I was one of the lucky people to have the privilege of working under Mr. Patterson's leadership at the then St. Petersburg Times. Even after his retirement when I would see him, Mr. Patterson always took the time to stop and say hello and ask how I was doing. After reading the story published about his life in the Times, it was easy to see why he walked with such presence. I will always remember his smile.
Mr. Patterson was a person a great personal and moral courage. He has given all of us an example of how to be an exceptional human being, and American.
He was a truly great man, American Hero in both war abroad and war at home. His stories of wartime experience, and what it meant to him to have served overseas inspired my own military career. What he did for the Civil Rights movement was gallant, and I can see from other posts in the guest book that it had a far reaching effect. He will be missed. Rest In Peace Uncle Gene.
to the Patterson family,may you be comforted by these words."I-I myself am the One that is comforting you people."pslm.145:16
Somewhere beyond the rainbows end
The skies are bright and fair,
No shadows dim, no darkness falls
The land is peaceful there.
And someone with the power to heal
To guide and understand
Is waiting there to calm our fears
And take us by the hand
So when a dear one heeds his call.
Our hearts should be at rest
For there beyond the rainbow's end
A loving God knows best.
Be thou faithful unto death
and I will give you a crown of life.
~ Myrtice McDaniel, Stone Mountain. Georgia
Eugene Patterson defined the highest civic ideals and determination. He was a consummate lifelong practitioner of excellence.
A stellar and bold newspaper editor, Mr. Patterson was also a profound leader of young people. He created high-level opportunity for capable youth and that proudly included me.
As an exploring University of Florida college student, I walked in the door he helped the legendary Nelson Poynter create. It later was called The Poynter Institute. I participated in its first year, learning from the great members of Mr. Patterson's team. It changed my life and many others forever. It was Mr. Patterson who, no doubt, ultimately approved the hire of an additional Times/Independent photography staffer. That staffer was I.
What many of us remember as most important about Mr. Patterson, though, was that he simply took time for us. Many young interns regularly saw and talked with him. He was present at some of our meetings. He hosted us in his Snell Isle home.
I am among many filled with great memories and think it personally important to note his passing.
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
We were sadden to hear of Gene's death. He was a great contributor to advocacy journalism, and the industry in general. I owed him a lot since he helped me get my job with UPI in London, that lasted for 42 years through several countries.
My wife and I remember Gene and Sue's hospitality in Washington where they took care of our infant son and loaned us their car to tour Washington.
Our sympathies go out to his family.
May God be with the Patterson family in their time of sorrow.
There are some who bring a light so bright to the world that even after they have gone the light remains. May his light be with us forever.
Audrey Lincourt Schiebler
Amelia Island, FL
Gene is my dearly loved cousin. We would visit Gene, Sue and Mary many times over my youth. My parents were in London at the time Mary was born. When I was older I would go by the paper and he dropped everything to see me which included lunch many times with Harold Martin and other colleagues. I loved him dearly and will miss him terribly. Now there is only his sister Ann whom we also love very much..
Gene was a patriot in both war and peace. His feet were solidly on the ground. His boyhood,youth and early experience kept him in touch with reality in a way that many others never
achieve. He was truly a broad-gauged individual who touched millions of lives. His work will continue after him.
So sorry to hear about your death. My prayers are with you. Please look to the Bible for comfort and reassurance.
A great light to so many; an unforgettable voice of truth and integrity.
Gene Patterson was a friend and colleague of my father, Harold Martin and he and Sue Patterson were our neighbors. I remember so well the many times they were at our house, with Mother playing the "squonk organ" and Gene, the "hog-squalling Adel tenor," singing at the top of his lungs! He and Sue were warm, wonderful, generous people. I often babysat Mary (and I remember "Elizabeth" the dog well!) and they always overpaid me and Gene would always drive me home (only 3 houses away). I treasure his memory but I know he's happy to be home with his sweet Sue.
Gene Patterson was a guiding light to so many journalists, myself included. I grew up with the Washington Post, where he was the M.E., was lucky enough to be at the St. Pete Times and Poynter after he had moved South, and was privileged once to interview him for a book with reflections about Martin Luther King. A courageous journalist and generous man. Thank you, Mr. Patterson.
