, writing, public speaking and traveling. He used these hobbies in his career as well as to improve communities in which he lived. He was an avid student of the Bible, using his knowledge to serve in his church. He and his wife are well traveled, having been to every state as well as Canada and Mexico. After retiring, the two spent several years traveling.

W.M. Patrick was a unique individual who always used his knowledge and interests to help those around him. His pleasing personality and dry sense of humor as well as his values made his friends, colleagues, and customers respect him. He was a role model for his family, his students, and his faculty as well as to those in the communities he served.

Mr. Patrick is survived by his wife of 67 years, Nelda Patrick; one son and daughter-in-law, Dr. James Benjamin (Ben) and Julie Patrick of Athens; and one brother, Waymon L. Patrick, Sr. of Quitman. He was preceded in death by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Harmon L. Patrick and one brother, Leslie B. Patrick.

The family suggests those desiring to send memorials may send them to Fellowship Baptist Church, c/o Eddy Reeves, P.O. Box 777, Fitzgerald, GA 31750.

You may sign the online guest registry by visiting www.paulkfuneralhome.com. Paulk Funeral Home, Fitzgerald is in charge of arrangements.

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  • public safety awards.tif

    Pictured are the honorees of Thursday night's annual Public Safety Officer Appreciation and Awards Banquet by the Tifton Elks Lodge. Shown, from left, are Louise Spradley, who organized the banquet, Eddie Brown with the Tift County Emergency Medical Services, Sgt. Debbie Pyles with the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Police Department, Sgt. Bart Walker with the Omega Police Department, Officer of the Year honoree Thomas Catanzarita with the Tift County Sheriff's Office Jail Division, Deputy Jonathan Toledo with the TCSO, Brandi Conway with the Tifton-Tift County Animal Shelter, Georgia State Patrol Trooper Ben Taylor, Officer Brian Shockley with the Tifton Police Department and volunteer Firefighter Brian Fincher with the Chula Fire Department.

    LEOs and first responders honored at banquet

    A room full of local law enforcement and first responders were honored Thursday night by the Tifton Elks Lodge at their annual Public Safety Officer Appreciation and Awards Banquet for their service in the community.
    Prior to the awards being given out, Louise Spradley, who organized the banquet, welcomed everyone, and the invocation and pledge were led by the Tift County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard.

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