When he was five years old, Byron Patton (Pat) Favre, unlike many of his playmates, didn’t dress in a Superman cape or in a cowboy hat with a cap pistol tucked in a holster on his side.
For a formal picture, he selected a full World War II military dress uniform, hat to toes a replica of the real thing. Little did he know that one day in the not too distant future he would indeed wear the real thing for 20 years. Only then, it would be an Air Force uniform and the ribbons on his chest would attest to a career brilliantly served, a career of fulfilling his oath with honor, a career that took him across the globe and into the Vietnam War.
He died on March 5th at home, surrounded by family and love.
Pat was born in New Orleans on January 6, 1940, the son of Alphonse Gabriel and Inez Blaize Favre of nearby Bay St. Louis, MS, the seventh and youngest son and the ninth of 10 children. He was named after a close friend of his father, long time Mississippi U.S. Senator Byron Patton Harrison.
After graduating high school in 1957 from his hometown St. Stanislaus College and one year at Millsaps College in Jackson, MS, he found his calling in the Air Force. Following his initial training he was accepted at the U.S. Military Academy preparatory school in Virginia. Then it was on to navigation training, where he earned his wings in July 1961, and an assignment in the electronic warfare program.
Pat flew a total of 122 missions over Vietnam in the midst of the controversial war that would claim thousands and thousands of casualties. The first 22 missions were as the electronic warfare officer (EWO) in B52 bombers. The next 100 were as part of a secret program initiated by the Air Force in October 1965. It was called the Wild Weasels and was created after it was discovered that Soviet surface-to-air missiles (SAMS) were being deployed against U.S. aircraft. A select group of pilots and EWOS were chosen to participate in the program.
Their mission was to locate enemy anti-aircraft radar and either destroy it or target it for other aircraft. At least one description pictured it as being bait for the enemy. How dangerous was it? The first squadron flying out of Thailand lost all but one of its F105 fighter jets in the first 45 days.
After returning to the U.S. from his Thailand base, Pat became an instructor at various bases, taking him from Nevada to California to England to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, where he retired in 1978 with the rank of Major, wrapping up 20 years of dedicated service to his country.
He then took a one-day vacation before joining IBM as an engineer and teacher in New Orleans, Gulfport, MS, Chicago and, finally, in Longview, Texas, which became his permanent home.
After retirement he rarely flew, but that didn’t stop him from traveling across the country. He loved to drive and planned his trips meticulously, especially those annual visits to Disney World, 30 in all; some with one or two of his grandchildren, some with nieces and nephews, each visit filled with child-like joy.
Pat also loved to cook, never straying far from what he learned from his mother and sisters, whether it was gumbo or Charlotte Rousse or just grits and eggs; he approached the task with the same concentration and professionalism that he exhibited in all of his life-long activities.
He grew up the youngest brother, but in later life he became big brother to many of his nieces and nephews, calling or visiting regularly to make sure all was well.
And while Pat’s home was in Longview, his heart was in Bay St. Louis, and that’s where he will be buried.
The family will receive friends for a time of visitation Sunday, March 8, 2020, in the Chapel of Welch Funeral Home from 5:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. A rosary will be recited Sunday, March 8, 2020 in the Chapel of Welch Funeral Home at 6:30 p.m.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. at Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Church. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Entombment will follow in Gulf Coast Memorial Cemetery and Mausoleum in Bay St. Louis, MS on…..
Pat was a life-long Catholic who believed that God had a plan for him.
He is survived by his wife, Karen Jackson Favre; daughters, Marie Chantelle Wicker and Debra Michelle Favre and her two children; and daughter-in-law, Dwayne and Kim Favre and Amanda Cooper; brother, Gregory; nine other grandchildren, many nieces and nephews that he loved dearly, and two stepsons and one stepdaughter and their spouses: Kevin and Ashley Mackey, Sean and Alexandra Mackey and Leah and Charles Marcum. Wife LuAnn Harmon Favre, and eight of his siblings, A.G. Jr., Curtis, Neilus, Udell, Jeffrey, Beverly Scianna, Bruce and Inez Pope, predeceased him.
In lieu of flowers please give donations to the St. Jude Children’s Hospital or to the Shriners Children Hospitals.
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