R. Gordon Pate
1947 - 2020
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Robert Gordon Pate of Birmingham, AL. passed away peacefully surrounded by his devoted wife, Shawnie Pate, and his loving family, on June 27, 2020. He was 72 years old. Born on September 20, 1947, to James Willard Pate and Martha Carolyn Pate, Gordon was raised on Pine Mountain with his only sibling, James Gary Pate, until the family moved to Gardendale in 1956. He started school on Pine Mountain in a one-room schoolhouse and went on to graduate from Phillips High School in 1965, the University of Alabama in 1969, and Samford University's Cumberland School of Law in 1974. In 1969 he married Lenora Pate with whom he had two sons, Gavin McShan Pate and Robert Ashby Pate. For more than 45 years, Gordon was an attorney who represented thousands of injured individuals and gained a reputation for being one of the best trial lawyers in Alabama. He was elected to many prestigious organizations, including the International Society of Barristers, whose highly selective membership is extended only to lawyers of exceptional talent and whose qualities include integrity, honor, and collegiality. He was admired by advocates on both sides, respected by judges and jurors alike, and esteemed by the many lawyers he trained up along the way. Gordon loved Shakespeare, the theater, great literature, gourmet food and wine, and sports. He quoted obscure verses from William Shakespeare and Jimmy Buffett on demand; he could name every member of the 1969 Mets for some reason; and he played some of the most legendary golf courses in the world. A self-taught gourmet, he prepared meals with some of the finest chefs in the country at the many charity auctions he helped champion, and he drank wine with some of the most celebrated wine makers of our age. His depth of interest and knowledge in all subjects-from politics and religion to the arts and the law-displayed a unique and expansive intellect and an appetite for the beauty of the world. He was known by his five grandchildren-Mason, Beckett, Rhea, Oa, and Veda Rose-as "Pops." They loved him dearly. He coached football at Phillips High School in the early 1970's, as well as his sons' little league teams throughout the 1980s-so he was also known by hundreds of young men in Birmingham simply as "Coach." He was one of life's true originals, and he will be sorely missed by all who survive him-his wife Shawnie, his brother Gary, his sons Gavin and Ashby, his many grandchildren, his extended family, and his devoted friends. Because of the current public health crisis, a celebration of his life will be planned for a later date. Instead of flowers, Gordon would want you to wake up and vote for someone other than Donald Trump.

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Published in The Birmingham News from Jun. 27 to Jun. 28, 2020.
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14 entries
July 3, 2020
Shawnie, Ashby and family, we are saddened to hear of Gordons passing. Please except our virtual hugs along with deepest condolences.
The obituary brought his exuberant personality to life - a noble way to be remembered. Hoping that the good memories see you through these difficult times. See you at the voting booth!
Cindy & Charlie Thigpen
Acquaintance
July 3, 2020
Gordon and I shared a laugh at the courthouse about 3 years ago ... funny man and good guy, even though we usually were on opposite sides. He will be missed.
John D. Gleissner
June 30, 2020
A classmate, teammate and friend from Little League through U of A. A unique person; He will be missed. RIP Gordon.
Robert Brantley
Friend
June 29, 2020
Shawnee and family, I am so deeply sorry for the loss of Gordon. He was a talented guy and a gentleman . Praying for you and your family during this sad time ❤❤
Suzanne Nicholson
Classmate
June 29, 2020
So very sorry for your loss. As a court reporter, I had the pleasure of working with Gordon many times through the years. What a kind gentleman he was and treated everyone with utmost respect. He will surely be missed. May you be comforted by his life so well lived.
Sallie NeSmith Gunter
June 29, 2020
Always enjoyed his endless energy and true love of life.
Paula Rookis
Friend
June 29, 2020
So sorry for the loss. I have wonderful memories of growing up with Gordon and knowing his Family. We played baseball together in Little League and went to Phillips High School together. The world is a lesser place for his loss. R.I.P. Gordon.....
Bill Brantley
Friend
June 28, 2020
Grief can be so hard, but our special memories help us cope. Remembering you and your loved one today and always.
Pamela Carr
Family
June 28, 2020
I used to call Mr. Pate Gordo. It got me an easy smile. We met by way of a mutual love of theatre, specifically Muse of Fires Macbeth. He was a gentle soul, and we bonded easily, made even easier by Gordons generous compliments. I hadnt seen him in many years, but we kept in touch long after that great experience. My prayers are with the family in this most difficult time. I truly am sorry for your loss, but I know he was well loved, and ever will be by all who knew him. Blessings to your family.
Lesli Johnson
Friend
June 28, 2020
Shawnie, Gavin, Ashby and Family: My very sincere condolences on Gordons passing! He was such a bigger than life person and he will be sorely missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him! I have really missed his FB posts! Eternal be his memory!✝
Maria Paulson Derzis
Classmate
June 28, 2020
Gordon was larger than life itself. An inspiration to all and a friend to multitudes. The world is a little dimmer without his his bright smile and beautiful laugh. My sincerest condolences to his family and friends.
Rebecca Haack
Friend
June 28, 2020
Gordon and I have always been on the opposite sides in politics, but we just elected to focus on our friendship and enjoyment of good wine and food. We shared many great meals and fantastic bottles together. I last spoke to Gordon by phone a couple of years ago. I wish we had visited with him recently to see if there was anything I could have done for my great friend. My best wishes to his children and wife.
Stacy Childs, M.D.
Friend
June 28, 2020
So sorry and surprised to hear about Gordon. He always kept us laughing with his antics!
Marga Jones
Neighbor
June 28, 2020
ne of my happiest intellectual experiences as an English professor was discussing Shakespeare with Gordon Pate. Characters were alive for him and he made them alive for others. We lost a good and generous mam. Good night, Sweet Prince. . .
Nancy Whitt
Friend
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