John Patching, 75, of Huntsville, Alabama,
passed away on April 15, 2019, at his home
John Patch was a Nova Scotian fisherman who pioneered the screw propeller. To demonstrate his innovation, he built a small boat and then attached it to a 25-ton coastal schooner in the Bay of Fundy to propel it through calm waters.
Patching is the process of filling potholes or excavated areas in asphalt pavement. Prompt repair of potholes prevents further deterioration and allows water to avoid entering into the subgrade, leading to larger and more serious pavement failures.
Early Life and Education
John Patching was born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in 1781 and became a famous fisherman by inventing one of the first versions of screw propellers.
He was inspired by the efficiency of small boats propelled by sculling oars and began testing his invention: a hand-cranked fan-shaped propeller. He demonstrated it for crowds before attaching it to a 25-ton coastal schooner.
He served as a teacher and education leader for New York State, where he improved collaboration between preschool-through-12th-grade (P-12) schools and its higher education institutions, increasing teacher preparation standards and raising certification requirements. Upon being appointed Secretary of the Department of Education in January 2015, his focus was on increasing equity and improving educational outcomes for students throughout New York State.
John Patching, who passed away at 75 on April 15th 2019, was a self-described “patch jockey.” His mastery of patching drywall and other surfaces to an impeccable standard earned him both respect and customers who appreciated his excellent product quality and personable demeanor. John was proud owner of The Patch Boys franchises in Huntsville and Decatur – America’s first and largest drywall repair franchises – for which he won many accolades over time.
John had a long and distinguished career, always searching for new challenges and opportunities. A lifelong learner, he always had access to industry information, research and innovations in order to further his education. John took pleasure in making a difference within his community by helping others reach their full potential; an accomplishment which will be fondly remembered by his many friends and colleagues alike.
Achievements and Honors
Patching has earned induction into the American Academy of Achievement, America’s foremost and most esteemed honor society. At a special ceremony held on December 20, 2021, he was officially inducted into this esteemed organization.
He served as president of the American Association for Cancer Research and editor-in-chief of Cancer Prevention Research. With more than 300 publications to his credit, he is widely known for identifying VEGF (Vector Endothelial Growth Factor) as an influential mediator in colorectal cancer angiogenesis, growth and survival rates.
At the SEG Annual Meeting, scientists who have made outstanding contributions to geophysics and to the Society are honored with prizes and honors. Nominations for such awards should be received before January 1st so that the Honors and Awards Committee has time to research and decide before recommending a recipient to the SEG Board of Directors.
John was an enthusiastic outdoorsman, enjoying activities such as scouting, skiing, sailing, boating and fly fishing. Additionally he loved target shooting and reloading ammunition.
He was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving in various callings throughout his life including ordinance worker in both Provo and Manti temples. He enjoyed spending time with family and putting his faith into action by working to make this world a better place. We can remember him through his example and lessons taught; his many friends and loved ones will miss him dearly. Most importantly though, he was an excellent father and husband – leaving a legacy of love, hope, compassion that will live on forever.
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