Capt. Patrick J. Hovatter

Capt. Patrick James Hovatter, U.S. Navy (Ret), age 60, of Havelock, NC, formerly of Leonardtown, MD and Fairfax, VA, died Monday, Jan. 2, 2012 after a sudden and brief illness.

Pat was born June 7, 1951 in Falls Church, VA to James and Shirley Hovatter. A native of Forest Lake, MN, he graduated from Forest Lake High School in 1969 and from the University of Mississippi in 1974 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. Upon graduation he was commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy and completed Naval Aviation Training at Pensacola, FL in 1975.

After returning to Pensacola as a flight instructor, he met the love of his life, Sherrie Jean Bridgeman of Jacksonville, FL, in 1980. After a story-book romance, ignited by countless cross country flights across Florida, they were married less than a year later and embarked on an exciting life together as a Navy family that took them all across the world, spanning over 30 years, and sharing countless adventures.

In 1990 Pat completed a MS in Telecommunications Systems Management at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, CA.

During his Navy career, Pat primarily piloted P-3C and EP-3E Patrol and Reconnaissance aircraft. Assignments included Patrol Squadron Ten, Training Squadron Two, Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron Two, Chief of Naval Operations, Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron One, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, and Vice Commander at Naval Air Warfare Center, Aircraft Division.

Pat commanded Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron One at Naval Air Station Agana, Guam from 1992 to 1993, and Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD from 2000 to 2002. He completed a very distinguished Naval career as the Director of International Programs for Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD, and upon his retirement in 2004, Pat began a second career of service as a DOD Civil Servant.  He supported NAVAIR at Patuxent River in numerous senior positions and most recently as Branch Head, Navigation and Flight Safety Systems, AIR 4.5.3, and subsequently at Naval Aviation Depot at Cherry Point, NC as the Mission Avionics Director, AIR 4.5.4.

Pat, most of all, was the proud and devoted father of 1st Lt. Ryan Patrick Hovatter, Florida National Guard, Capt. Kyle Steven Hovatter, U.S. Army, and Ms. Kelly Ann Hovatter, University of Florida.

He also loved building things; whether constructing a barn, shed, garage, or helping friends with their projects; he was always armed with a hammer and a tool belt. Pat was always intrigued about different construction techniques, and constantly strived to learn as much as he could about them.  Nothing excited him more than buying a piece of land and turning it into an amazing home for his family and friends; so much so that he pursued his realtor license and became an award winning realty agent for O’Brien Realty.

Pat was the quintessential Naval Officer and bold Naval Aviator, but above all, Pat was the consummate leader and teacher. His legacy will live on in the many Sailors, Marines, Civil Servants, colleagues and friends who were inspired by his selfless example, his tireless service to those in need, his love of adventure, his unabashed and sincere way of living his life to the fullest.

Whether it was flying, work, or projects around the house, he would not hesitate for a second to take somebody under his wing or take charge. Pat was active in The Navy League and Christmas in April while in Maryland, and Leadership Craven while in North Carolina.

Pat is survived by his beautiful family, his wife Sherrie; son, Ryan and his fiancé Alexandra Rodriguez of Fort Benning, GA, son Kyle and his wife Alison of Fort Benning, GA, and daughter Kelly of Gainesville, FL; his treasured granddaughter, Brenna; parents Jim and Shirley of Forest Lake, MN; brother Mike and his wife Diana of Georgetown, TX; brother Tom and his wife Kathy of Wyoming, MN.

A Funeral Mass will be Friday Jan. 13, 2012 at 1100 at the MCAS Cherry Point Chapel. A Memorial Service is scheduled for Friday Jan, 20, 2012 at 1400 at St. Nicholas Chapel, NAS Patuxent River, MD.

The burial at Arlington National Cemetery will be scheduled at a future date.

Those wishing to offer the family words of hope and encouragements may visit

In lieu of flowers, the Hovatter family requests donations be made to the Wounded Warriors Project  1120 G Street NW, Suite 700 Washington, DC 20005, or

Pollock~Best Funerals & Cremations is assisting the Hovatter Family.

  • Dave Brannon

    I was stationed at NAS Agana Guam from 1991 to 1994 and assigned to FAIRECONRON ONE. I served under Captain Hovatter during that time and he was one of the finest men and absolutely the finest Naval officer that I ever knew.

  • Ranger I

    His parents are great Patroits and great people. Our heart goes out to them and Patrick’s family. We support you in your loss. Eugene Huerstel

  • Eddie Clark Williams

    I met Pat when he and I were Freshmen at Ole Miss in 1969. We actually met at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Oxford.Pat diligently lobbied me to join his fraternity and took me to several lunches and suppers before the President caught on that I was not going to join…actually, I could not afford the dues. Pat and I became good friends and he went home with me for Thanksgiving, 1969. He and my Mother hit it off since there was nothing Pat wouldn’t eat and he complimented her cooking by eating seconds of everything she put in front of him. Pat was one fine young man and I am deeply troubled to learn of his untimely death. Over the years we lost track of each other, but I always remembered his quick smile and polite demeanor. Mother told him that he was “okay for a Yankee” and Pat cracked up. My condolences to his family and my prayers are for their grief to pass.

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