Walter M. Patrice

Died: Sun., Dec. 16, 2018


10:00 AM to 11:00 AM, Fri., Dec. 21, 2018
Location: St. Mark A.M.E Zion Church

Funeral Service

11:00 AM Fri., Dec. 21, 2018
Location: St. Mark A.M.E Zion Church

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Walter M. Patrice was born in Hoboken, New Jersey on October 14, 1919 to his proud parents John and Unetta Patrice. The family moved to Poughkeepsie, New York when Walter was 6 months old where he spent his formative years attending local schools. At Poughkeepsie High School, he excelled at football and baseball. He attended Johnson C. Smith College in Charlotte, North Carolina where he excelled at football so well that he was inducted into their Sports Hall of Fame. He attended Howard University and was captain of the baseball team.

  Heeding his country's call to duty during World War II, he enlisted into the Army as a Private in 1942. He was commissioned as an officer in 1943 and served overseas in the Mediterranean theater. His four brothers also served in the armed services at the same time. Although the war ended in 1945, he continued to serve in the military until he was discharged as a First Lieutenant in 1946. That same year he and his sweetheart Myrtle, whom he met in Louisiana, were married in the Smith Metropolitan AME Zion Church in Poughkeepsie. At the time of her death in 2010, they celebrated 64 years of marriage.

  As the AME church's historian, Walter was the driving force behind the church receiving Federal and New York State's designation as a National Historic Site in 1992.He was honored on November 11.2018 at the 182nd church anniversary for service to country and church.

  As a concerned citizen, Walter served on the Recreation Commission in Poughkeepsie for 12 years and the Poughkeepsie Planning Board for 5 years. His ideas and expertise were instrumental in the growth and changes for the City of Poughkeepsie. Walter Patrice is the most senior Catharine Street Community Center's "kid." His tenure and time had been as both a participant and leader in the programs and activities of this organization. This includes board membership and Interim Executive Director. He continued to inspire children and the staff at the Center. Mr. Patrice was honored by the Community Center in 1994 with the Martin Luther King, Jr. award for his Service to the Center and the Poughkeepsie community.

  He served on the board of the Dutchess County Historical Society and was one of the founders of the Black History Project Committee. The society commemorated 2018 as the year of the veteran. He was the recipient of a special award for a lifetime of leadership. He was also a continuing member of the Executive Men's Club of Poughkeepsie.

  Mr. Patrice received a plaque from Poughkeepsie's Warring Academy of Science and Technology in June 2005 for enlightening kindergarten through 5th grade students about the Civil War and World War II. He was named the Assistant Principal Emeritus at the school. His knowledge and interest in World War II was shared with students at Vassar College.

  In 1952, his 33 years career began at IBM in Poughkeepsie. He was in manufacturing and was an assistant in the ·Equal Opportunity Department in East Fishkill. He administered the company's Faculty Loan Program which loaned technical employees to minority colleges. He was an instructor in Management Development in his last year at the Kenyon House in Poughkeepsie. Mr. Patrice retired from IBM in 1985. He was a member of the American Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

  Among his other honors are induction into the Dutchess County Baseball Hall of Fame and the Dutchess County Sports Museum Hall of Fame. He was a member of the Colored Troops Museum of Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York. Upsilon Tau Chapter of the Omega Fraternity, Inc. recognized him for his military, social and community contributions with a citation presented on November 12, 2011.

  Walter, affectionately known as "Toot" to his many friends, continued to be an inspiration to everyone who knew him. He imparted his knowledge to everyone who wanted to learn about history from one who knew and loved it.

  Walter was predeceased by his loving wife Myrtle, his daughter Linda, his parents and eight siblings. He is survived his son Richard and his wife Sharon of Park Forest, Illinois; grandchildren Keyshla and Calandra of Poughkeepsie, Kianna of Park Forest; great-grandchildren Kerron, Zayirah and Ameena all of Poughkeepsie, as well as a host of nieces and nephews.

  In lieu of flowers donations in his honor may be sent to Dutchess County Historical Society, DCHS PO Box 88, Poughkeepsie NY 12602.

  Calling hour will be Friday December 21, 2018 from 10-11am at St. Mark AME Zion Church, 73 Pershing Ave., Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 with a funeral service beginning at 11am. Entombment to follow in Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery Mausoleum. Arrangements have been entrusted with Joseph J. Darrow Sr. Funeral Home Inc. To send online condolences, please visit

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Condolence Booklet

   Posted Wed December 19, 2018
I send my sincere sympathy to Walt's family and friends. I was in Poughkeepsie High School (class of 1940) when he was the star athlete. I've known him all my life and he has my greatest respect. Ed Fitchett

John Pavlos
   Posted Wed December 19, 2018
My sincere sympathy to his family. I’ve known Walt for 40 years as a long-time customer and friend of Smith Street Hot Dogs. He was a great man, who had a great mind. He was the icon of Poughkeepsie. He will be missed. John Pavlos

Nancy Norman Green
   Posted Thu December 20, 2018
Remembering all the good times. Rest in Peace, Toot. Nancy, Chris and Peter Green

Joe Valastro
   Posted Thu December 20, 2018
I met Walt at IBM and participated in a management course he taught. I had many conversations with him and found him to be an individual who loved what he did, friendly and very intelligent. He was without a doubt an icon in Poughkeepsie. My condolences to his family and friends. May he Rest in Peace!

ichard McHugh
   Posted Thu December 20, 2018
Thank you Walt for a life well served. You lived a great life.

maria hoehn
   Posted Sun December 23, 2018
At Vassar we will miss Walter, who so generously shared his stories with us. I interviewed Walter for a book I wrote on the contributions of African American soldiers in WWII and to the civil rights struggle. I was grateful when he agreed to participate in a documentary on that history that was shown on Smithsonian TV and in Germany. My students and I will not forget this kind and amazing man.

Peter Forman
   Posted Thu December 27, 2018
Walter and I met about ten years ago when we worked on a committee that honored the memory of the late Hon. Jane Bolin. We would see each other for lunch and I always enjoyed his stories and his positive outlook on life. When I ran for County Court Judge in 2010, Walter was the co-chair of my campaign. A sharp dresser, I never saw him without
a dress shirt and tie. I will miss seeing him at Alex's and around town. I extend my deepest condolences to his family.

Fredericka Joy Colden Dunning
   Posted Mon December 31, 2018
I have very fond memories of Mr. 'P. He and his wife have opened their home to my family. He was man of good character. I'll never forget the time when I sent him my college graduation invitation. He then took the invitation to PHS and showed the AP, which put a big smile on her face. Please accept my condolences. He was loved and he will be missed.