Cynthia Patterson
1946 - 2021
{ "" }
Share Cynthia's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
PATTERSON, Cynthia Sue

Cynthia Sue Patterson, of Smyrna, GA, died on February 13, after a sudden and brief illness. She was 74 years old.

Cindy was born on May 31, 1946, the second daughter of Eli and Clio Perkins, of Ontario, California. She was educated in the public schools of Ontario and Tucson, and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona. She moved to Atlanta in the early 1970's and, after receiving a Master's Degree from Georgia State University, continued a teaching career that spanned 40 years, most of it in Cobb

County, where she taught gifted students on the elementary school level. Her keen intelligence and creativity made her ideally suited for that role. She was revered by her students and many of them maintained contact with her well after their graduations and even after her retirement.

She married George Patterson in 1976. Her most cherished role became that of mother and grandmother, where her capacity to love and nurture became most evident. Because she was a joyfully positive person who had a genuine interest in and empathy for everyone whom she met, she had a host of friends, in all walks of life.

She will be sorely missed by family and friends. She is survived by her son, Justin Patterson, New York photographer, actor and singer; daughter-in-law Heidi Patterson; and grandchildren, Heath and Emma Patterson.

At her son's request, memorial gifts should be directed to the

A Zoom memorial service is being planned for a later date.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Feb. 26, 2021.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
3 entries
February 27, 2021
My beloved cousin, Cindy. Every summer in California she would visit and it was wonderful. She was like a big sister to me. I love you, Cindy, and always will. Many Christmas’ spent together. Lots of history. Will miss you immensely.
Linda McRae
February 27, 2021
If you were a teacher or volunteer at King Springs Elementary in Smyrna, you knew Cindy. Always smiling, always helping, always loving. She had everything a parent or administrator could want in a teacher. What a loss. She is missed.
Mike Terry
February 26, 2021
"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Imagination is the language of the soul. Pay attention to your imagination and you will discover all you need to be fulfilled."
-Albert Einstein

Cindy Patterson was an Angel sent to Earth to guide those of us lucky enough to know her. For those of us who were even luckier to have her as a teacher, she left an indelible mark on us. She was the most influential teacher I have ever had. Like most things, I did not recognize this at the time. I was in elementary school, but the lessons she taught me have stuck with me and have helped shape me. She found a way to draw out the true potential in every child she taught. Her use of imagination in the classroom inspired and brought out the best in the most reluctant students. When others were learning by rote, she taught us through games and actions. Oregon Trail, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, and Monster Chem, were staples in her class. Grandiose semester long projects and themes were not out of the norm for her classroom. I remember, while in 5th grade, she taught a unit on Greek Mythology. This unit culminated with a grand feast where each student had to dress as a Greek god or goddess. She assigned the roles to us. We had to do research on the god or goddess, understand their back story, and even try to be in character for this feast. Looking back, I see she assigned us the god or goddess that best fit us or one that would help bring out a quality that was needed. I was assigned Hades. As a 10-year-old boy, I loved this because I got to be the God of the Underworld. When doing my research, I discovered why she gave me Hades. He was thinker and prone to the dramatic. She had nailed my personality to a "T" and I didn't even know it.

In the years after I had her as teacher in Elementary School, I still interacted with her and her son Justin through church and our youth group. It was there where I learned more about her beyond the great teacher she was. Most Sunday evenings I would talk to her as she picked up or dropped off Justin. It was so refreshing to me to see a teacher maintain a friendship with a former student yet still continue to teach them (although not formally). In my 8th-grade year, on a whim, I auditioned for a Magnet High School for Performing Arts. I never told my parents I auditioned and didn't think they would let me go. I was accepted into the school and later found out that she (along with a good friend of hers) had talked to my parents and convinced them to let me go. The only person I know at the high school was Justin. That first day, he greeted me, showed me around, and he introduced me to some of his friends. He made sure I was comfortable and would check-in on me periodically throughout the year. This is a testament to her as a mother to have raised a son so caring and giving as Justin.

We lost touch for a short while after graduation and college. But I ran into her at a restaurant shortly after I got engaged to my wife. There we talked and I was able to tell her how much she influenced me and the special place she held in my heart. Even after all those years, she wasn't done teaching me. I had been recently laid-off from my job and was having difficulty finding a new one. She suggested I look at the education system. A few weeks later I had an interview with the University System of GA. I got the job and was able to obtain my Masters while working there. I credit her for that little nudge that sent me on the right path.

She will always be the best teacher I have ever had. I carry her lessons with me and share them with my children in the hopes they are passed on. She will be greatly missed. Teacher, mother, and most importantly, a great friend.
Matt Harrell
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences