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Roy "Pat" Archer is well remembered as an engaging Palomar College professor, as an impactful Scout Master for four decades, as one of the nation's most avid Lionel train collectors, and for his distinguished service as a Colonel in the Army National Guard.
Pat grew up in Parkersburg West Virginia, shaped by the hardships of the Great Depression and then World War II. His father was a union organizer at the American Viscose textile plant. For economic reasons, Pat was raised in the home of his grandfather Otto Schultz, on his mother’s side. During his early childhood, the Schultz family store was a source of stability, yet it too succumbed to economic challenges. But Pat was even more shaped by his participation in the Boy Scouts. At the age of 12 he joined Troop 4, sponsored by Saint Andrew’s Methodist Church. At age 16, already an Eagle Scout, he led his troop as Senior Patrol Leader in attending the 1950 National Jamboree at Valley Forge. In 1951 he attended the International Jamboree in Austria. In the three following summers he served on the staff of Camp Yawgoog.
Pat was a graduate of Parkersburg High School and earned a bachelors degree in Political Science from West Virginia University (‘56), before receiving a commission as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. While serving at Fort Dix, N.J. Pat married Oralee (Richardson) Archer on June 23, 1957. Together they had three children: Kraig, Shawnna, and Thomas.
After finishing a Master’s degree at West Virginian University, Pat was a high school teacher in the Napa Valley area of California. In 1963 he began his 40 year career as a professor of Political Science at Palomar College, in San Marcos, California. He went on to earn a PHD. His interests in politics, of course, extended beyond the classroom. In 1966 he won a primary election to be the Democratic Party nominee for California State Assembly. In 1968 he won his party’s nomination for State Senate. In 1982 he again prevailed to be the Democratic Party nominee and was just a few percentage points short of winning the general election in a historic three way race for the United States Congress.
Following his service in the U.S. Army, Pat continued his military career as a “week-end warrior” in the California Army National Guard. In the early 1970s he was a Captain, in charge of the Vista National Guard Armory. In the late 1970s he was the commander of the National Guard tank battalion in San Diego. He retired from the National Guard in 1983, with the rank of Colonel.
But Pat’s greatest service was as a Scout Master, in Escondido, from 1977-2019. Under his leadership, Troop 649 was often recognized as the largest, most active troop in the North County. In the course of these forty-two years, Troop 649 produced over 200 Eagle Scouts, including Pat’s two sons.
Pat also had a passion for tending to many things at home, including three generations of Golden Retrievers, as well as, chickens, ducks, and peacocks . . . and for a time, rabbits, a goat, and a pony. For many years he was a bee keeper and always generously supplied friends with honey. But his greatest hobby dated back to his childhood in West Virginia, when he began collecting Lionel trains. In Escondido he built the largest privately owned Lionel train layout west of the Rockies and developed the largest Lionel train collection west of the Mississippi.
We, his three children, were blessed to grow up in such a home, filled with Golden Retrievers and fruit trees and bees and hikes from our back yard (to the water tank on the next hill over) and train layouts and discussions about politics and Boy Scout patrol meetings. Our father was a blessing to so many people, and we also count the blessings.
Roy “Pat” Archer passed on Christmas morning. He is survived by his long-time friend Gretchen Buehl, three children: Kraig and Sarah Archer, Shawnna and Kerry Kramer, Thomas and Betsy Archer, eight grandchildren (Andrew Archer . . . Chelsea, Kelly, & Shane Kramer . . . John, Michael, Gillian, & Megan Archer), and his sister Marylin Archer-Mott.
A memorial service will be held Tuesday, January 16, 2024 at 7:00 PM at the Escondido First United Methodist Church with Rev. Thomas Archer officiating. Pre-service visitation will begin at 5:30 PM. Interment will be at Miramar National Cemetery on Wednesday, January 17 at 1:15 PM with Rev. Richard Huls officiating.