Patricia Adele Patton was born March 4, 1933 in Chattanooga, Tennessee on the day of FDR’s first term inauguration. She died in Morganton, North Carolina on Aug. 23, 2023.
During her elementary school years, she lived in Richmond, Va., then moved with her family to a southwest Philadelphia township (Prospect Park, Pennsylvania).
As it turned out, her future husband, Wesley Richardson, lived across the street. Initially they went to the prom with other dates, but soon switched and sealed the deal. They both graduated from Prospect Park High School in 1951. Patti, co-editor of the yearbook, also participated in the famous Scott’s Hi-Q radio quiz show and did well.
Wes and Pat were married Dec. 26 1953 in Moorestown, N.J.
Patti attended church when she was younger, but it wasn’t until her early 40s that the gospel began to make sense. She embraced Jesus Christ and her faith remained important for the rest of her life, as evidenced by the thoughts recorded in her journals, as she reflected over the scriptures and current events. She was a Sunday School teacher for many years.
While Wesley was stationed in Greenland with the U.S. Air Force, Patti lived in Maine with their baby son. Upon Wesley’s discharge, they moved to Oxford, Ms., and soon had a daughter. In December 1960 the family moved near Harmony, Md., to a farm on the Choptank River. Patti worked in Preston as a kindergarten teacher, then at A.W. Sisk & Son, a broker for tomato canners and other farm products, notably the oldest business in Caroline County.
Very talented at artistic endeavors, Patti also loved to write. Her creativity found expression in writing plays for her siblings and then her children, designing, making Halloween costumes, mass producing scores of center pieces for a high school prom (famously turning baby food jars into mushrooms for a Fantasia-themed dance) and creating photo albums and scrapbooks for family members.
An activist, Patti was involved with the local PTA. She made all the booths and activities for a 1965 Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Fundraiser. Patti had a very compassionate heart. Always very sociable, she could talk with anyone (and usually did).
After the family farm was lost, Seaford became home, where Patti worked for the Seaford Leader, the local newspaper. For almost a dozen years she wrote a weekly column, touching on every subject imaginable. These articles currently are compiled in a two volume archive.
Some favorite memories: Pets were not Patti’s favorite (or animals in general), though step-mother to 95 cats on the farm over the years (and to a couple of dogs), only once was a cat ever allowed in the house. It was a chilly night, and somehow a litter of kittens appeared, ensuring no other feline would sleep inside ever again.
She particularly didn’t like bats and one night fought a bat in her house, accompanied by her sister and her mother, with badminton racquets and towels wrapped around their heads, lest the little terrified flying mammal settle down and nest in their hair. No bats were harmed in this matriarchal battle against the chiroptera* [See what I did there? Mom would approve.] Indelible images exist to this day in the minds of certain children observing said escapade.
Patti did not like to drive, especially anywhere other vehicles might be operating. She earned her driver’s license when she was 26 and only once drove in a city larger than Salisbury, Md. Traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway in Philly is still being disentangled after the one urban excursion Patti undertook. Driving the wrong way on a crowded municipal artery has many ripple effects. (Action movies make it look easy.)
Back in the day, before streaming and DVDs, Patti would wake up her children when a classic was being shown on The Late Show: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Song of Bernadette, Back Street, The Robe, The Agony and the Ecstasy, The Pride and the Passion, Harvey – to name a few.
Patti is survived by two children: Taryn (Steve) Hutchison and Kurt (Susie) Richardson. They and Patti’s three grandchildren and four great-granddaughters (and one great-grandson born the day after her death, Campion Wade, named in honor of Patti’s younger brother) will sorely miss her and hope to carry on her legacy of life-long learning and vocabulary expansion.
Patti was preceded in death by her husband Wesley Gardiner Richardson, sister Wenda Patton Lawrence, mother Adele Brown Patton, brother Wade Hampton Patton III and father Wade Hampton Patton Jr.
A memorial service will be held at Faith Presbyterian Church, 605 Bost Road, Morganton, NC, on Sunday, Nov. 19 at 2 p.m.
To honor Patti, donations can be made to the Activity Fund for The Berkeley, attn: Amy Beach, 330 Juniper St, Morganton, NC 28655. The Berkeley is an assisted-living residence where Patti lived 2022-23.