A TRUE WARRIOR who was armed only with a typewriter.One thing about freedom of speech is everyone should have it,one thing about THE TRUTH is everyone should tell it. Mr. Eugene Patterson is THE TRUTH!
American journalism owes Gene Patterson a great debt. He was a beacon of integrity and fairness. He guided and inspired young journalists.
In the mid-1980s the late Jack Nelson, then Washington bureau chief of the LA Times, and I organized a dinner honoring Gene. Nelson had won a Pulitzer Prize while working with Gene at the Atlanta Constitution. Gene was CEO of the St. Petersburg Times, and I worked for him as publisher of Congressional Quarterly.
Jack and I wanted to express our gratitude to Gene. We decided on a small dinner at the National Press Club. But word got around and the guest list exploded. Soon the main dining room was filled to capacity. I got a call from Katherine Graham's secretary at the Washington Post. Ms. Graham's invitation must have been lost, she explained diplomatically. I'm sorry, I said, I'll send another.
It was a wonderful evening filled with tributes, including a telegram from former President Jimmy Carter. It was not a Washington crowd. People flew in from everywhere. Gene and his wife, Sue, stayed late into the evening, Gene singing "Danny Boy" in the Press Cub Lounge. Gene was special. Not every CEO of a major national newspaper can sing "Danny Boy" a cappella.
We are very sorry to hear of your loss. Please allow the prayers of family and friends comfort you at this time.
I remember when a young journalism student from Savannah, GA, my college fiance, moved to attend Georgia State and ended up working at the Atlanta Constitution-Journal, the home of Eugene Patterson and Ralph McGill. These were incredible, world-changing and sad times.When I later moved to St. Petersburg and later on met Eugene Patterson, I felt I was meeting journalism royalty. These courageous journalists will never be forgotten.
He was the best friend reporters could ever have, strong in his defense of us and eager to publish good stories that hold government officials accountable. And the best writer that ever walked thru a newsroom. It's difficult to imagine life without him.
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
My sincere condolence for the loss of Eugene your dear loved one. May your fond memories of him bring you comfort. Peace and love to your family and friends, and to the spirit you show. email@example.com
Saying thank you hardly seems adequate. Your courage, sense of fair play, and faith in humanity inspire us all.
When I returned to Emory University in January 1962, Eugene Patterson had replaced Ralph McGill as Guiding Light of The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. Destiny carried that truly gifted man far from Atlanta, but he has never been truly replaced.
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
God bless you ~ Rest in peace.
and a flower to you Mr. Patterson.....
I had the pleasure of meeting Gene Patterson many years ago at a presentation he made to some students. He was outstanding in his presence (respectful to everyone, articulate in his delivery and a beacon of ethics). I will never forget one statement he made--"We, in this business, need to wrestle everyday with whether this story is worth telling--not to belittle someone, not to ruin their personal lives--but whether there is some larger social good that will come from it"!! My sympathies to his family and friends--he was a remarkable person.
We mourn with you on the loss of Eugene Patterson. His courage and integrity will be greatly missed. God cares and provides for all to live in peace at Ps. 37:10, 11.
When someone you love dies it can be an overwhelming experience. Draw comfort from the God of all comfort who can give needed comfort and advice to you at this time. (Isaiah 32:1-2) I offer my condolences to the family.
To the Patterson family, You have my sincere sympathy. May the God who gives comfort be with you in your time of sorrow.
Thank you Mr. Patterson,May your soul rest in peace. From a student who was involved in the civil rights movement in Baton Rouge during that time.
"The Greatest Generation" indeed. Those four little girls have been waiting to give you a hug. Godspeed, sir.
to a wonderful mentor, you will be greatly missed. your love, wisdom, knowledge, encouragement and direction will guide me forever.
Peace & Love for you and all. Thank you Sir
Thank you, Mr. Patterson.
Rest in peace.
Dear Mr. Patterson, I have not met you but I honor your honesty and integrity. You are a guiding light of the times and stand as tall as Dr. Martin Luther King. You believed in all people, when others were afraid to speak. Thank you!
God Bless You and Thank You, Sweet Soul.
I didn't know Mr.Patterson because I'm to young! But i woul like to say from us Young African Amercian Children Thank You Sir for YOur Fight!We finally got some Justice!
It is difficult to deliver truth to power on behalf of the disadvantaged at any time but to do it at that time and in that place was simply courageous so therefore I salute him,thank him and honor him!
