John Milton Patterson

John Milton Patterson, 91, of Amarillo, TX died on November 3, 2019.

Private family services were held. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, Amarillo.

John was born in Bessemer, Alabama, but spent his childhood in McLean, Texas.  After high school graduation, he served in the United States Navy as an Electronic Technician’s Mate Third in San Diego, California, and Wahiawa, Oahu, Hawaii (Pearl Harbor) until his honorable discharge in 1947.  He then attended Texas Tech University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1950.   John moved to Amarillo and joined consulting engineer, Hollis Harris, forming the firm of Harris & Patterson.  He sold his half of the firm when he was seventy-five years old, but continued to work at the company until he was eighty-nine.  The company designed electric substations and transmission lines for Rural Electrification Associations’ (REA) Cooperatives in developing areas of Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Utah and Oklahoma. His work brought telephone lines and electrical power to thousands of people in previously unserved areas throughout the Southwest.  He made a special, work-related trip to Tel Aviv, traveling to Israel to purchase a transformer for Trico Electric Cooperative, located in Tucson, Arizona.

John was active in Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Texas Society of Professional Engineers (TSPE), serving in various positions in both organizations.  In 2002 he received the Distinguished Service Award for fifty years of service to Trico Electric Cooperative.  In 2006, the Panhandle Chapter of TSPE named him Engineer of the Year.  In 2007, the Texas Board of Professional Engineers recognized his outstanding service as a Professional Engineer for over fifty years.

The happiest moment of recognition came when he received a letter from his twelve-year-old grandson:

“Dear Granddaddy,

Thank you for being such a great role model for me.  You lived out your vocation and did your best as an engineer.  Your stories of work are amazing, and I hope to become an engineer as well.  Thank you.

Love, Taylor”

John’s passion and dedication to his chosen profession left little time for recreation, but his favorite times of relaxation included fishing trips to Alaska and Canada, and walks with his faithful cocker spaniel. He was an active member of First Church of Christ, Scientist.

John was preceded in death by his parents, Homer Milton Patterson, Sue Fowler Patterson, daughter, Mary Katherine Patterson, and sisters, Catherine Phillips and Mary Alice Smith.  He is survived by Gwen, his wife of fifty-four years, their daughter, Jann, her husband, Eric, and grandson, Taylor.

The family thanks long-time friends. Elinor (Poppy) and Bill McCarty for their support and loyalty to John.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to a favorite charity.


5 Replies to “John Milton Patterson”

  1. Dear Family: I am so very sad to learn of your great loss and the loss to the world of such a great human being as John Patterson. He was not only a brilliant engineer, but a kind and thoughtful person, too. He truly was a great help to the Trico Electric Cooperative as we began to grow due to our proximity to Tucson and the development of outlying towns. He always cared about our members far out on the long radial lines and would insure that everyone was adequately served as the system kept growing. His skills and the firm’s later engineers, first Bill Ellett, and now Mike Gaynor, have contributed hugely to the excellent distribution system we have today.
    I am doubly sad that I missed knowing how difficult his last year has been and that I missed saying “hello” last August. A friend and I were going to Amarillo to see the nearby pageant, but she had family complications, so we didn’t go. I had planned to visit. It was a near miss.
    Barbara Stockwell, Trico Board member (many years!)

  2. I worked under Pat for many years, and he taught me so much. He will be missed greatly. My thoughts and prayers are for Gwen, Jann, and Taylor during this difficult time.

  3. John was my dad’s business partner and friend for many years, and I was lucky enough to work with him in the field in New Mexico and Arizona. I learned so much that serves me to this day. John took great care to keep checking in with my family after my dad passed. He and Gwen were truly family, and my thoughts are with Gwen and Jann.

  4. John was a good man and I am grateful I knew him. I believe John always did his best and always showed great concern in his work to assure costs were held in check. I learned a great deal from him, trusted his judgement and enjoyed the many visits he made to Tucson.

    Ron Brown
    Operations Manager (retired)
    Trico Electric Cooperative

  5. My heartfelt condolences go out to surviving family. Mom told me of John’s passing this morning. Gwen & Jann, you are very much in my thoughts.

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