W. L. Pate, Jr.

July 20, 1948 - June 20, 2021

Wilbur Lee (W.L.) Pate, Jr., entered the world on July 20, 1948, in Beaumont, Texas as the second child and first-born son of Connie Marie and W.L. Pate, Sr. It was in a small, modest duplex on the corner of Magnolia and Live Oak where a 72-year fervent allegiance to the city, state, and country of his birth began. On Sunday, June 20, 2021, he completed his service to his community and nation and began anew in his heavenly home.

W.L. was a patriot who loved his country and believed that the United States, Texas, and Beaumont were worth fighting for through defending one’s country, serving in the halls of government, and supporting your community. His patriotism and love for this country was nurtured by his father and grew with the years. He considered himself blessed to be an American, a Texan, and a citizen of Beaumont.

A U.S. Army Reserve veteran who served his nation for 27 years, he was inducted in 1967 as a private, and retired in 1994 as a Lieutenant Colonel. In 1969 he was commissioned as an infantry officer at Fort Benning, GA. In the years that followed, he served as an Artillery Battery Commander, a Headquarters Commandant for 75th Maneuver Area Command (the largest Army Reserve unit in the US), graduated from Command and General Staff College as a 30-year-old Captain in 1978, and became an Instructor for Command and General Staff College before retiring. Following his honorable discharge, he served his nation again on the Congressional Military Academy Selection Board for 3 Congressman, serving several years as Chairman. The enduring values of the United States Army – Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage were the hallmarks of his public and private life. 

As a son of Beaumont, one of W.L.’s greatest joys was contributing to the welfare and needs of his neighbors and friends in his lifelong hometown. A 14-year city councilman and two-time mayor pro tem, his colleagues and fellow citizens considered him as one of Beaumont’s biggest cheerleaders and ambassadors. As a successful businessman and entrepreneur, he was a tireless advocate for economic development within the community. He was a champion for Lamar University and the Cardinal Club, the Babe Didrikson Zaharias Foundation and Museum, and for downtown Beaumont. These are only a handful of organizations and businesses that W. L. promoted, supported, and served. In January of this year, W. L. represented Beaumont and the Babe Zaharias Foundation in Washington, DC and accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded posthumously to ‘the Babe’ by President Donald Trump. 

His service to God, Country and Community will be his lasting legacy, along with the integrity, honor and duty that he instilled in those he loved and spent time with. His family remembers him as Bubba, a term of endearment that was bestowed by his ‘sweet sister’ Pat Pate Griffith. W. L. (Bubba) was that son, brother, father, uncle, nephew, cousin, and friend who always managed to maintain a positive and optimistic persona leaving one feeling appreciated and loved. He was famous for entertaining his audience with stories full of humor, humility, and that inevitable burst of wisdom. As he was known for saying on his Fox Forum radio show: “Tell ‘em you got it straight from W. L. Pate.”

W.L. recently posted a poem by Heartsill Wilson that his life emulated. 

This is the beginning of a new day.

God has given me this day to use as I will.

I can waste it,

Or use it for good.

What I do today is important,

Because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.


When tomorrow comes,

This day will be gone forever.

Leaving in its place

Something I have traded for it.

I want it to be gain not loss;

good not evil;

SUCCESS not failure;

In order that I shall not regret the price

I paid for it.


Survivors include his daughters Suzanne and Jennifer; his fiancée, Sherrene Danks-Cook; mother of his daughters, Martha Brown Pate; brother Robert Pate (Sandy) and sister Pam Pate; nieces and nephews include Tamara Kelso (Kent), Pate Jones, Devin Riley, Rob Pate (Ashley) and Stefanie Williams; great nephews Paten Jones, Kaeden and Kellan Kelso, aunts Barbara Mattison and Bobbie Baggett and uncles Don Warren (Judith Johnston) and Pat Warren (Judi) along with numerous cousins.

W.L. was preceded in death by his parents, W.L. Sr. and Connie, and his sister Pat Pate Griffith. 

