Remembering Joan Pate

Published 5:04 pm Monday, November 20, 2023

Martha Joan Holland Pate, a beloved member of the Lowndes County community, passed away peacefully at her home in Lowndesboro on Nov. 7 at the age of 92, leaving behind a legacy that won’t soon be forgotten.

Her son, Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate, said that he would not be the man he is today without the guidance of his mother.

“I wouldn’t be commissioner if she [Joan] hadn’t instilled a love of politics in me,” Rick Pate said. “She was really involved and saw that we had a responsibility to give back to the community. She always had a legacy of being involved and trying to give back.”

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Joan was an active member in the community, often leading Girl Scouts troops, engaging in political contests, and even running for the Alabama House of Representative in 1966. She was an active member of the Lowndesboro Baptist Church, the Alabama Womans Missionary Union, an auxiliary to the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, and the Lowndesboro Heritage Society.

She also assisted in the running of Pate Charolais Ranch, her family’s cattle farm in Lowndes County, and became president of the Alabama Cattlewomen’s Association in 1982 where she was later inducted into their Hall of Honor. 

Rick described the type of person his mother was both behind the scenes and in public, touching on her outgoing personality and genuine love for getting to know those around her.

“Mom was the type of person that when you left a restaurant, she knew the names and how many children the server had,” Rick Pate said. “She was really in touch with people and loved getting to know them. Even as a kid my friends loved both of my parents, they would always have them over for supper and speak to them and get to know them”

Joan’s daughter, Vivian Garrett, spoke of her mother’s loving nature and expressed the depth of how much she will be missed by her loved ones.

“She was an incredibly loving woman who will be missed by all who knew her,” Garrett said. “She was exceptional in her love and kindness to everyone, placing her faith solely in Jesus Christ. She and Harold [Joan’s late husband] had an unbelievably wonderful life. For decades she sent out hundreds of Christmas cards with pictures of as many family members as she could get together before in her later years, sending encouraging birthdays cards to others. While she is in a better place, Joan will be missed. What a legacy she leaves to all her family and friends!”

Joan Pate leaves behind five children, twenty-four grandchildren, twenty-three great-grandchildren, and a multitude of neighbors and friends who cherished and adored her.