Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Pinellas

Harvey, Pat Partridge mourned in plane crash. 'Never a dog he couldn’t save.’

The husband-and-wife team that founded St. Petersburg’s Partridge Animal Hospital were known for their compassion and kindness to all creatures great and small.
Pat and Harvey Partridge visit Waiheke Island in New Zealand in April. [Courtesy of David Partridge]
Pat and Harvey Partridge visit Waiheke Island in New Zealand in April. [Courtesy of David Partridge]
Published Oct. 23, 2019
Updated Oct. 23, 2019

Dr. Harvey Partridge was the kind of veterinarian who put his home number in the phone book.

That meant calls from pet owners could come at any time, even in the middle of the night. As a kid, David Partridge would sometimes wake up to his dad inviting him to come to his St. Petersburg clinic to help with the late-night calls.

That passion and dedication embodied Harvey Partridge’s practice. It was a career made possible by his wife Pat’s rock solid support behind the scenes, watching the couple’s two sons, David and Matthew, and working alongside her husband at their well-known clinic, Partridge Animal Hospital.

“My dad promised her that he was going to be a veterinarian, and they were going to be able to live a good life,” said David Partridge, 41. "And he did it.”

The couple died Sunday night when their plane crashed in Raleigh, N.C. They were both 72. Harvey Partridge would have turned 73 on Oct. 26.

Harvey and Pat Partridge appear in this 2014 photo taken during their trip to Great Guana Cay, Abacos, Bahamas. [David Patridge]

For more than half a century, Harvey and Pat were a team. They grew up together in Mount Dora and got married at the age of 20.

“They were such a great fit for one another because he was able to concentrate on his career and she took care of everything else, including the kids," David Patridge said. "He wouldn’t have been able to do it without her.”

RELATED: Tampa plastic surgeon killed in plane crash

The couple had just attended a reunion for Harvey Partridge’s veterinary school class at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine and were on their way to meet friends in North Carolina, the son said. They were nearing Raleigh-Durham International Airport when authorities said their Piper PA-32 disappeared from radar at about 7:25 p.m.

A search was launched, and North Carolina officials announced Monday that they found the couple and the wreckage of their plane at a nearby state park.

A National Transportation Safety Board investigator was examining the crash scene on Tuesday, said agency spokesman Keith Holloway. A preliminary report on the crash will likely be released within the next 10 days.

As news of the couple’s death spread this week, veterinarians and pet lovers from across Tampa Bay mourned. Harvey Partridge’s wealth of knowledge was matched only by his compassion, they said.

“There was never a dog he couldn’t save,” said Jaime McKnight, owner of Pawlicious Poochie Pet Rescue.

Jaime McKnight of Pawlicious Poochie Pet Rescue, left, and Dr. Harvey Partridge, right, fly Jaxson, a French bulldog, to Gainesville for heart surgery. [Jaime McKnight]

That included Jaxson, a French bulldog who last year developed a hole in his heart. Harvey Partridge flew McKnight and Jaxson to Gainesville for the surgery that saved his life.

One St. Petersburg veterinarian credited the Partridges for helping shape her career. Dr. Barbara Antz-Hanson, who owns Grand Central Veterinary Hospital, said it was their encouragement that got her to attend veterinary school in the first place.

Antz-Hanson, 62, had dropped out of Lakewood High School when she met Harvey Partridge at a local stable where she kept her horse, Abraxas. Partridge was fresh out of school and working with large animals. He was always willing to give advice and answer questions, she said.

Working at the stable inspired Antz-Hanson to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. But could she do it with just a GED, newly married at age 18? Partridge encouraged her to enroll in classes at St. Petersburg Junior College.

RELATED: Plane filled with wrong fuel before crash that killed Tampa plastic surgeon, says NTSB

He kept pushing for her to continue her schooling, even after her marriage ended and she found herself a single mother. You’re smart enough, he told her. You can make it work.

And she did, transferring to the University of Florida to finish out her Bachelor’s degree, then enrolling in the veterinary school there with Partridge’s letter of recommendation in hand.

“I feel very fortunate that I was able to have the career that I dreamt of, and he was very integral in making that happen," Antz-Hanson said. "He and his wife. They were inseparable and they were very supportive of me.”

Dr. Harvey Partridge and his wife Pat were killed when their plane crashed on approach to Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Harvey Partridge founded St. Petersburg's Partridge Animal Hospital in 1978. This photo was posted in 2017 to the hospital's Facebook page. [Facebook]

At home, the Partridges were loving parents who enjoyed traveling and, for Harvey Partridge, fishing. The couple got their first airplane in the mid-1990s and have had several since then.

“The guy’s a really, really good pilot,” David Partridge said of his father.

Their true pride and joy, he said, were his sons, their grandchildren: 10-year-old Shane and 7-year-old Ethan.

It’s been several months since David Partridge last saw his parents. He’s in the Army and had to move to Texas in April. But they spoke often.

They texted him Sunday morning to let him know they were headed to Raleigh. Okay, he told them. Be safe.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

  1. A contractor with Pinellas County uses a tiller to fluff sand on the shoreline of Redington Shores beach Thursday. The tiller fluffs the sand making it easier for sea turtles to dig nests to lay eggs. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  2. People wearing masks walk in a subway station in Hong Kong early this month as the coronavirus continued to spread. Travel in China is one of the topics health care officials in Florida are bringing up with patients as concern about a pandemic grows. [KIN CHEUNG  |  Associated Press]
  3. Kermon Williams is wanted in connection with a January 2019 shooting in which two people died. [St. Petersburg Police Department]
  4. The antebellum mansions of Charleston's East Battery are a highlight of the city's historic district. SUSAN C. HEGGER  |  St. Louis Post Dispatch (2004) [SUSAN C. HEGGER  |  KRT]
  5. The scene of a double stabbing death in Largo, left, (photo courtesy Bay News 9) and booking photo of Wiley S. Mackenzie, arrested on two counts of murder. [Bay Nes 9/Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  6. A mystery billboard. A Tampa photographer's journey. A cruise to the Bahamas. Here's what leap day means to Floridians. [Clockwise from left: Times archives, Amie Santavicca and screenshot from leapdaycruise.com]
  7. Pinellas Park City Council member Patricia "Patti" Johnson, 74, has died of cancer, according to the city. [City of Pinellas Park]
  8. Benjamin Martin, 31, left, attacked Clearwater parking lot shooter Michael Drejka, 49, right, while they were inmates at Lancaster Correctional Institutional on Feb. 11, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. [Florida Department of Corrections]
  9. Sara, Mouse, Lilly and Mario are looking for their forever homes. [Courtesy of Hernando County Animal Services, St. Francis Animal Rescue, Pasco County Animal Services, Friends of Strays]
  10. Thomas Henry Shayhorn, left, and Dennis Phillip Lermy, right, were arrested after Pinellas deputies received a report of a man driving a Jaguar recklessly while shooting up with a needle. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  11. An unidentified fisherman wades into the water as storm clouds build over Tampa Bay as seen from the Gandy Bridge in St. Petersburg Wednesday. [MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times]
  12. An artist's rendering shows one view of Tyrone Middle School in St. Petersburg after a $28 million renovation. Work is expected to start in February 2021. The Pinellas County School Board approved a contract with Rowe Architects Inc. to work on the project. [Pinellas County Schools]
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement