PCA Teaching Elder Tom Patete dies unexpectedly after apparent cerebrovascular event

Patete served as Executive Director of Great Commission Publications since 1978

On Monday, December 17, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m., there will be a gathering/visitation open to everyone at Old Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Duluth, Georgia.  A memorial/celebration will follow at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday morning


Thomas R. Patete, longtime Executive Director of Great Commission Publications (GCP), went to be with the Lord on December 14, 2012. Patete, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church of America, served Christ’s church through his position at GCP for 34 years.

“Tom was a quiet and humble man who lived out the convictions of his Christian faith on a daily basis. His commitment to the church, both the local church and the denomination, could be seen in his work with pastors, their educational committees, and the frequent teaching of Sunday school classes. He had a special place in his heart for middle- and small-sized churches. This was reflected in both his pastorates and his work at GCP,” said Mark Lowrey, GCP’s Director of Publications.

“He thought and spoke only the best about people. He never talked about people in a disparaging way, giving everyone the benefit of the doubt,” said Lowrey. “He truly had a pastor’s heart. He will be greatly missed.”

Patete was born July 26, 1941, in New Jersey. He and Jane were married on July 29, 1966. He received his B.A. from Belhaven College in 1964 and his Master of Divinity at Columbia Theological Seminary in 1967. Patete began his ministry as assistant pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Hattiesburg, Miss., and he pastored churches in Winona, Miss. and Marks, Miss. prior to working for GCP. Both Patete and his wife have served the church throughout their lives. Jane Patete worked for many years in the library at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, and she is currently the Director of Women’s Ministry for the Christian Education Committee of the PCA in Lawrenceville, Georgia. They have two married children, Amy Gresham and Rob Patete, and six grandchildren.

As Executive Director, Patete led GCP through two critical organizational shifts. In the early 90’s, the Board decided that GCP would begin to operate on revenue from sales. Previously, both the PCA and the OPC made contributions to the operating budget. At the same time, the decision was made to move the headquarters from Philadelphia to Atlanta. When Patete began his tenure as Executive Director, GCP sales were below one million dollars. Today, they are approximately three million. He was instrumental in the development of the Trinity Hymnal in its present form and had a strong commitment to the hymnody of the church. He regularly served as the pianist for the Sunday night service at his home church, Old Peachtree Presbyterian Church (PCA).

Great Commission Publications is the joint publishing ministry of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church in America. Patete summarized the story of GCP in a contribution to the 2011 book Confident of Better Things. He titled his essay, “By the grace of God it was done!” and closed with these words, “GCP’s sole purpose and direction are unequivocally set forth. And we go in the sure comfort of Isaiah’s declaration that ‘the Word of our God will stand forever.’”

On Monday, December 17, at 2:00 p.m., the family will have a private graveside service.

On Monday, December 17, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m., there will be a gathering/visitation open to everyone at Old Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Duluth, Georgia.

On Tuesday, December 18, at 11:00 a.m., there will be a memorial/celebration service at Old Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Duluth, Georgia.

Patete served his Savior and his Church by faithfully preaching and teaching the Scriptures. He guided the development of curricula that has been instrumental in shaping the lives young covenant children, youth and adult disciples. So, in lieu of flowers, the family asks that gifts be made to the organizations which Tom dedicated 34 years of ministry service.

Gifts may be marked “in memory of Thomas R. Patete.” Each will be used for the development of material that will “proclaim God’s wondrous deeds … and His might to another generation.”

• Great Commission Publications, 3640 Windsor Park Drive, Suwanee, GA 30024

• Presbyterian Church in America Christian Education and Publications, 1700 North Brown Road, Suite 102, Lawrenceville, GA 30043-8122

• Orthodox Presbyterian Church Committee on Christian Education, 607 N. Easton Road, Bldg. E, Willow Grove, PA 19090-2539