|Birth: ||Dec. 6, 1964|
|Death: ||Sep. 19, 1988|
Star Tribune: Newspaper of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis, MN) - September 22, 1988
Deceased Name: To the end, Tony Patz was 'a fireball' Marine was intensely competitive
Tony Patz was "moving up from the middle of the pack toward the front" when he collapsed and died near the end of a 9-mile speed march at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia, the father of the 23-year-old second lieutenant from North Oaks said Wednesday.
"They had to get 9 miles in 2 hours," John Patz said. "He had a half-mile to go and he just dropped."
That description of Tony Patz's death on Monday - still unexplained as military doctors performed an autopsy yesterday - came as no surprise to John Gagliardi, who coached Patz for two seasons on the football team at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn.,
"I'm sure he'd want to be up front," Gagliardi said. "He was a fireball kind of guy, real competitive. He always gave everything he had. It's just a tragedy that he had to give that much."
Coaches, relatives and friends agreed yesterday that Tony Patz (pronounced "Pates") was driven by a rare, almost manic spirit. He was a standout college football linebacker, so aggressive in high school hockey that he had to be restrained from trying to cover the whole rink and was the "Gung Ho" award winner at Marine officer school.
But there was another side to him, too, one that will be symbolized when he is buried with military honors next week at the National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. Only last Thursday, the day after graduation from Basic School at Quantico, he had visited the cemetery with his mother, Nancy.
"He wanted to see the changing of the guard," she said. "He just loved it. It's such a peaceful place."
After earning a degree in history from St. John's last year, Patz traveled to Europe before joining the Marines. He sent his parents a postcard from the Normandy Memorial in France.
"He was a military buff ever since he was in junior high," John Patz said. "At Mounds View High, he took a class in World War II history, and the teacher gave them a test at the beginning of the term to see how much more they would learn by the end. Well, Tony got 100 percent on the first day."
Not that academics came easy to him, his mother said. He struggled with his college courses until he finally pulled a strong B-plus average his senior year, she said.
Although he was a talented athlete, sports were not easy for Tony Patz either, said Dan Daly, his hockey coach at Mounds View.
"He was a hard worker, willing to do whatever he was asked," Daly said. "He was one of the few big, strong guys we had, so he had to stand in front of the net on our power play. He got beat up quite a bit, but he didn't complain."
Family members said yesterday that they didn't know what could have caused Patz's death, which occurred during an infantry training exercise. Results of the autopsy will not be available until today at the earliest, a Marine spokesman said.
A muscular 6-footer who weighed more than 200 pounds, Patz had no history of cardiovascular illness, his parents said.
"I saw him over the Labor Day weekend and he had just finished a 25-mile 'hump' carrying full gear," John Patz said. "On Monday they were just wearing flak jackets, but they don't do anything easy in the Marines. They do everything at a rapid, hard, grueling pace."
Even after playing college football, "he was surprised by how tough officer candidates' school was," John Patz said.
"But he would never admit that," Nancy Patz added.
In addition to his parents, Tony Patz is survived by a brother, Kurt, of Minneapolis; sisters Susanna of New York and Jennifer of Boston; and a grandmother, Amanda Miller of Morris, Minn.
Visitation will be 4 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Lake Mortuary, 4738 Bald Eagle Av., White Bear Lake. Burial probably will be Monday at Arlington National Cemetery, John Patz said.
Arlington National Cemetery
Created by: af
Record added: Feb 09, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 47837385
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Dear Tony - we miss you brother. It was 24 years ago today. I remember the day like it was yesterday. It was the first day of IOC for all of us, 9 mile forced march. Rest well, brother...semper fiRocco|
Added: Sep. 19, 2012
There was yet another beautiful side to Tony Patz - he loved playing guitar and singing. I have very fond memories of playing with him outside the barracks on evenings when we were not in the field. RIP Tony.|
B T Larkin
Added: May. 28, 2012
Added: Feb. 9, 2010