She had a 30-year career as a manager at Lockheed Martin, lived in a nice neighborhood in Ocoee and her family members say she did everything she could to help her son Everett, while at the same time trying to stop him from physically abusing her.
“Today marks the one year anniversary since my aunt Rosemary Pate’s death. She was killed at the hands of her son Everett Pate Jr. He was 19-years-old and for many years she suffered abuse at his hands," said Rosemary Pate's niece Tiffany Kelly.
On July 15, 2013 police said Rosemary Pate’s son fatally stabbed his mother in her own bedroom.
Friends and family want to make sure Pate didn’t die in vain.
Pate's family, led by her sister and niece are using the 51-year-old’s death to bring awareness to “parent abuse” and make it a separate category under Florida’s Domestic Violence Laws.
Rosemary Pate’s untimely death has been especially hard on her sister Alice, who is planning to be buried at Winter Garden Cemetery, right next to her beloved sister.
“They had a relationship I can’t describe," Kelly said. "It isn’t something that I can just say was sisterhood. It was best friends, they were confidants, they were everything to each other, so it’s been really hard for her."
According to the latest data from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, more than 1,600 parents in Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Lake counties were victims of physical abuse by their children in 2012.
However, Pate’s family and State Senator Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, believe those numbers are significantly under reported.
“And I would say to parents that there is no stigma, that there is no shame," Thompson said. "A lot of parents feel if I report that my child is abusing me, I’m going to be blamed because I was not a good parent. But sometimes children just go astray for whatever reason."
Thompson added that her bill would put parent abuse on par with domestic and child abuse, allocating additional resources and police protection for parents in need.
But for now, Pate’s family will continue to bring awareness and light lanterns every year, to ensure Rosemary Pate’s legacy lives on.
The victim’s son, Everett Pate Junior pleaded no contest to second degree murder in April. He has been sentenced to 30 years in state prison.
Meanwhile, State Senator Geraldine Thompson told family members she will re-introduce the bill during next year’s legislative session. If passed, Florida's parent abuse law would be the first of its kind in the nation.