Pate grew up on his family's farm in Buhl until his father died in an automobile accident in 1969. The rest of the family moved to Northport. Three years later he and his sisters were removed from their mother's care and placed with foster parents.
Pate was an A-student in Tuscaloosa's public schools, graduating from high school in 1975. Though he had planned to enlist, the close of the Vietnam War led him instead to enter college with an eye toward a medical career. He earned his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering at the University of Alabama in 1981.
After briefly working for local chemical companies, Pate determined to go into business for himself and invested in rental property. His ventures were immediately successful, leading him to pursue business opportunities across the country. In addition to buying, leasing and selling property, his Pate Holdings offers real estate management, development and construction services.
Pate's business interests have led him into political activism. He was enticed to support Guy Hunt in the 1987 race for Governor and supported the RAPS campaign of opposition against the MAPS proposal for tax increases for capital improvements in Jefferson County. He supported William Bell in the 1999 Birmingham mayoral election and Larry Langford in 2007.
Pate briefly considered running for Governor himself in the 2002 election, but ended up supporting Bob Riley. When Riley campaigned for "Amendment One" to overhaul the state's taxation law, Pate saw it as a breach of trust and launched a counter-offensive against "Billion Dollar Bob". Since then he has publicly opposed Riley's stance against electronic bingo and sponsored a banner calling for his impeachment to be flown over the Rose Bowl during the 2010 BCS National Championship game between Alabama and Texas. Pate also lent Birmingham mayoral candidate Patrick Cooper $100,000 during his unsuccessful runoff with William Bell.
Pate's blandishment of an antique shotgun to prevent an evicted restaurant manager from removing equipment from a building he owned in Tuscaloosa in 2009 led to a conviction for menacing and a possible jail sentence.
- Davis, Carter (December 2003) "Pate in Full." City Magazine
- Tomberlin, Michael (February 28, 2010) "Stan Pate: An edgy force in Alabama politics." Birmingham News