MAURICE CONWAY PATRICK, 89
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LAKE ALFRED - Maurice Conway Patrick of Lake Alfred, FL died of natural causes March 21, 2013, and was called by our Lord into "the wild blue yonder."
A well-known name in the Central Florida citrus industry, Maurice was born in Paisley on February 22, 1924 to parents, John Wilson Patrick (World War I veteran) and Sarah Lulu Patrick (nee Griffin). He was one of six brothers of whom only three survived. He is preceded in death by his older siblings, Gerald Rentz Patrick and John Wendell Patrick. Maurice attended a small two-room Paisley schoolhouse for elementary school and transitioned to Umatilla High School in 1937 to begin 9th grade, where he played baseball and was very active in the local 4 H Club. In 1938, the family moved to Eustis and Maurice began dating Margaret Treadway (who would later become his wife) and after graduation the two would temporarily go their separate ways as Margaret began college at Stetson while he left to attend the University of Florida.
World War II escalated in Europe and after the bombing at Pearl Harbor, Maurice enlisted in the United States Army Air Corp in January of 1943. He finished basic training at Keesler Field in Biloxi and reported for training at the aerial gunnery school in Laredo, Texas, where he graduated and received his gunners' wings. He attended Radio School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and later moved to Miami Beach for aviation cadet orientation. Subsequently Maurice received orders for pre-flight and classification at Santa Anna AFB, California and after qualifying for all three programs, he pursued Navigation training at Hondo Army Air Base where he graduated and received his Officer's Bars. Assigned to a B-24 crew, the team continued on to their final destination of Cerignola, Italy, where his 459th Bomb Group was stationed. During his WWII service, Maurice flew 35 missions over Europe and would quickly be assigned as the Nose Navigator on the lead aircraft in the Squadron and later as a group or deputy lead. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters.
After receiving his honorable discharge, Maurice returned to the University of Florida in 1946 where he married his long-time love and wife of 66 years, Margaret Treadway Patrick and utilized his GI Bill to eventually graduate with a degree in Agriculture. He accepted a job advertising Florida citrus, joined the Air Force Reserve where he did some flying of KC-135 Tankers. He would be recalled to active duty in 1951 due to the Korean War. His family relocated to MacDill Air Base in Tampa, while he completed 21 months of duty. Maurice worked as a groves manager for family and later he and Margaret would purchase grove-land of their own. He worked for W.R. Grace for 30 years. Their two children, Linda Radel (nee Patrick) and Maurice Conway Patrick, Jr., were born in 1949 and 1951 respectively. The family would go on to enjoy vacationing Revolutionary and Civil War sites when the children were young and attend UF football games later when Maurice and Margaret joined the UF Boosters Association. Once the children went to college, the Patricks undertook a significant amount of foreign travel and participating in yearly Bomb Group Reunions.
Maurice is survived by his two children, Linda Radel of Tallahassee (husband Bill) and Maurice of Windermere (wife Donna), as well as grandchildren Nyssa Radel, Ashley Eury (husband Seth), Amanda Patrick, and Gavin Patrick (wife Laura), two great granddaughters and two great grandsons.
He was a patriot, military enthusiast, avid Gator fan and family man. He will be sorely missed but his memory lives in our hearts.
A private family memorial service will take place in the future at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida.
Published in Ledger from Apr. 9 to Apr. 10, 2013