CAMBRIDGE — Dr. Lawrence Daniel Patterson, who has a background in education, was remembered by colleagues as a realistic, knowledgeable, welcoming person and as a family man.
Patterson died on Monday at the age of 76 at University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center from complications following a fall. Patterson, his wife and children moved to Dorchester County in November 1977, when he became principal of Cambridge-South Dorchester High School until 1989.
He was then appointed to various supervisory roles with the Dorchester County Board of Education, culminating with assistant superintendent, until he retired in 2007. Frederic Hildenbrand, retired superintendent, has known Patterson since 1977 when Patterson became principal. He recalls Patterson being a great storyteller.
“Larry was a very interesting guy, and he had a lot of interesting stories he told,” Hildenbrand said. “Very helpful to me in the short period I have worked directly together, he was a good friend before that, good colleague, somebody who could offer me advice and help.”
Joyce Schriver, a retired principal from Preston Elementary, recalls meeting Patterson when she worked at Dorchester County Public Schools as an instructional supervisor for English. They shared an office and a secretary; and when Shriver first started, Patterson made sure she understood the county, procedures and the people.
“He was just so kind and took me under his wing and from there, we became good friends. Larry, the most important thing other than being professional, he was ultimate family man,” Schriver said. “We all became friends and we played golf together, traveled together so he wasn’t just a coworker, he and his wife became good friends with my husband and myself.”
Following retirement, Dr. Patterson returned to teaching at Wye River Upper School. He also became a mathematics tutor and SAT instructor at College Placement Consulting in Easton, where he developed a program to help students increase their SAT math scores.
Patterson also served on the board of Sts. Peter and Paul School in Easton.
Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church Rev. James Nash recalls meeting him as a parishioner and asking him to be on the school board. As a board member, Nash respected his honesty and being realistic when it came to receiving answers from Patterson.
“Larry did not tell me what I wanted to hear, and that’s why you put people on boards. You don’t put yes people, you get people who give you the honest to God truth; and he was usually right,” Nash said. “He was very much a part of the building campaign. It’s been a long process, and he has been a part of the building project since day one. We are building a new high school out on 50 and he has been part of helping with the design.”
Nash added that, “One of the biggest disappointments for us is that he is not here to see the school be built, he worked so hard to making this a reality and we are just almost there and this tragedy happened.”
Martin Knott, who was also on the board, recalled enjoyed playing golf with Patterson, who was an avid golfer.
“Running into him after having really good round of golf we had both finish playing with other groups and chatting with him about how well he played,” Knott said. “He was practical, caring, matter of fact, highly intelligent and strategic in the way he did things. He did a lot of good work for the school and parish.”
Patterson was born in Syracuse, New York on August 19, 1942, and grew up in Briarcliff Manor, New York.
After Archbishop Stepinac High School, he graduated from LaSalle College and served four years in the U.S. Army, achieving the rank of first lieutenant before receiving an honorable discharge. A gifted teacher, he began his career in education at Great Valley High School in Pennsylvania.
On De. 27, 1969, he married the former Susan McDevitt of Drexel Hill, Pa. After receiving a master’s degree, he and his wife moved to Lexington, Ky., where he received an EdD in Educational Leadership and worked at Jessamine County High School in Nicholasville, Ky.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 50 years, Susan McDevitt Patterson of Easton; son Timothy Patterson and his wife Julie Patterson of Centreville; and daughter Laura Patterson Hoffman.
Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 12, at Fellows, Helfenbein & Newnam Funeral Home, 200 Harrison St., Easton.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 13, at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, 1210 South Washington St., Easton.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to the Sts. Peter & Paul New High School Construction Fund, 7906 Ocean Gateway, Easton, MD 21601.
Donations can be made online at ssppeaston.weshareonline.org/ws/opportunities/NewHighSchoolConstructionFund.
For online condolences, please visit www.fhnfuneralhome.com.