Olen B. Pate, 90, of Gainesville, passed away peacefully July 3,2013.
He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Voncille; sisters, Ruth Williams of Columbus, Ga., and Melba Andrews of Panama City; sons, Ken of Gainesville, and Stephen of Wesley Chapel and grandchildren, Lt. Commander Andrew Pate of Mt. Vernon, Va., Dr. Ryan Pate of Phoenix, Az., Kristen Yates of Pensacola, Spec. David Pate of Columbus, Ga., and 2nd Lt. Patrick Pate of Oxford, Miss.
Nicknamed "Bo", Olen was born in Greensboro, Ala., on Feb. 22, 1923 but soon moved to Florida where he spent the majority of his life. The second oldest of six children, Olen graduated from Holmes County High School in April of 1940 and soon thereafter enlisted in the U.S. Navy
where he served as a communications yeoman aboard the battleship North Carolina (BB-55). Having seen action in the pacific during the Gilbert and Solomon Island campaigns of WW II, Olen returned stateside under the Navy's V-12 college training program to become an officer and received his BS degree from Troy University in 1947. After the war, Olen continued his education and graduated with an MS degree from Vanderbilt University
in August of 1948. After a brief period teaching in Missouri, Olen returned to Florida in 1952 where he joined the mathematics department at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School in Gainesville. He taught there until 1966 when he accepted an inaugural position in the mathematics department at Santé Fe College. Olen retired from teaching in 1988. An avid angler, Olen enjoyed many days fishing the flats and offshore waters between Cedar Key and Crystal River. He loved the mountains of north Georgia and North Carolina and spent many vacations there. He was extremely proud of his family and rarely missed an opportunity to talk about his grandchildren. Part of America's greatest generation, his enthusiasm for life and kind heart will be deeply missed.
A celebration of his life was held July 13 at 1 p.m., at the WILLIAMS-THOMAS FUNERAL HOME DOWNTOWN Chapel, 404 N Main Street, Gainesville, Florida. Family received guests one hour prior at 12 p.m. Interment followed with military honors at Forest Meadows Cemetery, 4100 NW 39th Avenue, Gainesville, Florida. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Olen's name to Haven Hospice, 4200 NW 90th Blvd, Gainesville, Florida 32606.