Friends, family mourn Roy

October 27, 2000

Friends, family mourn Roy

By LAURA ERNDE / Staff Writer

KEEDYSVILLE - Family and friends of Patrick Howard Roy gathered at Salem United Methodist Church Friday to quietly mourn the fallen USS Cole sailor.

Dozens of pictures representing Roy's 19 years of life were set up on either side of his flag-draped casket.

In one picture, he was a newborn in his mother's arms. In another, he was a young man standing in his Navy dress uniform.

There was a photo of him when he was just a young, blond-haired boy, proudly holding a fish he had just caught. Then he was at the beach, buried up to his neck in the sand.

Roy's stepbrother, Benjamin Proudman of Keedysville, added a lacrosse stick to the church memorial. Lacrosse and soccer were Roy's favorite sports. Friends said he was a fierce competitor but a gentle person off the field.


"He was a tow-headed, all-American boy. He was just a really sensitive, caring young man," said Mike Pratt, 51, of Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Pratt's son Jacob, 18, was Roy's best friend when the two went to Boonsboro area schools.

"All these memories flood back. It's still unbelievable," he said.

Pratt remembers the buzz haircuts the boys used to get and how it felt when he brushed his hand over their heads.

Once, Patrick stubbed his fingers defending the goal in a game of indoor soccer. Pratt wanted to console him, but his father, Michael Roy, said he would be all right. Patrick choked back the tears and kept playing.

Patrick Roy graduated in 1999 from Storm King, a private high school in Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y., and immediately enlisted in the Navy.

Fireman Roy and Seaman Craig Wibberley, 19, of Williamsport, were among 17 sailors killed in the Oct. 12 terrorist attack on the USS Cole.

Wibberley's body was laid to rest last Saturday. Roy's body was returned to the United States on Sunday.

The Wibberley family brought a white corsage for Roy's mother, Kate Brown, to wear at the viewing. The two families met for the first time at the Oct. 18 memorial service at Norfolk Naval Station.

Navy officers and seamen in dress uniforms escorted Brown on the short walk from her home on Main Street in Keedysville to the white church built in 1774.

Patrick's father and stepmother, Michael and Anne Roy, live across the street from the church.

At about 3:30 p.m., the casket was brought to the church from the Bast Funeral Home in Boonsboro. The Washington County Sheriff's Department led the small procession.

A handful of Boonsboro residents stood along Main Street to show their support for the family by waving flags. Some said they wished more people had turned out.

"It's just a shame," said Michele Kilpatrick, 36.

Cindy Weiss, 48, of Boonsboro, said Frederick County (Md.) Public Schools let her leave work early Friday to be there.

"We are just supporting the family today and tomorrow. I just think that's what the community should do," she said.

The funeral is set for 2 p.m. today at Salem United Methodist Church with the Rev. Dr. Warren Ebbenger officiating.

Following the 45-minute service, there will be a procession to Antietam National Cemetery in Sharpsburg.

People who want to show their support can line up along Md. 34.

Dignitaries attending will include Col. Warner Sumpter of the Maryland National Guard and Admiral Dennis Dwyer, director of U.S Navy Strategic Systems Programs.

An estimated 150 people can fit into the church. Others can sit in a downstairs room and watch the service on a large-screen TV. Additional chairs will be set up outside the church, along with a speaker system.

Parking along Main Street in Keedysville is reserved for funeral attendees.

Keedysville Councilman Jim Kearns was helping police post the parking signs Friday.

"We're willing to cooperate and do anything necessary. That's about all we can do," he said.

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