Ridout's Gardendale Chapel

2029 Decatur Highway, Gardendale, AL


Martha Carolyn Smith Pate

January 16, 1923November 7, 2019

In the early morning hours of November 7, 2019, at the age of 96, Carolyn went to be with her Lord. Over the years, Carolyn had become the matriarch of her large and loving family. She was born in North Birmingham and graduated Phillips High School. She married the love of her life, Willard Pate, on November 18, 1941, only three weeks before Pearl Harbor. When Willard returned from Naval service in 1945, they set up housekeeping, and Willard returned to his job at ACIPCO. They welcomed their son, Robert Gordon, in September 1947, and their son, James Gary, in June 1951. After living on Pine Mountain in the early 50's, they moved to Gardendale, where she lived out the rest of her life. She taught Sunday School for over fifty years and was uncompromising in her faith. She retired from Sherwin-Williams Paint Company and volunteered for years at Children's Hospital. Her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren all knew that, while she was sometimes wrong, she was never in doubt. She was brilliant and loving and witty, and she suffered no fools, especially when beating them soundly in Scrabble. She was predeceased by her husband of over 60 years, Willard Pate, as well as her parents Baxter and Jo Smith, six siblings, and a host of cousins and dear friends. She is survived by her sons, Gordon (Shawnie), Gary (Crystal); grandsons Gavin (Janna), Ashby, and Willard; granddaughter Riley; and great-grandchildren Mason, Beckett, Rhea, Oa, and Veda Rose. Visitation will be held on Sunday, November 10, 2019, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Ridout's Gardendale Chapel, with services immediately to follow at 2:30 p.m. Burial is at Moncrief Cemetery, Gardendale.


  • Celebration of Life Visitation Sunday, November 10, 2019
  • Celebration of Life Service Sunday, November 10, 2019


Martha Carolyn Smith Pate

have a memory or condolence to add?

Roy Johnson, III

November 13, 2019

Dear Gordon & Gary, So very sorry for your great loss. My goodness , what a wonderful portrait of your Mother. Such expression in her beautiful face. She was one month younger than my Father , Roy Jr, and they must have been classmates at Phillips . Lost Dad 13 years ago.
Deepest sympathies to you and yours my friends.

Norma Jean Trice

November 9, 2019

So many memories, too many to share. I so loved and admired my Aunt Carolyn, a unique personality, a strong woman of God. She was a blessing to our family and many others. From the time we all lived “on the mountain” and family beach vacations to watching her competitive side come out in marathon games of pinochle and Scrabble, she made an impact on my life. Love and blessings to all her family in their loss.

Mary Lea Barr

November 9, 2019

She and Willard were wonderful to both me and my mom (Wiilard’s sister) I will treasure the memories and love forever. A blessing to call her family.