PERRY C. PATTERSON & MILDRED M. PATTERSON
In Loving Memory of Mr. & Mrs. Patterson by their Daughter Kimber Patterson
My name is Kimber Patterson and I was lucky enough to be the daughter of Perry C. and Mildred M. Patterson. Those were their full names, but most people called them "Pat and Millie." My parents lived in Fruitland for 5 years in the early to mid 1950's. My father was Superintendent of Schools, and my mother was an elementary school teacher. Whenever they spoke of their time in Fruitland, they would get a huge grin on their faces and a dreamy look in their eyes. It was a very special time in their lives. They loved the town, their friends, their home. They were very active in the community volunteering their time, immense energy, and sense of fun. They loved children especially, and my father was so proud of one of his greatest professional accomplishments - having a modern elementary school built in Fruitland.
He was instrumental in getting a bond passed, then researched architecture and building plans, and managed the entire financial process. With his determination, the school became a reality. The students dedicated the Pomo Terra yearbook to him in 1955, the year the school opened in September. They wrote, "the doors of the dream opened to further the advancement of the community through better education of its children" and thanked him as Superintendent and friend. There were also endless pancake breakfasts, and car washes, and other fundraising events to raise money for a myriad of organizations. They deeply believed in volunteering on a local level. My mother was a dedicated and passionate teacher who taught countless children how to read. She could be tough, but she was fair. In fact, she was a marshmallow inside, and dearly loved all "her kids."
She was funny and creative, and made scrapbooks and diaries all her life. I'm so glad her scrapbook of their time in Fruitland could be scanned for future generations to enjoy. She would have gotten such pleasure from that.
They left Fruitland as my father received a job offer to become Superintendent to schools in Pittsburg, California. They moved there in 1957 and remained until their deaths, his in 1988, and hers in 2004. My father became a beloved principal of two large elementary schools, but never pursued the Superintendent position for health reasons (heart issues). He did, however, train Superintendents and other principals throughout the rest of his career. My mother continued to teach kindergarten and first grade in Pittsburg, and they both retired in 1985. They were both passionate travelers, and traveled the globe by car, train, plane, and ship as often and as far as possible. They had a deep appreciation for cultures and points of view other than their own, proving that they were both educators, and students of the world.
The quote below was written by my father and printed in the 1957 Pomo Terra yearbook. It strikes me as very prophetic. I wish it was engraved over the door of every public school in the country. Every time taxes and funding are cut for public education, I think of his message ....
"American public schools have the responsibility of raising up a nation of men and women who are highly literate, accurately informed about other countries in the world, and trained in the process of rational and critical thought. If the schools fail this, then we may expect to see the collapse or defeat of democratic self-government due to the sheer inability of the electorate to intelligently grapple with the complex problems of our international world."
------ Perry C. Patterson, Superintendent of Fruitland, 1957
I'm so proud to be their daughter, and will spend my life trying to live up to their example. This picture of them in Fruitland in April of 1955 is one of my favorites. My dad was so handsome, and my mom loved that Buick (it was baby blue) and talked about it constantly. Unfortunately, this isn't a very flattering picture of her - she's making a silly face, which obscures what a pretty woman she was. They were incredible people, had a long and happy marriage, and would be so proud to be included in any memories or history of Fruitland.
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