Long an admirer of what he and Ralph McGill accomplished in Atlanta.
I had the privilege of working as a reporter for the St. Petersburg Times under Mr. Patterson during 1973-76. He led by example and always insisted that our reports be fair and ethical. He also stood up for the reporters when advertisers, politicians, and others complained about something we wrote. He was absolutely the most inspirational editor I ever worked for.
Angel Castillo, Jr.
Thank you for your work. Without your advocacy, many of my people would be struggling more than what they already are.
Mr. Patterson, I became acquainted with your bio just today. I thought, he is a great man. I read "A Flower For The Graves" and now I Know you are a great man. In my heart your greatness lives on. Your seeds are flowers in me.
I , too, remember what he tried to do, and I thank him.
God bless your journey. May you travel well. Thank you for being a light in the world.
What a beautiful piece, A Flower for the Grave, we can all learn from it . It can pertain to so many issues today. So often so many stay silent when there is injustice.
As a daughter of the late Tom C. Harris, former Executive Editor of the St. Petersburg Times, I join my family in mourning Gene's death. All of us valued his friendship and admired his bright mind, many talents and great journalistic courage. He honored St. Petersburg and the Times with his distinguished leadership.
We were pleased to be in touch with him recently as we complimented him on his last work, "Chord: The Old Testament Condensed."
Our deep condolences go to his family, friends and readers.
Patricia Harris Burgin
Gene Patterson did his best to prove true what William Faulkner declared about us human beings: that we are capable of pity, compassion, and sacrifice. The world desperately needs Gene Pattersons.
Thanks for your courage to speak up and out when others did not.
Eugene Patterson represents what all of us should strive to be... A person of conscience and compassion. He truly represented what makes me proud to be a Southern.
After reading the column he wrote about the Birmingham bombing, I know without a doubt that he is now resting in the arms of God. As M. L. King Jr wrote, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy". May God's blessings be with your family.
We know that Lester is with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jo and sons, We love you and trust that Jesus will wipe away all tears.
Eugene Patterson was indeed a special, wonderful person.
When I accepted a contract to teach journalism at Georgia State College (now Georgia State University) I was delighted to be moving to this city where Patterson was editing the morning daily. But sadly, he left before I started teaching in September.
Still he had friends and family here, and I spent hours in his company, all to my benefit.
RIP, Gene. The world is a better place because you passed this way.
Albert C. "Chad" Skaggs
I was a new staffer at the Times. I was on a very crowded elevator with other staffers one morning when he stepped into the elevator, saw me and said "Kathy, welcome aboard. I do miss you over at the bank though" ( I was a teller over at First National bank across the street). I was overwhelmed that he remembered my name and took time to welcome me to the Times and in front of all those folks in that elevator. Talk about feeling special!
He was such a gentleman and so very cordial to everyone of us. I am so honored to have known him. My thoughts and prayers to his family.
He was a Son of the South we can all be proud of. No one personified the greatness of newspapers and journalism more than Gene. He was a publisher editors wanted to work for, and there weren't many of those -- even journalism's gold age of the late 20th Century. Rest in peace, Gene. You earned your spot in heaven fair and square.
As a former St. Petersburg Times reporter and editor, I am privileged to have learned at the knee of the master. Gene indeed made an indelible mark in life.
Eugene Patterson and his boss Ralph McGill were both giants of journalism in the changing South. I am an opinion columnist for the Athens Banner-Herald, the daily newspaper here in Athens, Georgia (onlineathens.com). Mr Patterson and Mr. McGill were big influences on me. I will miss Gene Patterson's compassionate and courageous writings. ED TANT, www.edtant.com
I was 15 in 1963, in my hometown of Newnan, GA. We learned next to nothing about racism and the civil rights movement from family, school or church. News articles and op-ed pieces like this column by Mr. Patterson in the Atlanta newspapers opened my eyes, Thank you, Sir, for what you did and who you were.
May this great man who had courage when many others did, rest in peace.
May god continue to bless you and your entire family. This world has truly lost a special person.
On behalf of my African American family, we will not forget you. May you rest in peace.
Our deepest sympathies and prayers for the family and friends of Mr. Eugene Patterson. I was greatly touched when I read A Flower for the Graves. He was a great man and will be remembered.
