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Farewell Stephen

Stephen Patrick, a member of our Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society and the long-time Director of Museums at the City of Bowie, passed away on August 24, 2007 after a short illness. Besides being a member of our railroad family and a lover of trains, history, and museums, Stephen was instrumental in supporting the creation of the Martin F. O'Rourke Memorial Railroad Library at Bowie Tower. Below we reprint the information about Stephen that was provided at the memorial service on August 30, 2007.

"Farewell Stephen, our friend, we miss you, but you will live on in the Library you helped us create." - J. Lilly, President

Stephen was born April 24, 1963 to William E. and Mary Kathryn Patrick and lived throughout his childhood and teen years in Timonium, Maryland. He attended Timonium Elementary, Ridgely Junior High and graduated in the top five percent of his class from Dulaney Senior High School in 1981.

As a youth, he was active as an acolyte at the Church of the Holy Comforter in Lutherville, Maryland. He was interested in antique cars, American history, and was an avid Anglophile - passions that would carry throughout his life. Even as a child, he knew without a doubt that when he grew up, he wanted to be a museum curator.

He was active in the Boy Scout Troop 832 along with his father. He eventually earned the Eagle badge by mobilizing volunteers to help restore an antique streetcar at the Baltimore Street Car Museum. His outgoing personality enabled him to excel as a thespian in the Dulaney Senior High Drama Club, performing in such productions as Our Town, "A Mid-Summers Night Dream", "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" and "The Rainmaker." He will always be remembered for his hilarious portrayal of Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Ernest."

He was accepted into the University of Delaware's Honors program and earned two Bachelor of Arts degrees -one in American Studies and one in Russian Language. He graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. While at the University of Delaware he received decorative arts training at the Henry Francis DuPont Winterthur Museum. His honors thesis was on Baltimore Architecture from 1730-1830.

Stephen then pursued and earned his Master of Arts degree in American Studies from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He completed his masters mhesis on Consumerism in the Chesapeake Region from 1720-1780. Upon finishing his coursework at William and Mary, Stephen was a Researcher for the Historic Annapolis Foundation in Annapolis, Maryland. He then took a position as a curatorial intern with the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, which was followed by the opportunity to become the Assistant Curator of Philadelphia's Masonic Library and Museum during the late 1980's.

In 1989, Stephen moved to Alexandria, Virginia to become the curator with the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. He completely reinterpreted the existing museum exhibition and applied current curatorial methods. During his association with the Masons, Stephen combined his professional interests with his personal interests by proceeding to embark on the initiation process into the Masonic Brotherhood.

Stephen then took a position as the Executive Director at the Hammond-Harwood House, a 1774 National Historic Landmark Georgian house museum with important regional decorative arts in Annapolis, Maryland. During this time, Stephen resided in Annapolis.

In October of 1995, Stephen embarked on what was to become one of his greatest challenges. He was hired by the City of Bowie (Maryland) to assume the new position of the Director of the Belair Mansion, the original colonial plantation of the Provincial Governor of Maryland, Samuel Ogle and his son, Governor Benjamin Ogle. The Mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has a rich history within Maryland's horse racing circles. The mansion had been purchased in 1898 by the wealthy banker James T. Woodward, and then was bequeathed in 1910 to his nephew, William Woodward, Sr., a well-known horseman. As part of the estate, the Belair Stable produced many champion horses. Belair was the oldest continually operated thoroughbred horse farm in the country. It is said that the blood of Belair horses flows through the veins of every American race horse of distinction. From 1923 to 1953, Belair Stud horses won over 600 races. Included in their victories were numerous important stakes races and five of their horses were voted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. The stable won the prestigious U.S. Triple Crown races: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes with such famous horses as Gallant Fox, Omaha, and Nashua.

Upon his arrival, Stephen found that the house had been lovingly saved by a local volunteer organization "The Friends of Belair Estate," but to date had never had a professional curator working with them. Stephen poured his heart and soul into researching and working diligently with the city and the volunteers to bring the mansion and its stable historic accuracy, preserving and greatly expanding the existing collection, increasing its notoriety, and instituting programs that would reach out and educate both visitors and the community. During his tenure, he opened several new museums, managing and growing many facilities, including the Belair Mansion and Stable, the Bowie Railroad Station Museum, the Huntington Museum, the Radio and Television Museum, the Prince Georges' County Genealogical Library, and his latest project, the Old Town Bowie Welcome Center which opened in 2006. These endeavors were made possible by the wonderful support of The Friends of Belair Estate, the Huntington Heritage Society and the Heritage Committee, the Radio History Society and the Prince George's County Genealogical Society.

A note on the official website of the Ogle Family, the original owners of the Belair Mansion, reads: "In dedication to Stephen Patrick, Director of the City of Bowie Museums, who along with his wonderful staff and many years of hard work has made Belair Mansion the show place that it is today."

Stephen was also a member of the faculty of the Welch Center for Graduate & Professional Studies at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland where he taught courses for their Historic Preservation Certificate Program, including "Managing and Funding a Historic Preservation Organization."

Amazingly, Stephen, in his spare time, was an active member and supporter of many professional history museum organizations including the Association of Railway Museums (serving on the board and as Vice President), the American Association of Museums, the Small Museum Association, the Museum Education Roundtable, the Prince George's County Historic Museum Consortium, the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, the Virginia Association of Museums, the William and Mary Gay Alumni Association, the One in Ten Museum Project, Arlington County's Jamestown 2007 Celebration and numerous other charities and concerns.

He was an ardent admirer and enthusiast of antique cars and belonged to the Washington Area Chapter of the Lambda Car Club. He was in his element when he and his partner would go driving in his 1931 Pontiac that was spotlighted in the June 2005 "Out of the Past" feature in The Washington Times automotive section. He created a warm and inviting home with his partner of 14 years, Stephen J. Kogut and their two beautiful miniature schnauzers that they adopted from the Mid-Atlantic Schnauzer Rescue League. They had traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States, easily picking up local languages and dialects. He was fortunate to have many, close and caring friends both locally and abroad. Stephen is survived by his partner Stephen J. Kogut, his mother Mary Kathryn Patrick, his father William E. Patrick and his wife Martha, his sister Mary- Beth Yachimowicz and her husband Louis, their two daughters, Eliza and Julianna, his half sister Amanda Arment and her husband Joe, and his half sister Jennifer Patrick and her son, Travis. He also has numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins in the area. He will be greatly missed.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Stephen Patrick's memory are welcome to the Huntington Heritage Society, Inc. PO Box 183 Bowie, MD 20719-0183.


Stephen Patrick (center) confers with Barbara O'Rourke (right) and Jim Lilly (left) during a planning session at Bowie Tower for the Library on May 12, 2007

* Photo by Erik Delfino.


thanks to the Patrick Family, the source of this wonderful information about Stephen.

a project of the National Railway Historical Society, Washington, D.C. Chapter, Incorporated, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
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