A gathering of Mr. Pate’s Family and Friends will be from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., June 24, 2021, at Broussard’s, 2000 McFaddin Avenue, Beaumont. His funeral service will be 1:00 p.m., Friday, June 25, 2021, at One City Church, 2350 Eastex Freeway, Beaumont, with Military Honors to follow. His interment will be at Houston National Cemetery at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Babe Didrikson Zaharias Foundation, 2135 Brewton Circle, Beaumont, Texas 77706.

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Funeral Service

Funeral Service
  • 2350 Easte xFreeway, Beaumont, Texas
  • 06/25/2021
  • 1:00 pm

Gathering of Family and Friends

Gathering of Family and Friends
  • 2000 mcfaddin street beaumont tx 77701
  • 06/24/2021
  • 11:51 am

Broussard's Mortuary - McFaddin Avenue

Broussard's Mortuary - McFaddin Avenue
  • 2000 mcfaddin avenue beaumont tx 77701

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Linda Lou Romer

Such a talented personable man. He was dedicated to the betterment of Beaumont infrastructure and making Beaumont a place where all ages have quality medical facilities, schools, sports and educational opportunities etc. His city council presence was a sincere effort to unify citizens to be proud of their city whether they were red and yellow black or white. Jennifer and Suzanne you have a legacy to inherit. His love for hIs immediate family and citizens will continue to be special in his heart. I hear the sound of golf balls. Babe and W L NO DOUBT.

Dianne Duperier

Continued prayers for all the family, friends and associates. Have know WL since elementary school. Beaumont has lost one of it favorite sons.!

Jim Rich

Saddened by the news! My prayers are with you! Rest In Peace WL. One of a kind!

Mark Smith

Truly we have loss a great leader for the city of Beaumont and a great friend to this city. We weren’t personal friends but my observation from afar he was a kind caring man and his only agenda was to make Beaumont a better place. Now , mount up with wings and soar, for we are all sure, great is your reward… Condolences to this family.

Richard Glenn

W. L. was one of the 1st persons I met upon moving to Beaumont in 1984 and I'm very proud to say that I've known him and Robert ever since. His faith, family and friends along with his love for the city of Beaumont and Lamar University were the corner stone of his life. I remember when he ran for congress against the late Jack Brooks. W. L. didn't win, but he holds the distinction of being the only Democratic challenger to ever force Brooks into a run off for the congressional nomination of that office in Brooks entire 42 year career! No small feat indeed. He will be missed and leaves behind some awfully big shoes to fill. My heart and prayers are with his family. May God bless and keep you all in this your time of grief.

Jeff H. Williams

We are stunned at the sudden loss of W.L. Our family had a close connection with W. L. through golf and our business for over 30 years. HIs commitment to making Beaumont a better place to live was unending. A great listener and story teller, W.L., communicated his love for Beaumont to all of us who had the pleasure and privilege to know him. Always available to support a good cause, WL personified charity and public service.

Coy Petteway

I was privileged to have known both Sr. and Jr. Two great men and gentlemen! There will never be a more passionate person and he will be missed!

Roxanne Cumpian

WL will be truly missed by his family, friends & community. He was a great guy , who took pride in Beaumont. & loved this city so much! WL always wanted Beaumont to be a better place for families to live & raise their children and grandchildren . Good ole’ WL ! What a wonderful man with a fabulous vision. He will be missed by all. Rest In Peace my friend ☮️

Vickie Styles

My sincere sympathy on the loss of W.L. I met him while in high school and followed him since. He was an awesome man and wise business man.. prayers going out to his family

Herman Robin Grant and Annaliese Gerhardt

Oh such a loss of a great family man, patriot, and friend. The loss of WL to his daughters, family and Sherrene is devastating. So sudden and unbelievable that we will never here his voice or his fun stories ever again. Such a loss to our community, Beaumont was a better place with WL Patei. I remember his radio show one of the slogans was "Get is straight from WL Pate" and that was very true. Now God will be getting it straight from WL Pate. Prayers to his family and friends. We are so very sorry. Herman Robin Grant and Annaliese Gerhardt

Rix Garey

So sad to hear the news. Rest in peace my friend.

