Community remembers Patterson

By Nicholas Elmes -

Former King Councilman Howell “H.P.” Patterson died at the age of 96 on Jan. 28 after a short illness.

“He will sure be missed,”said former King Mayor Jimmy Walker, who served with Patterson for a number of years. “He was one of the most pleasant elected officials I have ever had the privilege of working with. He put a lot of thought and consideration into each decision he made. He always seemed to have the best interests of the people at heart. He was a good man and he will be missed.”

Patterson served on the City Council for 12 years, with two terms as Mayor Pro Tempore.

His contributions to King were numerous as both a councilman and as a volunteer. Among the many projects he supported were establishing public utilities, erecting the Mount Olive water tank, and creating King Recreation Acres and King Central Park, and later the King Senior Center.

King Senior Center Director Suzan Garner said Patterson would be greatly missed.

“He was a true gentleman,” she said. “Everyone here hated to hear of his passing. They say he had a good long life and was a very kind man.”

She noted that Patterson contributed the money for the center’s Virginia S. Patterson Reading Room.

In 2001, Patterson was selected as Retired Business Leader of the Year by the King Chamber of Commerce.

Patterson was also a well respected businessman in the area opening his own company, Patterson Smith Oil Company, in Rural Hall with partner Eck Smith in the early sixties.

After Smith passed away, Patterson became sole owner and built a large customer base of homes, businesses, and tobacco barns in Stokes and Forsyth counties providing fuel oil, kerosene, and furnace installation and service. In addition to his oil company, Patterson and business partners developed real estate in King and he farmed tobacco and raised Holsteins and Black Angus cows.

Patterson was also well known for his volunteer service in the community serving in the King Lions Club, King American Legion Carl Callaway Post 290, the Forty and Eight, King Volunteer Fire Dept., King Outreach Ministry, King Recreation Acres, the King Senior Center, and the Northwest Economic Development Association.

Originally from Alexander County, Patterson joined the United States Navy in 1940 and served for six years as Chief Petty Officer with the Naval Air Force, stationed at Pensacola, Fla., Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, Wash.

While serving in the Navy, Patterson met his wife, Dorothy Virginia Francis, who was a young teacher living in Hiddenite. They were married in 1945 and after the war, returned to her hometown of King.

Patterson also received the Jarman Award for Service Officer of the Year from the North Carolina Dept of the American Legion, numerous Lions Club awards including the President’s Appreciation Award, Lion of the Year, and 60 Years Meritorious Service award, and the North Carolina League of Municipalities Honor resolution.

In 2010, Howell was selected to participate in the Triad’s first Flight of Honor, a service project which honors World War II veterans by taking them to Washington DC to the WWII Memorial at no cost.

“He was one of a kind,” said fellow WWII veteran Robert Spainhour. “He was upright and honest and I never heard him use a curse word in his life. He was one of the kind of people who everyone was proud to know. He was like a brother to me. It is a great loss for everyone in and around King.”

Patterson was preceded in death by brothers Elvin Patterson and Harry Patterson, and sister Willene Goans, nephews Bob and Larry Patterson, and by his beloved wife, Virginia.

He is survived by his daughter, Camille of Raleigh, NC, nephews Charles Patterson (Linda) of Greer, S.C., and Gayle Patterson of Statesville, Harry Hight (Pat) of Newton, Bill Hight of Statesboro, Ga., niece Carolyn Elliott (James) of Hickory, sister-in-law Mrs. Sue Francis of King, nieces Sabrina Francis (Scott Marsh) and Caroline Francis (Bryan Sodemann) all of Raleigh, and numerous great nieces, nephews, and cousins.

The family will receive friends from 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Sunday afternoon, Jan. 31, in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church of King, with funeral services following at 3 p.m. Burial will follow the service at King Memorial Park with a military honor guard from the American Legion.

Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.

By Nicholas Elmes

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