Milton Pate Sr., 82, of Johns Creek: Architect met clients’ needs and budgets

Milton Pate Sr., the founder of Milton Pate Architects Inc., was client-focused. He worked hard at designing buildings that fit his clients’ needs while being a good steward of his clients’ resources.

“Dad forged good relationships and, as a result, he did a lot of repeat business,” said his son Kirby Pate of Johns Creek.

Delta Air Lines was one of those satisfied clients. Pate’s firm designed what became a Delta campus near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport — buildings for administration, for training, for reservations, for flight simulators, plus a computer center.

“Dad’s style — modern, clean, functional — was shaped to an extent by what was in vogue during his formative years as an architect. But a project could vary in appearance depending on its setting, its purpose and the client’s wishes,” Kirby Pate said.

Other favorite buildings of the senior Pate include the Ritz-Carlton beach resort in Naples, Fla., the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Sarasota, Fla., and Tucker High School, which was constructed at a time when some of his grandchildren were pupils there.

Milton Eugene Pate Sr., 82, of Johns Creek died Wednesday at Peachtree Christian Hospice of heart failure. His memorial service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday at Johns Creek Baptist Church. H.M. Patterson & Son, Oglethorpe Chapel, is in charge of arrangements.

Pate’s attorney and longtime friend, Fielder Martin of Johns Creek, said Pate was unfailingly honorable and trustworthy in his business dealings.

“Milton also was a hands-on architect who regularly visited job sites to make sure everything was going according to plan. He especially liked working with the hospitality industry, designing resort hotels and spas to maximize their guests’ comfort,” Martin said.

Doug McGarrity of Atlanta worked with Pate on two hotel projects.

“I first met Milton in the early 1980s when I was with Ritz-Carlton,” McGarrity said. “Another architect produced a design for a hotel in Naples we simply couldn’t afford. We brought in Milton, who preserved the exterior and restructured the interior so that the project was feasible.

“Years later, when I was an independent developer working on a new Ritz-Carlton resort on Grand Cayman Island, he did much the same thing, replacing another architect and finishing the job within budget,” McGarrity said.

Born in South Carolina, Pate was a star quarterback in high school. Later, he became a blocking back in famed Clemson coach Frank Howard’s single-wing offense during the Tigers’ undefeated season in 1950.

In 1991 Pate set up a program to enable student architects at his alma mater to travel and further their studies.

“Thanks to the Pate Travel Fellowship,” Clemson President James Barker said, “many of our students have had the incomparable experience of studying in some of the world’s most architecturally rich cities — Charleston, S.C., Barcelona, Spain, and Genoa, Italy. Mr. Pate understood the value of that experience, and our graduates are better for it.”

Survivors also include his wife of 62 years, Catherine Pate; two daughters, Karen Pate and Elizabeth Beck, both of Tucker; another son, Milton Pate Jr. of Tucker; a brother, Joel Pate of Columbia, S.C.; nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.