Vandalia – Jerold Leroy Patterson, 80, passed away Saturday, November 9th at the Otterbein Retirement Community in Lebanon, Ohio.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Nancy (Fisher) Patterson; daughters Laura (Randy) Sanders of Columbus, Ohio, Diane (Mark) Workman of Lebanon, Ohio, and Amy (Bill) Payler of Mason, Ohio; son David Patterson of Athens, Ohio; grandchildren Elena Sanders and Samuel and Emily Workman; sisters-in-law Sarah Fisher of Grand Haven, Michigan, and Gertrude Patterson of Marietta, Georgia; and several nieces and nephews.
Jerry was pre-deceased by his parents, Julius and Theo (Starn) Patterson; his younger brother Roger, and an infant son.
Jerry was born August 18, 1939, in Sparta, Michigan at the home of his mother’s sister and brother-in-law Marge and Karl Norton. He attended Sparta Public Schools until the third grade, when his family moved to Rockford, Michigan. He graduated with the Rockford High School Class of 1957.
Jerry loved cars and worked at various jobs so he could buy one. He was a paper boy for the Grand Rapids Press for several years, depending on his Mom to drive him on his route when the snow was too deep for his bicycle. He also worked for Jim Thompson’s grocery store in Rockford.
After graduation, Jerry attended and graduated from General Motors Institute (GMI) in Flint, Michigan, working as a co-op for Diesel Equipment Division of General Motors in Grand Rapids.
On a snowy Valentine’s Day in 1959, he married his high school sweetheart, Nancy Fisher, in the Rockford Methodist Church.
In 1963 Jerry and Nancy moved to East Lansing, where Jerry attended Michigan State University, earning a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1965. Upon graduation he was hired by The Bendix Corporation in Ann Arbor, Michigan. While there, he was part of a team that developed and manufactured The Central Station – a piece of equipment the Apollo 11 astronauts carried on their rocket and left on the moon. It is still transmitting data back to Earth to this day.
In 1976 Jerry and Nancy and daughter Laura moved to Vandalia, Ohio, where Jerry was employed as an aeronautical engineer with the Air Force Research Laboratories, where he and his co-workers were recognized for their leadership in developing state-of-the-art computer programs.
Throughout his lifetime, volunteering and serving the community were very important to Jerry. He was a Montgomery County volunteer Deputy Sheriff for 20 years. He was also very active with St. John’s Lutheran Church in Vandalia and its boy scout troop.
In 1999 Jerry and Nancy moved to their retirement home on Platte Lake, Benzie County, Michigan and enjoyed many years “Up North” spending time with family and friends, as well as being active members of the Frankfort Lutheran Church.
In 2016, Jerry was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, a form of Parkinson’s. They moved to the Otterbein Retirement Community in Lebanon, Ohio, to be closer to their children.
A visitation and funeral will be held in the spring at Rockford Methodist Church. Internment will take place at Blythefield Memory Gardens. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to The Parkinson Research Foundation or Hospice.
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