Dr. James Arthur Patrick III


DECEMBER 24, 1933 – MARCH 3, 2024

The Funeral Mass for Dr. Patrick will be held on Thursday, March 21st, at 7:00 p.m., at Mater Dei Catholic Church, 2030 East State Highway 356, Irving, Texas 75060. The recitation of the Rosary will precede at 6:30 p.m. A private family burial will take place at Salem Cemetery in Cato, Mississippi.

There will be a reception at the church from 4:30 to 6:30 prior to the Rosary and Mass. Please join.


James Patrick Obituary – Dallas, TX (dignitymemorial.com)

James Arthur Patrick, known universally as “Dr. Patrick” for the depth and presence of his intellectual life, passed away on March 3, 2024, at age 90, of natural causes, in the presence of family and friends at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas. Author, Architect, Dean, College Founder, Professor, Theologian, Friend, Advisor, Counselor, Husband, Father, and Grandfather, he was beloved for his enthusiasm for learning and his great love for Jesus Christ and His Church.

Dr. Patrick, a 49-year resident of Dallas, was born on December 24, 1933, in Paris, Tennessee, to James Arthur and Neva Harris Patrick. He grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, which he fondly called the Center of Civilization of the Western World for its library (and full-scale replica of the Parthenon), until graduating in 1956 with his Bachelors Degree in Architecture from Auburn University. At Auburn, he met the woman he would love forever, Mary Welford Pringle Smith. They were married on December 19th 1955, and recently celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary.

Two years in the Army (ROTC), with Mrs. Patrick in Germany, left a permanent affection for Europe, and nourished the seeds of history and the love of Western Civilization that flowered into much of his later career. Upon returning to the United States, he worked for the Architecture firm of Brush, Hutchinson and Gwinn, beginning an Architecture career that paralleled the intellectual work to which he dedicated his life, and then entered the Seminary at The University of the South.

Dr. Patrick received his S.T.M. (Master of Sacred Theology) degree in 1963, in years at Sewanee that were always recounted as being sweet and memorable. In Nashville, at Auburn, in Sewanee and for the rest of his life, he would maintain a career designing houses and churches. He went on to complete his Th.D. (Doctoral Degree in Theology) at Trinity College, University of Toronto, forming friendships, as was his wont, that would last until the end. His son, Michael Harris Heaton Patrick, was born in 1964.

Dr. Patrick, not officially “Dr.” until completion of his dissertation in 1968, then returned to Tennessee to become Rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Morristown. There began a period of enthusiastic activity, happily and faithfully fulfilling duties as Rector of the Church, while creating a sister church in nearby Newport, and as father of his family, while serving as a full-time Assistant Professor teaching architectural history at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and creating a curriculum of Philosophy, and lecturing for the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation in Nashville. Each of these threads would be woven into the fabric of his future life, and each was shared always with Mrs. Patrick.

Moving to Wisconsin to become Associate Professor in Ethics at Nashota House, Dr. Patrick completed his last years in what Dr. and Mrs. Patrick would call their beloved Episcopal Church. The years of intellectual and spiritual discovery built to a call that could not be resisted, for both Dr. and Mrs. Patrick, to be received into the Roman Catholic Church, along with their son, Michael. Other transitions ensued: relocation to Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1971, and the accepting of a new position as Professor and then Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Tennessee, in Knoxville.

In 1975, connections with the Nashville Dominicans resulted in relocation once again, this time the last, to Dallas, Texas, to become the Chairman, Director of Graduate Programs, and Associate Professor in the Department of Theology at the University of Dallas, Irving, Texas, and then Academic Dean of the University. During this period from 1975 to 1980, and into the 1980’s, Dr. Patrick served as a Visiting Professor at the School of Architecture and Environmental Design at the University of Texas in Arlington.

In 1981, a conversation in the Ft. Worth Cathedral parking lot between Dr. Patrick and students of an adult Sunday class blossomed into an idea about starting a College. Beginning as the Saint Thomas More Institute and, after accreditation, becoming the College of Saint Thomas More in Ft. Worth, Texas, the College, in Dr. Patrick’s own words, became “a distinctive academic fellowship, based on the idea of the colleges that comprised Newman’s Oxford, dedicated to the belief that the companionable pursuit of Great Books and great ideas lifts up the heart of both those who teach and those who learn and encourages everyone to aspire to a genuinely good life, which means life in Christ, although this lies beyond the direct commission of liberal learning.”

From 1981 to 2013, Dr. Patrick was Director, Provost and then Chancellor of the College. As Chancellor Emeritus, and for the years until his death, he dedicated his life to carrying on this great idea, founding the Lewis-Tolkien Society and the Thomas More Institute as institutions to perpetuate this important work. These remain as living embodiments of his vision, calling each of us to participate to the fullest in the life God puts before us.

Dr. Patrick was the recipient (at Sewanee) of the Dwight Greek Medal, of the Auburn University Alumni Award for Achievement in the Humanities, and of the Freedom Award of the Mindszenty Foundation. He was a Knight of Magistral Grace of the Sovereign Military Order of Jerusalem, Rhodes, and Malta, for which vocation he was profoundly grateful.

Dr. Patrick’s books include, among others, Architecture in Tennessee, 1981, The Magdalen Metaphysicals, 1984, The Beginning of Collegiate Education West of the Appalachians: The Achievement of Dr. Charles Coffin of Greenville College and East Tennessee College, 2007, Andrew of Bethsaida and the Johannesburg Circle: The Muratorian Tradition and the Gospel Text, 2013, Essays on Modernity: And the Permanent Things from Tradition, 2015, and The Making of the Christian Mind: the Adventure of the Paraclete. Vol. 1: The Waiting World, 2021, with Volumes 2 & 3 scheduled for release in 2024. He has published many dozens of Chapters, Articles, Reviews and Papers, as recently as February, 2024, in the New Oxford Review.

He continued teaching to the last, presiding over his weekly Lewis-Tolkien Society class “Text and Talk” by Zoom on Saturday, March 2, the day before he was called home by the God he loved and gave his life for. He lived his life fully in the pursuit of Goodness, Beauty and Truth.

Dr. Patrick was preceded in death by his parents, and by his sisters Lois Morton and Mary Long. He is survived by his wife, Pringle Patrick, his son & daughter-in law Michael and Magda, granddaughter Leila Catherine, and nieces and nephews John Long, Belinda Long Stevens, Marie Morton McElhannon and Lois Anne Morton Murphy, and their families.

The Funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, March 21st, at 7:00 PM, at Mater Dei Catholic Church at 2030 East State Highway 356, Irving, Texas 75060. Booklets will be provided to assist in participating in the Traditional Latin Mass. A Rosary will be prayed in the Church, starting at 6:30 PM. A private family burial will take place at Salem Cemetery in Cato, Mississippi.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the The Thomas More Institute (https://www.thomasmoreinstitute.org), 8417 Bluebonnet Rd., Dallas, TX 75209-2805, or The Lewis Tolkien Society (https://www.lewistolkiensociety.org), 1505 Riverview Dr., Arlington, TX 76012.

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