Andy Foote

I first met W.L. When I was living in the Alpha Tau Omega house on Lamar campus, many moons ago. He has been a friend and Brother ever since. We have worked together on many Community events jn ghe years since. He treated everyone the same. A plethora of knowledge on the Babe, he fought for her accomplishments in this City and the World. His untimely death will be a great loss to the citizens of Beaumont. Prayers to the Robert and the rest of the family

Jeffrey Watson

So very sorry to learn of W.L.'s passing. Like all the Pate family, Bubba was a wonderful and special person that made Beaumont a better place. My sympathies and prayers are with the family in this time of loss.

Lola Burgess, Exec. V.P. Silsbee Chamber of Commerce, Retired - Bob Burgess, Hardin County Commissioner, Retired - Oak Island, North Carolina

Back in the day in Hardin County and Silsbee we had the privilege of working with W..L. in SET, .INC. and on other Jefferson, Hardin, and Orange County Committees in economic development projects in our 3-county area. Our friendship with him was special and ongoing for many years. After we moved back home to N.C. we read the Enterprise on line regularly and were so proud to see his continued hard work on behalf of the City of Beaumont and the area. as a member of the City Council. He was a leader in Southeast Texas and he will be greatly missed by those who knew him and worked with him.

Nancy Perry

I am so sorry for the loss of W. L. He was a very sweet person who will be missed by many people. I am praying for the family.

Jason Wade Ap;odaca

Myself, my wife, my children - we are deeply saddened by your loss. Thank you for everything you did for me and my family, you are a great man - we will miss you! I love you W. L.!!!

Ryche Doyle-Odak

I would like to send condolences to the Pate family. Especially to Pamela Pate. 2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.. May these words comfort you in this time of sorrow.

Cathy and Buzz Long

Robert and Sandra, Jennifer and Suzanne and Sherrene, Buzz and I have no words to tell you how we feel about your loss of W L. The city will miss him, Lamar will miss him and the Babe Zaharias Museum will miss him but nothing like all of you. Our prayers are with you all and we will be there with/for you if at all possible.

Candy Mathis Hollis

Pamela and Robert Wayne, Please know that you and your family have my deepest sympathy. This is a great loss on so many levels * Candy Torrence Hollis

Kathy Lynn

My heart goes out to the family. Rest In Peace WL

Dr. Ed Collins

I loved Bubba and his daddy. He will be missed but he is safe in the arms of Jesus.

Robert L. Reyna, Former Executive Director, Beaumont Housing Authority

I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of WL. From the time of my arrival in Beaumont in 2003 until the time of my retirement in 2018, he was one of my staunchest supporters and cheerleaders. Beaumont has truly lost a huge champion for the city. My deepest sympathies go out to the Pate family and to the city of Beaumont.



Bobby and Sara Celli

We are so very sorry for your loss! Bubba was a great guy and the best champion for Beaumont.. He will be missed!

Randall L. and Emily Fluke

Our hearts go out to all of the beloved family of this stalwart Christian man, champion of Beaumont, proud Band of Brothers Veteran, Emily and Send our deepest condolences and love, praying that our Lord will surround and comfort you with friends and loved ones who are part of WL’s great legacy. Knowing that he is extolling the virtues of Southeast Texas in Heaven brings a smile to me as my heart grieves his loss. With deepest sympathies , Emily and COL (ret) Randall L Fluke

Melanie Maxwell Rivers

Dear Pam, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Bubba, it is a great one. I hope that your good memories bring you comfort. My condolences to you and Robert.

Bobby and Mary Smith

We are sending prayers and condolences to all the Pate family. W.l. was a perfect example of a life well lived. He will be missed by so many

Kathy and Richard Karnes

Such a devastating loss to WL ‘s family, friends and the city of Beaumont. Such a shock . We knew him as Bubba and will always remember his big smile , stories and his love of Beaumont. Rest In Peace my friend . A job well done .