Thanks for your courage and for being an inspiration.
Thank you Mr. Patterson for a job well done. The angels are rejoicing to have such a loving angel among them. May you rest in peace sir.
Eugene Patterson, and Ralph McGill, were courageous, moral journalists at a time and place in which their voices were vital to move our nation forward in the fulfillment of its promise and in the direction of its destiny. They were both giants upon men and among journalists.
As a young journalist, Mr. Patterson inspired me with his moral courage and his poetic voice. American newspapers and Atlanta were challenged and improved by his example.
Eugene Patterson is one of the reasons I am so proud to be an Atlantan born and bred. He espoused what makes Atlanta great when the rest of the South was struggling with civil rights issues. So sad to lose someone you could look up to. Someone who wrote things that you knew were right and that you could not express yourself.
My sympathy to his family. This is a great loss but not as great it would have been if we had not had him at all.
As an early television associate of Gene I gained a longtime friend and the estimable dedication of a great professional. The body of his editorial work should shine as a bright beacon for those who have, and will, come before him.
What a coincidence: I just visited Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church---site of the 1963 bombing--yesterday. I remember those times as a kid and know what nerve it took to stand against the KKK and white supremacy. Eugene Patterson was one of our best!
My condolences to the family of Eugene. I know he will be missed, but God will bring comfort and peace in the difficult days to come for your family. Romans 15:33
We truly lost a wonderful human! He was very special to my family. He tolerated my 3 year old self harassing to play with his pup, Lizzie, and had the patience to teach me to swim. My heart aches for Mary and her girls. My sincerest condolences. I know he's up with Viv and Suzie having a cocktail just like the good ol' days.
When I first went to work at the St Petersburg Times, Mr Patterson was our editor, the 80s and 90s were an era of progress and great success under his guidance. He always had a friendly smile and a sense of family that permeated every department. He valued his staff and treated all of us with a fair and friendly attitude.
I send my sincerest condolences to his family. My prayers are with you in this time of sorrow.
Thank You for your contribution to the Civil Rights Movement. Rest in Peace.
It was an honor to have worked for this great newspaper editor, who taught all of us at the St. Petersburg Times to carry a high and unyielding ethical standard. Thank you, Gene.
My deepest sympathy to the family of Eugene Patterson. His writing, courage, and standards should be emulated by all who wish to pursue a career in journalism.
I will always remember Gene Patterson as an inspiration. I was lucky to meet him when I first joined The Poynter Media Institute for Media Studies (then Modern Media Institute). What an exampla, guiding light and mentor he was to all of us. He inspired through his words and deeds so that we would all pursue a better quality journalism. He represents the very best of a golden era of American journalism and his enormous contributions will continue to serve as the foundation and inspiration for those who seek to practice our noble profession to the highest standards. He will be missed.
Years and years ago, when I worked for Randy Wedding, I designed a master closet for Mr. Patterson and his wife. They were the most down to earth people I ever met - truly lovely and wonderful to work with. I was in awe of Mr. Patterson as I knew his background and history. When I moved to Atlanta, I learned evern more. A truly great man has passed: my deepest sympathy to his friends and family.
The highlight of my 39 years in the Times newsroom was being able to work with Gene, discussing with him daily what the top stories of the world were and why I had designed 1-A as I had.
Only once did he overrule me: The first on-the-surface photo from a Mars explorer was a blurry, orange thing that I didn't want to print. He simply said, "Bob, that's a photo from MARS. Let's run that.'' We did.
My other favorite memory, which illustrated his down-to-earth approach, especially about himself: The New York Times once profiled the St. Petersburg Times and described Gene's newsroom demeanor -- and stature -- as resembling Jimmy Cagney.
When I asked Gene what he thought of this, he chuckled and said, "No, more like Mickey Rooney.''
He was a visionary who inspired countless journalists. We who got to work with him are forever blessed.
Not only was he a great journalist, Gene was a thoroughly decent human being. I was honored to work with him for many years. We need more like him.
R.I.P. Eugene Patterson
Thanks for the memories.
To my friend Mary. Granddaughters Laura, Molly, Emily and Eugene's sister, Anne Facer. May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Gene Patterson was a larger than life figure to many of us who knew him from the outer row of his existence. He treated all of those in his environment with respect and dignity. His influence will long survive him, and he will be sorely missed.