James W. "Jay" Patrick, president and founder of Alacer Corp. of Foothill Ranch, Calif., died of natural causes on Feb. 26. He was 90.
Mr. Patrick developed vitamin C products in the form of mineral ascorbates, including the company's best-selling Emer'gen-C Fizzing Vitamin C Drink Mixes. He believed that this form of vitamin C, as opposed to the more common ascorbic acid, could be consumed in higher doses because it was less acidic, easier to digest and directly absorbed into the cells.
"My father had such great drive about his passion—mineral ascorbates," said Ron Patrick, Alacer's vice president of operations. "He would talk to new employees, salesmen trying to sell other products, bankers or waitresses—it didn't matter who they were—about the value of mineral ascorbates. His mission was that you understood the value of mineral ascorbates."
Jay Patrick became a vitamin C proponent in his late 50s, when he was working as a lab chemist at the TECT chemical company in Northvale, N.J. He discovered the vitamin C research of Irwin Stone, Ph.D., and began taking 2 grams of C daily to alleviate severe jaw pain that doctors could not help. After the pain stopped within a week, Mr. Patrick embarked on his life's work of studying the health benefits of the energy-boosting vitamin and sharing this information with others.
In 1970, Mr. Patrick formed the Alacer Corp. to continue his research on mineral ascorbates. He studied the work of vitamin C pioneers and Nobel laureates Linus Pauling and Albert Szent-Gyorgi, the latter of whom became a company consultant.
Alacer introduced Super Gram C in 1970 and launched the effervescent Emer'gen-C eight years later.
"Jay really did a lot to increase the public's appreciation of the importance of vitamin C," said Stephen Lawson, spokesman for Linus Pauling Institute in Corvalis, Ore., who worked with Mr. Patrick at the Third World Congress on Vitamin C in Victoria, British Columbia, in 2001.
Mr. Patrick remained active in the company until his death, continuing to distribute monthly supplies of Emer'gen-C packets to his staff, writing the book Staying Alive and Being Alive and donating vitamins to organizations around the world. He also continued to work with the Committee for World Health, the nonprofit research foundation he formed in 1978.
Mr. Patrick is survived by his wife, Ymelda, his son Ron, daughters Lorna, Alice and Janet, and 13 grandchildren. Donations can be made in his memory to The Committee for World Health, 19571 Pauling, Foothill Ranch, CA 92610.
For more on Jay Patrick, see "King of C Effervesces With Energy" in the July 2002 issue of The Natural Foods Merchandiser.