Scott and Pam Shelander

We are saddened by the death of WL. Beaumont, Lamar, and the Zaharias museum have each lost a great champion. Prayers for comfort and peace for his family and loved ones.

Veronica K Book

May he rest in peace. My prayers and condolences go out to Jennifer and the rest of the Pate family..

Jim Wallace

Deeply sorry to hear of the passing of my lifelong friend Bubba Pate. He and his dad were champions for Beaumont and lived lives of remarkable service! We disagreed sometimes on politics, but our relationship was too big for that to make any difference. His life and service to his community went so far beyond politics. May God, whom you trusted and served to well, welcome you and say "Well done good and faithful servant!" Deepest sympathy to the family. I live in Virginia now now and cannot make it to the service. But will take time to think of him at that moment.

Retha Duke

Prayers for the family.

Mark Katy Jefferson

What a shock and loss, WL was one of a “kind” man, giving so much expecting little for his efforts, he will truly be missed by so many in our community, my prayers for his family, soar with the angels WL, we love you!


He always had a hug, a charming smile, and a joke for everyone! Growing up as cousins, I always looked up to him. Love you, Bubba!

Darlene Baize Hall

Rest in Peace WL We are thankful to know you your FHS buddy prayers to his family

Robert Bertrand

What a great loss for the city of Beaumont , Lamar University and The Babe Zaharias Foundation!! RIP WL...My prayers are with Sherrene and the entire Pate family.

Lonnie Howard

From one soldier to another, do rest easy. Former U.S. Army Sgt. (and President of LIT). To the Pate family, please accept my sincerest condolences.

Angie & King Campbell

We were so shocked to hear of Bubba's passing. King was a schoolmate and I worked on his campaign against Jack Brooks. Later he introduced us and ultimately King and I married in 1982.. He will always have part of our hearts and we are so sad for his family.. Our prayers will continue for the loss to, not only his friends & family,, but to the city of Beaumont..

Julee Baldridge

I remember when I first met Bubba 40 years ago when he and his dad walked off the elevator at the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce. Always with that charming smile for all he met, he made you feel that you were the most important person in the world. Like everyone who met him, Bubba became a lifelong friend and I was fortunate to have known his genuine kindness, child-like sense of fun and unbridled love for Jennifer and Suzanne. I was proud to know him and will always remember the spotlight that shined so brightly on him when he was surrounded by friends as he entertained us all with his stories, his love for his fellow man and his true intellect. You will be missed my sweet friend.

Kathy Scofield

Bubba was such a kind and caring man and had the ability (like all the Pate family) to make you feel like you were part of their family.. He truly had a servants’s heart and he will be missed by his family , his friends and his community.

Jim / Peggy Brown

So shocked to hear about WL. He was a wonderful kind caring man,He will be missed.by all who knew him. He will be greatly missed. Our deepest sympathy to the family. .May He RIP

Cornelus Doornbos III

Mr. Pate was a good person in all aspects.. He cared for Beaumont and wanted the best for people. Also, thank you for your service. Rest In Peace Mr. Pate!

mike cacioppo

W L was one the friendliest people in Beaumont. He always never failed to say hello or a kind word which i appreciated. I am especially thankful to him for his service in promoting the Babe. Thank you for your kindness & your support of our city throughout the years. The family has my prayers. mike cacioppo

Farrell & Debbie Smith

Our deepest sympathies to W. L.'s family. This is a terrible loss for everyone who knew W. L. and the entire community of Beaumont, Texas. I met W. L. Pate, Jr. when we were undergraduate students at Lamar University. We became friends and later served together as commissioned officers in the U. S. Army Reserve. His involvement in the Reserve Officers Association of the United States was very important to him because of their presence in Washington, D. C. supporting the Reserve Components . He remained an active voice for the Reserve Components throughout his life. We were assigned to the 75th Maneuver Area Command in Houston, Texas where he was the Headquarters Commandant. This was a very difficult duty slot, but he sought out those type positions to improve his unit and those who were under his command. During this time we were able to travel the United States conducting Command Post Exercises and Field Training Exercises. Some of the "garden spots" he would call them was Fort Hood, Tex, Fort Smith, Ark and Camp Ripley, Minn. Regardless of the places or conditions, he would make every effort to make sure everyone benefited from the experience. Because he was qualified in both combat arms and combat support, he was welcome to go on with any Exercise Unit in the 75th MAC. His military knowledge and experience was highly valued by all General Officers who worked with him. He was one of the best commissioned officers in the U. S. Army. As everyone knows, he continued to serve his community and country after his retirement. W. L. Pate, Jr. will be missed.

