Beloved husband of Beth Hayworth Echols and beloved father of Ruth Carter Echols and husband, Bill Johnson, M. Patton Echols, III and wife, Karylinn Echols, Thomas Tucker Echols and wife, Sheila Enright and Susan Campbell Echols, died July 26, 2012 after a brief battle with cancer. He was a former Virginia State Senator and long time attorney in Arlington County, Virginia.
The second of four children, Pat was born October 1, 1925 at Schofield Barracks, Oahu, the Territory of Hawaii. He completed his primary education at Christ School in Arden North Carolina and matriculated at the Virginia Military Institute. He was valedictorian of the Class of 1945 at VMI, winning the Jackson Hope medal, the highest award of the Institute.
Pat began his engineering career at the York Corporation. After completing his training program, he was selected to teach mathematics and civil engineering portions to the next training class. The first phase of his civil engineering career was cut short by induction into the the army at the onset of the Korean war. He was assigned to the Corps of Engineers where he attended Officer Candidate School and was commissioned in 1951. Pat retired from active duty following the Korean Conflict, but served as a reserve officer for several decades until he retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Pat returned to the York Corporation assignments in Philadelphia and Wilmington, he was transferred to Washington D.C. During this time he met Susanne Stokes in the Young Adults group of Christ Episcopal Church, Georgetown. They were married at Christ Church in November of 1956. During these years Pat turned his attention to politics and law. He worked for York during the day and attended law school at George Washington University at night, receiving his law degree in 1958. Pat began the practice of law in Arlington, Virginia shortly thereafter. Although the law was his primary vocation for the rest of his life, he was proud of his engineering career and maintained his engineer’s license until his death.
The early years of Pat and Sue’s marriage were filled with a budding legal career, growing political activism and four children: Ruth Carter Echols, born in December 1957, Marion Patton Echols, III, born in June 1960, Thomas Tucker Echols, born in April 1962, and Susan Campbell Echols, born in December 1965.
Pat was a life long Republican and began his political career as a precinct captain, and later party chairman in Arlington. In 1963, he ran for one of the three seats allocated to Arlington in the Virginia House of Delegates finishing fifth. In March of 1969 he was elected to the Virginia Senate and remains the only Republican to represent Arlington in the Senate. When Mills Godwin ran for Governor in 1973, Pat was drafted to join the ticket as the candidate for Attorney General. Of that campaign he said, “I was not expected to win, and lived up to expectations.” Though he remained interested in and a counselor to those involved in political work, he retired from active politics soon after.
Pat was always fond of music, beginning his singing career in the church choir at age 5. He continued in various church choirs as an active participant until months before his death. Many evenings were spent with his children singing from the hymnal as he played piano. When vocalists were not available, he played a wide variety of music from Mozart and Bach to Gilbert and Sullivan. He spent many an afternoon banging out the piano rags of Scott Joplin.
Along his performing at church and at home, Pat was active in supporting the musical arts. He was president of The Washington Savoyards, and served on the board of the Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia.
Some years after his divorce from Sue in 1990, Pat met Beth McLaren. Pat and Beth were married in September of 2005 at McLean Baptist Church and made their home in McLean Virginia. Pat and Beth made a great team and had a love that grew deeper over the years.
Throughout his life, Pat had many and varied interests. He served on the Board of Directors of Christ School, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, and The Arlington Optimist Club (in which he was also a Charter Member and Past President). He was a Life member of the Isaac Walton League, the Retired Officers Association, the Arlington Historical Association, the Optimist Club, the Amateur Trapshooting Association, and the Azalea Society of America. He also was a member of the Military order of the Carabao.
Along with his wife and children, he is survived by a sister, Elizabeth Walter-Echols, three grandchildren, C. Amanda Jalaty, Daniel Ward Echols and Molly Angela Echols and two step-grandchildren, Sara E. Johnson and Anna L. Johnson.
A memorial service and celebration of his life will be held Tuesday, July 31, 2012, at 2 P.M. at Grace Episcopal Church, 3601 Russell Road, Alexandria, VA 22305. His ashes will be buried in the Echols Family plot at the University of Virginia Cemetery in Charlottesville, Va. on Wednesday, August 1, 2012 at 11:30 A.M. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Music Fund of Grace Episcopal Church, the Arlington Optimist Club, P.O. Box 224, Arlington, VA 22210 or the Leena Lavanya Trust,servicetrust.org