Obituary of Ronald David Patterson
Ronald David Patterson, the first born to John and Edna Patterson, began his assignment here on earth December 14, 1938 in the “Crescent City” of New Orleans, Louisiana. He gracefully completed his assignment Monday August 17, 2020. His siblings include Patricia White, John Patterson III, Carmen Coleman, and Michael Patterson.
Early on, three mentors significantly shaped his life growing up in New Orleans. Mr. Nehemiah Atkinson introduced a young Ron to the game of tennis at approximately 12 years old. Through him, Ron developed an attachment to tennis which grew into an absolute love and enduring passion for the sport. Ron eventually became the same thing that Nehemiah was to him, a devoted, lifelong student of the game as well as a dedicated teacher of tennis to others.
Ron considered his father, John Patterson, to be his mentor of the fine arts. John played tenor saxophone professionally in the New Orleans jazz scene. That he became quite a jazz enthusiast with an ardent love of music had its roots in his father’s mentorship.
Lastly, Ron’s grandfather, John Robert Patterson planted the seeds of his interest in business. “Grandfather,” as he loved to formally call him, founded and owned the first “colored” hotel in New Orleans – The Patterson Hotel. The historic, family-run establishment occupied two locations in its time: first on South Rampart Street; secondly on Bienville Avenue. As a young man, Ron was groomed and trusted by “Grandfather” to give tours of New Orleans to hotel patrons.
Ron was a lifetime learner with a profound commitment to education. He graduated from Walter L. Cohen High School in New Orleans. He went on to graduate Cum Laude from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1960 – earning his Bachelors of Science degree in Mathematics. While still a student at Southern, Ron taught college-level Algebra at the university. In 1974 he earned his MBA from Bernard Baruch University in New York. When Ron determined that he needed to learn to create web sites, he taught himself the programming languages of Java, and later Joomla in furtherance of his business plans. In addition, he earned numerous certifications throughout his professional life in the areas of finance, education, and Information Technology.
In 1964 Ron joined Univac, a Sperry Rand Corporation, in Washington, D.C. as a systems analyst. He designed and programmed communication terminal systems for the federal government. Within two years he was hired by Informatics Corporation and moved to Englwood Cliffs, New Jersey. He served as a consultant to the technical staff and helped program bank transaction savings applications, for real-time computer systems.
A veteran, Ron served four years as an officer in the U.S. Army, with the rank of 1st Lieutenant and stationed as far away as Germany. After military life, he eventually began working for the Xerox Corporation in 1973. Ron worked at Xerox for 25 years, progressively holding management positions of increasing responsibility. As a district operations service manager his responsibilities included financial planning and analysis, resource planning and accountability for a multi-million dollar budget. Upon his departure from Xerox, Ron was owner and president of CRU – a management, consulting, technology, website design and Internet hosting company. Even as president, Ron’s love for education led him to serve in a number of professional teaching positions. He taught middle school and high school mathematics at Integrated Design & Electronics Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., where he also served as the Mathematics Department Chair for a period. He offered his time as a substitute teacher in the Alexandria Public School system and as a math tutor to countless students throughout Northern Virginia. An avid strategic thinker, he managed to share his love of the game of chess with students throughout Fairfax County.
Also after his Army service, he moved to Washington D.C. and happily met his wife, Ella Dudley Patterson. Shortly after marriage, Ron and Ella moved to Connecticut. Two years later they moved to New Jersey where the first of their two sons, Omar David was born. Upon moving next to New York, Ronald David Jr. [“Ronnie”] was born. The family of four finally settled in Vienna, VA in 1979. At home Ron joyfully played the roles of amateur baseball catcher, soccer goalie, Cub Scout dad, photographer/videographer, and was owner of the most accurate two-handed, basketball set shot one could ever see!
Ron was deeply committed to serving the community through his volunteer work and public service. Over the years he served with countless organizations working both behind the scenes and on the frontlines. As a result of his efforts, he was selected 2001 Lord Fairfax for Hunter Mill District, which is given by the Hunter Mill District Supervisor for demonstrated excellence in community service. He also received the Vienna Community Service Award for Volunteerism 2006.
Ron was a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He pledged in 1958 with the Beta Sigma Chapter at Southern University. Over the years he helped charter two chapters of the fraternity, one in Germany while stationed there in the Army; and the other, the Omicron Kappa Kappa (OKK) Chapter in Reston/Herndon, Virginia. Ron was a proud recipient of OKK’s “Omega Man of the Year Award,” – the chapter’s highest honor. He was also awarded OKK’s “Community Service Award,” for excellence in service to the community.
Ron served as the Commander of the Vienna American Legion for two consecutive terms and was an elected board member of the American Legion Post 180 for fifteen years. He was coordinator of the local National Student Oratorical Contest for the Vienna American Legion and served as a consultant and manager of the Virginia American Legion Patriot Hall rental facility. He was humbly proud to feel that he hopefully left a lasting imprint on this organization too as part of his arc of service. As jovial a soul as he was serious and strategically-minded, he possessed a signature laugh that made anyone in earshot start laughing and feeling good too. And whether it was in support of his sons’ sports teams, his own favorite college and professional teams and players, his own students and mentees, he applauded and savored their accomplishments with his equally signature phrase – “Tell ‘em what I’m talking ‘bout!”
Ron is survived by his wife of 53 years, Ella, sons Omar Patterson and Ronald Patterson, Jr., both of Virginia, as well as his sisters Patricia White (Billy White) of Atlanta, Ga. and Carmen Coleman of Houston, TX, as well as a host of nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents John Patterson, Jr. and Edna Patterson, and brothers John Patterson III and Michael Patterson.
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