Sandra Womack

The lights in Beaumont became a little less bright with the loss of WL. He spoke at several Veteran events and the knowledge of military history as well as other topics were amazing. RIP Patriot. Praying for the family.

Arline Meyers and Nancy Meyers

WL was one of the finest men the City of Beaumont ever had. He loved this city and all it's constituents, and the work he did will be remembered always. He will be missed. Our prayers go out to his family.

Stacey E Savino

So sad at the loss of my longtime supporter. He told everyone how he loved my singing and was a wonderful friend. Praying for his family.

Susan Ingram

We were saddened to hear of WL's passing. He was always so friendly. He truly loved Beaumont and worked so hard to make it a great place. Our sympathy and prayers go out to his family. He will be missed.

Cheryl Williams

Our deepest sympathy to the family of our fellow Comrade and Legionnaire’, , W.L. Pate. We are continuously praying for his family and friends. Rest well Comrade!! Dorie E. Miller Post #817

Mary Munro and Jarrell Vivrett

Our condolences to Jennifer, Suzanne and all the family and those left behind.. Sadden by his passing, we will remember him for the all the good works he did for this community.

Ron Proctor

W.L. (Bubba as I have always called have called him) and I have been friends since we were 7 years old. Our families were friends and attended church together for many years. He always had a positive attitude and great sense of humor. Beaumont lost a great ambassador. I will miss him very much.

Barbara Speed

Please accept our deepest condolences in the loss of our friend, Bubba. He was always kind, always friendly, always loving. My prayers are with Pam, Robert, his precious daughters, Sherenne and the rest of this precious family. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him. May the Lord carry you through the days and months ahead with His peace and mercy. ✝️

Margaret Park Cross

I was saddened to hear the news! Beaumont had lost a true champion! My heart goes out to Bubba’s friends and family.

Johnny & Sharon Passmore

Sending lots of prayers for this special family today. May our dear friend Rest In Peace. He gave his all and will truly be missed ❤️

Deborah G. Mallett

My heart goes out to the family. WL was such a great leader and personal friend to our family. He will be greatly missed. On behalf of the Mallett Family we extend our condolences and prayers.

Mitch Hickman

Rest in peace Sir. Mr. Pate gave me valuable points in how to debate and speak to an audience when challenged Charlie Wilson. From the heart Mitch. Speak from the heart and you will not need note cards or a teleprompter. Bubba was right.

Don & Syble Jeffcoat

We will miss you, Bubba! Rest in peace. Prayers to WL's family.

Sue Skinner

I was sad to hear of Bubba's passing. I went to work for him at Trailways Bus Station in the mid 70's. As an 18 year old newlywed, this was my first job. He was Bubba, WL was his dad. He was a good boss, expected the work to be done but was easy going. Robert was starting his hot shot delivery service, delivering freight from & to the bus station. Now when I see a Pate Delivery truck around town, it reminds me of when Robert was just starting. Pat's son, Pate, worked there also. I later got to know Pam working at the phone company and we went to church together for a time. Through the years, Bubba was always the same friendly guy anytime we saw him. He always spoke, had that big grin and a hand shake or hug. He was proud to be a Beaumont native and a Lamar alumni and wanted only the best for both. I was not surprised when he went into politics. That was his way of making a difference. I pray for his wife, for Jennifer & Suzanne, for Robert & Pam and extended family. May God fill your hearts with His peace and with sweet memories of Bubba. My husband of 45 years passed away last Aug. I'm sure he was at heaven's gate to greet his friend Bubba. Until we meet again.