|Julius Patrick, Jr.|
1978 – November 26, 2006
|Succeeded by||Donald W. Welch|
|Born|| May 16, 1938|
|Died|| November 26, 2006 (aged 68)|
Near Gramercy, Ascension Parish, Louisiana
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Pineville, Louisiana|
|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 rural Boyce in northern Rapides Parish in central Louisiana, who died in a head-on collision in a chain-reaction accident on Interstate 10 near Gramercy in Ascension Parish in south Louisiana. Patrick was first elected in 1978 as the mayor of Boyce. 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 his native Alexandria.
Motorist Mercuria J. S. Colomb (born 1978) of St. Rose in St. Charles Parish near New Orleans 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 sports utility vehicle. The impact caused 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 and injury and improper lane usage. She left the crash scene headed east on Interstate 10.
Accomplishments as mayor
Boyce Democratic Councilman Kelvin V. McCoy (born 1963), who ran against Patrick and another candidate, Ernest "Ernie" Johnson, in the September 30, 2006, primary election, 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 on the council under Mayor Patrick, cited Patrick's achevements:
- a new town hall
- two new fire stations and fire trucks
- rural development grants for sewerage and drainage
- economic development including the Boise Cascade plant and a new Central Louisiana Electric Company plant under construction
- an elementary school named for 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."
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.
Greg Aymond, who studied science at Poland High School in Rapides Parish, recalled that Patrikc, who was sent to Poland school from the former A. Wettermark High School in Boyce during the beginning of desegrregation, was"one of those typest of teachers that they make movies about. He took great interest in his students and was wdely lked by all. I remember his science class gave him a surprise birthday part, the size of which I do not rcall for other teachers.
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, 2006, 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 then Rapides Parish District Attorney Jam Downs, himself a former town attorney for Boyc for fifteen years. Six ministers, led by the Reverend Joe S. Green, participated, and expressions of condolence were received from 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, Louisiana, and two grandchildren.Pallbearers included members of Patrick's fraternity, Omega Psi Phi.
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).
- We saw that ... Boyce Mayor Julius Patrick killed in hit & run crash. Wesawthat ... Rpbert Morgan, The Alexandria Town Talk (November 27, 2006). Retrieved on April 14, 2019.
- Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns: Rapides Parish, September 30, 2006.
- Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns: Rapides Parish, November 7, 2006.
- "Patrick leaves mark on Rapides Parish education", The Alexandria Town Talk, November 26, 2006.
- "Hundreds pay last respects to deceased Boyce mayor",The Alexandria Town Talk, December 1, 2006.
- Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns: Rapides Parish, March 31, 2007.