Over the past week, our family has been grieving the death of my Daddy. The town of Pontotoc in Northeast Mississippi that I will always call “home” has embraced my family with their prayers, love, and comforting presence. Beloved as a Father, Grandfather and friend, his 48 year healing ministry as a family physician is what he will most be remembered for. My sister, Patti, summed up his lifetime of service in the obituary she wrote:
“Dr. Patterson began practicing medicine at a time when it wasn’t unusual for patients to have the same physician from birth to death. He made house calls, set broken bones, performed appendectomies and delivered babies at all hours of the night. And very often, he played the role of trusted confidant as much as medical professional. His patients could count on him to be there for a medical emergency, a personal crisis and even a little help in the kitchen. Once on a house call, he recommended chicken soup for a patient, and she handed him a rifle and sent him outside to shoot a chicken for her.”
Early on the morning of the memorial service, I had time to reflect on the gift of his life and ministry as I watched the light streaming through the beautiful stained glass windows of our family’s church, First United Methodist. These windows which I have gazed on literally thousands of times throughout my childhood and teenage years seemed to take on new meaning. I think of the many milestones in my life that have taken place here: my infant baptism, my confirmation, my oldest child’s infant baptism, my Mother’s memorial service in 2010. And later that day we would all gather here to celebrate the almost 88 years that my Daddy has ministered to so many. I truly felt an innate sense of peace and gratitude.
Our dear family friend, Wilma Sartin, lovingly prepared gorgeous flowers for the graveside and memorial services.
Lovely arrangements of flowers in our home communicated the love and sympathy of friends.
After my Mother’s health deteriorated, my Daddy took a more active role working in her beloved rose garden. Tracy Kramer, a fellow rosarian and close friend of my parents, shared her lovely garden roses with us during the week. She commented that my parents had gifted her with her first rose bushes when she moved to our town several years ago, and had encouraged her to start a rose garden. I thought it only fitting to arrange them around a bust of David, a gift from my Mother to my Daddy many years ago.
During the last 3 1/2 years of my Daddy’s life, he graciously learned to be on the receiving end of health care. He constantly demonstrated love, care, concern and even humor through these challenging years of deteriorating health. His life of sacrificial love, constant outreach and faith will continue to influence us all. Truly, he followed closely in the steps of The Great Physician.
Daddy loved his 48 years of Family Practice, and enjoyed his last day of practice as much as his first. Some would say he is somewhat of a legend in this small northeast Mississippi town and county of Pontotoc. However, his greatest role was that of a godly Father.
(This sign was moved from his office to our guest parking area after he retired in 2003)
Two of my favorite quotes about fathers were needlepointed by my two sisters and me years ago. They still hang on his study wall…
“Any man can be a Father, but is takes someone special to be a Daddy.”
“A Father is someone you look up to no matter how tall you grow.”