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Founder of St. Pete’s Partridge Animal Hospital and wife die in plane crash

Harvey and Pat Partridge’s plane disappeared from the airport radar. The wreckage was found the next day.

ST. PETERSBURG ― Danno was searching Tropicana Field for explosives in March when the police dog suffered gastric dilation, or twisted stomach. He needed emergency surgery.

So officers rushed Danno to Partridge Animal Hospital. The veterinarian who saved Danno’s life was the one who founded the clinic four decades ago, Dr. Harvey Partridge.

“In the middle of the night, he came in and performed emergency surgery on him,” said Sgt. Christopher Turbee, who supervises the St. Petersburg Police Department’s K-9 unit.

Harvey Partridge and wife Pat were killed when their plane crashed Sunday night in Raleigh, N.C. The clinic announced their deaths on Facebook on Monday, hours after search crews found the couple and the wreckage of their plane near Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

“He was loved and respected by his staff,” Turbee said. "They enjoyed working for him. This will be a huge loss for them.”

The couple lived in Terra Ceia in Manatee County. Both were 72. Harvey Partridge would have turned 73 on Oct. 26.

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They were approaching the airport in their Piper PA-32 when federal officials said they disappeared from radar at about 7:25 p.m. Sunday.

North Carolina officials launched a search for the missing plane, and announced Monday that they found the wreckage and two casualties about three miles southeast of the airport, near the Reedy Creek trail at William B. Umstead State Park in Raleigh. No one else was on board.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it is sending an investigator from its Virginia office to start an inquiry into the crash. Officials did not release any other information.

Partridge established his clinic four decades ago in 1978 as Riviera Animal Hospital. It later became Partridge Animal Hospital in the early 2000s. He had sold the clinic to Dr. David Landers in 2010 but continued practicing there.

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Patridge’s online biography said he knew he wanted to be a veterinarian starting at the age of 6. He was raised in Mount Dora, ran a ranch in Ocala, studied at the University of Florida’s College of Agriculture and then got his veterinary doctorate from Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1974.

Four years later, he opened his animal hospital in St. Petersburg. The clinic said he was a veteran pilot.

“Dr. Partridge was a truly wonderful doctor and advocate for animals, and he and his wife will be terribly missed by our staff and clients,” the clinic wrote on Facebook. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, and we appreciate your understanding during this difficult time.”