On Tuesday, May 3, 2022, the Lord sent for our beloved Marilyn Sullivan Patterson to free her from Alzheimer’s disease. Marilyn, the first daughter of Leck and Mildred Sullivan, was also the first girl born in Phoenix in 1931. In 1948, she graduated as Valedictorian of her class of 800+ students from Phoenix Union High School. Earlier in the spring of 1948, she and her partner won the Arizona state championship in doubles tennis.
Marilyn attended Phoenix College for one year on a scholarship but then in 1950 she married Jerry Patterson while he was at carrier landing training in Pensacola, FL having joined the Navy. Subsequently, she and Jerry, and the four children they produced moved often to continue his career – from Oak Harbor, WA to Monterey, CA to Washington, DC, to Baghdad, Iraq, Pensacola, and back to Oak Harbor. Marilyn attended Western Washington University while in Oak Harbor and earned her degree in Education followed by a Masters degree in Counseling. During the next 25 years, she was mother, junior high English teacher, mother, high school counselor, active League of Women Voters member, and mother.
While working with high school students, she convinced them to establish a safe ride office every Friday and Saturday night where any high school student could call for a safe and sober ride home. She also joined Kiwanis International as soon as the first organization was opened to female membership and remained active until the month before her death. She established two high school Key Clubs as well as a Builders Club and K-Kids at the elementary level.
Following her retirement from the Oak Harbor (WA) school district in 1997, Marilyn and Jerry moved to southern California to be closer to their adult daughter, Eve, and her family. Eve’s family grew and has given Marilyn two adult grandchildren (and their wives) along with six great grandchildren. She loved the family closeness and shared in many of their activities. She also stayed involved in the LWV, Kiwanis and activities at the Presbyterian Church. She had strong local education and political ties as well. She received several awards as a volunteer including Kiwanis Member of the Year, the Hickson award, LWV Citizen of the Year, and the State Assembly Volunteer honoree.
Marilyn is survived by her husband of 71 and a half years, three of her four children, six grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.
There will be a Celebration of Life at The First Presbyterian Church (1900 North D. St in San Bernardino) at 2:00 pm Saturday, September 17, 2022. All are welcome to attend. Please consider giving a donation to your favorite charity in lieu of flowers.