TRAVERSE CITY — Thomas "Tom" Joseph Patterson of Traverse City, died on Dec. 10, 2012, at French Manor with his loving family around him. God took him to a better place after his long illness.
Thomas was born on Sept. 26, 1930, in Kalamazoo to George and Amanda Marie Patterson. He graduated from Lakeview High School in Battle Creek, where he later was a teacher.
Thomas attended Michigan State University, and earned bachelor and master degrees from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.
He was proud of his two years of service in the U.S. Coast Guard, where he also was a member of the Drum and Bugle Corps.
After teaching for five years, Thomas was employed by the Michigan Education Association at their headquarters in East Lansing. The next 20 years were spent in various field offices as executive director.
He enjoyed reading, golf, tennis and music. Thomas shared his love of Amish culture by taking his children and grandchildren on outings to the Amish countryside. A visit to the sheep barns at Michigan State University was always a highlight of the year.
Tom leaves behind his wife of 37 years, Hanna Milles Patterson; Nancy Rae Forbes, the mother of his six children, Laura (Chip) Kinne of Vermont, and Thomas Patterson, Karen (Gary) Gruss, Susan Mendocha, Michael Patterson and Joseph Patterson, all of Kalamazoo; six grandchildren; two great-grandchildren, a niece and a nephew; four stepchildren, Linda (Arnie) Borish of Pennsylvania, Ray (Linda) Carrie and Mary Ann Carrie, both of Michigan, and Carrie Christine Schuett of Wisconsin; 10 stepgrandchildren; and 10 step-great-grandchildren.
Thomas was preceded in death by his parents, George and Marie Patterson, his sister Judy, and her husband Robert Pope.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Father Fred Foundation and the Cherryland Humane Society.
Many thanks for the wonderful care and kindness of French Manor and Hospice of Northern Michigan.
The family is being served by Wolfe-O'Neill Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Kalkaska.