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Julius Patrick, Jr.
|Mayor of Boyce, Rapides Parish|
1978 – November 26, 2006
|Succeeded by||Donald W. Welch|
|Born||May 16, 1938|
Alexandria, Rapides Parish
|Died||November 26, 2006 (aged 68)|
Ascension Parish, Louisiana
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Pineville, Louisiana|
|Political party||Democratic Party|
|Spouse(s)||Beatrice Jackson Patrick|
|Children||Ronald Kevin Patrick|
Karen Patrick Jones
Julius Patrick, Jr. (May 16, 1938 – November 26, 2006) was the African-American Democratic mayor of Boyce, in northern Rapides Parish, who died in a head-on collision in a chain-reaction accident on Interstate 10 in Ascension Parish near Gramercy in south Louisiana. Patrick was first elected mayor of Boyce, a community of 1,200, in 1978. He served for twenty-eight consecutive years, while he was simultaneously a full-time educator until his retirement from the Rapides Parish School Board, based in Alexandria.
Motorist Mercuria J. S. Colomb (born 1978) of St. Rose in St. Charles Parish allegedly started the chain-reaction accident. She first eluded state police but later turned herself in to authorities. Colomb was driving a car that turned into an eastbound SUV. The impact cause her vehicle to cross the interstate median, sideswipe a westbound oncoming car, and then crash head-on into the car driven by Patrick. The mayor was killed instantly, according to police. Colomb was charged with negligent homicide, negligent injury, and improper lane usage. She left the crash scene headed east on Interstate 10.
Patrick's accomplishments as mayor
Boyce Democratic Councilman Kelvin V. McCoy (born 1963), who ran against Patrick and another candidate, the officially nonpartisan Ernest "Ernie" Johnson, in the September 30, 2006, nonpartisan blanket primary, said that Patrick "reminded me of Dr. [Martin Luther] King – and our dream for the town of Boyce."
In the primary, Patrick led with 200 ballots (45 percent), to Johnson's 162 votes (36 percent), and McCoy's 83 votes (19 percent). In the November 7 general election, Patrick prevailed over Johnson, 278 votes (58 percent) to 203 ballots (42 percent).
McCoy, who served four four-year terms with Mayor Patrick on the town council, cited Patrick's accomplishments:
- a new town hall
- two new fire stations and firetrucks
- rural development grants for sewage and drainage
- economic development including Boise Cascade and a new Central Louisiana Electric Company plant under construction
- an elementary school named after him in Alexandria, Louisiana
McCoy also said that Patrick "made sure everybody was treated equally. He never looked down on anyone. And he cherished his wife and children just as much as he cherished his community."
Boyce mourns death of Patrick
Ernie Johnson referred to his former opponent's death as "a sad and tragic thing for the town of Boyce, for the family and for the people who loved him so much. Our hearts go out to the family."
Carolyn Aaron, who has worked for the town for some two decades, the past seventeen as the town clerk, said Patrick "can't be replaced. This is a new beginning for the town of Boyce. He taught me just about everything I know about government. Now we have to go on about the business of the town."
Don Wilmore, who has served on the Rapides Parish Police Jury, the parish's governing board [called county commission in most states] for fifteen years in a district that includes Boyce, praised Patrick's accomplishments: "He was especially effective in getting grants. He was a good friend and a good mayor."
Resident Kim Cudd, who has lived in Boyce for about two years, said that Boyce "needs to be cleaned up. It needs a face-lift. . . . We'd like to see our property values go up."
Patrick was an educator for forty-one years, the last thirty-eight in Rapides Parish. He was a science teacher and then a principal, first at Reed Avenue Elementary School in Alexandria, the seat of Rapides Parish, and then at North Bayou Rapides Elementary School.
Ruby Smith, supervisor for the Rapides Parish Child Welfare and Attendance Office, said that Patrick "touched the lives of many, many students, not only in Boyce but across the state. . . . He was an educated politician with Christian values."
Services for Patrick were held on November 30 in the gymnasium of Northwood High School in the community of Lena, north of Boyce. Northwood replaced the former A. Wettermark High School in 1996. More than a thousand mourners attended, including Rapides Parish District Attorney Jam Downs, himself a former town attorney for Boyce. Six ministers, led by the Reverend Joe S. Green, participated, and expressions of condolence were delivered by representatives of Governor Kathleen Blanco's office, the National Conference of Black Mayors and its Louisiana chapter, and the Louisiana Municipal Association.
Patrick was preceded in death by his father, Julius Patrick, Sr., and his mother, the former Ella Belle Wardsworth, and two sisters.
Survivors included his wife, the former Beatrice Jackson (born 1941); one son, Ronald Kevin Patrick (born 1961) and wife Ann Patrick of Garland, Texas; three daughters, Karen Patrick Jones and husband Ed Jones of Shreveport, DiAnthia L. Patrick of Fairfax, Virginia; and Riqui J. Patrick of Silver Spring, Maryland; one brother, Major Williams of Natchitoches, the seat of Natchitoches Parish, and two grandchildren.
Pallbearers included members of Patrick's fraternity, Omega Psi Phi.
Burial was in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Pineville across the Red River from Alexandria. Arrangements were handled by Winnfield Funeral Home of Alexandria.
In the special election held on March 31, 2007, Democrat Donald W. Welch was a runaway winner with 206 votes (62 percent). He defeated Ernie Johnson, who once again ran as a "No Party" candidate and received 66 votes (20 percent). A second Democrat, Rossalin E. Turner Williams, polled 62 votes (19 percent).
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- Julius Patrick remembered, November 28, 2006.[permanent dead link]
- "Arrest in Patrick case, funeral today", November 30, 2006.[permanent dead link]
- "Patrick leaves mark on Rapides Parish education", November 26, 2006.[permanent dead link]
- "Hundreds pay last respects to deceased Boyce mayor", December 1, 2006.[permanent dead link]
- "The Honorable Mayor Julius Patrick", November 29, 2006.[permanent dead link]
- http://www.sos.louisiana.gov:8090/cgibin/?rqstyp=elcpr&rqsdta=09300640[permanent dead link]
- http://www.sos.louisiana.gov:8090/cgibin/?rqstyp=elcpr&rqsdta=11070640[permanent dead link]
- http://www400.sos.louisiana.gov:8090/cgibin/?rqstyp=elcpr&rqsdta=03310740[permanent dead link]
- "boyce mayor julius patrick killed in hit & run crash", November 27, 2006.
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