ATLANTA - Page Pate, a prominent Atlanta attorney and founding member of the Georgia Innocence Project, has died at the age of 55.
In a statement to FOX 5, a spokesperson for Pate, Johnson & Church described him as a lawyer "who poured himself into his practice and fought hard for his clients."
"Above all, he was a true gentleman who embodied service and grace," the spokesperson wrote.
Officials said on the afternoon of Sept. 11, Pate and his son were swept offshore by a strong tide at Gould's Inlet on St. Simon's Island.
Pate's son managed to get back to shore safely. Rescue crews were able to retrieve Pate from the water and transport him to Southeast Georgia Health System's Brunswick hospital, where he died, the Brunswick News reported.
After graduating from the University of Georgia School of Law with honors, Pate worked at multiple firms in Atlanta before starting his own practices. In his over 25 years as an attorney, Pate won countless awards and became a commentator on news outlets including FOX 5, CNN and Georgia Public Broadcasting.
"Though he was a formidable, sometimes intimidating, attorney in the courtroom, Page had an easy smile, an earnest laugh, and a great sense of humor. He was guided by his faith and his creator, but he had an open heart and an open mind to all," the law firm's spokesperson wrote.
Page Pate (Courtesy: Pate, Johnson & Church)
Pate was a founding member of the Georgia Innocence Project, member of the Federal and Atlanta Bar Associations, and numerous other organizations.
"I think any attorney in Atlanta knows of Page and he's very generous with his time and I think as soon as you enter the profession in this state, you come across Page," said Molly Parmer, who met Pate early in her career and later served with him on the GIP board.
Parmer said Pate devoted an "unparalleled" amount of time to the GIP and was committed to sharing the stories of the wrongfully convicted to advocate for criminal justice reform.
"It's an immeasurable loss. I don't think it can be articulated," said Parmer. "He was very young and there was so much left that he could do. However, I will say that his impact on the legal community, in the criminal defense community and certainly with the Georgia Innocence Project will be felt, will reverberate for a very, very long time."
In a statement, Clare Gilbert, the Georgia Innocence Project's executive director, said that the organization's family was "heartbroken" by the loss.
"Above all else, we will remember Page's kindness and generosity, always willing to give anything he could to help, whether it be a personal matter or professional, and never asking anything in return," Gilbert said.
Pate is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and his two sons, Chatham and Asher.