Pico Rivera’s `prince’ and founder dies

first_img“\ thought we should always try to eat, shop and buy in Pico,” Garcia said. “He really was a generous man. I considered him a prince, very civilized.” Patronite grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, but moved to Pico Rivera in 1945. During World War II, he was stationed in North Africa as a chief cryptographer for the U.S. Air Force. In 1958, Patronite was on the incorporation committee that founded the city and subsequently became one of the original council members. When a new election was held a few months later to establish a council member rotation, he lost. Patronite returned to public office when he served on the Planning Commission in the early 1970s before being appointed to the City Council in 1974 to fill an unexpired term. He was reelected every term until he retired in 1992, serving as mayor four times. While attending both Cal State L.A. and USC, Patronite majored in accounting. He later began Azusa Engineering, a Covina firm that made hardware parts. He is survived by his wife, Jane Hallinan; four children; and three grandchildren. A rosary will be said at 7 p.m. Sunday, and the funeral will be at 10 a.m. Monday, both at St. Hilary’s Catholic Church. Graveside services will follow at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Rowland Heights. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! PICO RIVERA – Every day for the past 15 years, James M. Patronite read “The New Yorker” magazine over lunch at Barney’s Coffee Shop in Pico Rivera. Now friends and colleagues – some who often joined him there – are remembering the former mayor and councilman as particularly intelligent, civilized and even “a prince” among local politicians. Patronite died Monday afternoon at Kindred Hospital in La Mirada. The 86-year-old was Pico Rivera’s last founder to die. Dan Miller, owner of Barney’s, said he would often interrupt Patronite’s reading to test him with questions on history – one of Patronite’s favorite topics. “Jim’s knowledge of history, you could never challenge him on it,” Miller said. “It didn’t matter whether it was American, religious or world history, he’d know it. “We had a lot of conversations that way,” he added. Patronite would come into Barney’s at 12 p.m. “on the dot” each day and stay for an hour, Miller said. Former Councilman Carlos Garcia knew Patronite for 10 years, working with him on the finance committee at their church, St. Hilary’s Catholic Church in Pico Rivera. He remembers a “humble and brilliant man.” Garcia said Patronite was the type of community servant who believed in spending his money in his city as much as possible. last_img

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