James Winton Patton of San Antonio, TX and previously Littleton, CO, died January 9, 2021 at the age of 91 in a nursing home due to complications of COVID-19, after a long battle with Alzheimer's. An aide held a phone to his ear as his daughter assured him he was loved. Ten minutes later he passed away.
He was born November 10, 1929 in Okemah, Oklahoma to William Henry and Doris Davenport Patton, both of Arkansas. He grew up in Clovis, New Mexico.
As a child he showed an innate knack for advanced math and chemistry, leading him to study at the University of New Mexico. Later he earned his Masters and PhDs in chemistry at the University of Wisconsin. As a chemist and geo-chemist, he spent his entire career at Marathon Oil Company in its research facility in Littleton. He was proud to be named on six U.S. and three international patents for chemical processes he developed, including the scintillatingly named, "Processes for the Autoxidation of
Substituted Benzenes." He enjoyed searching for things, whether it was Easter eggs on the lawn of FDR's White House in 1935 at age six, for deep sea oil reserves aboard the Glomar Challenger in 1980, or for elusive solutions to Cryptoquips, his favorite word puzzles. His greatest devotion was to his Catholic faith, to which he converted shortly before marrying Jean Cullen Patton in 1961. He also switched to the Republican party which left his mother in tears. James attended mass at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Littleton, sometimes daily. Later he volunteered actively with the St. Vincent de Paul chapter at All Souls parish in Englewood,
lining up rent, utility assistance, furniture, and Christmas gifts for the needy.
Hobbies included collecting every Laurel & Hardy movie on 8mm film and later on DVDs, working on the earliest home computers, and doting on his Siamese cats.
He served as Scoutmaster for the Boy Scout troop at St. Mary's for many years and took scouts on week-long adventures
at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico and the Boundary Waters of Minnesota.
According to family genealogy traced back 40 generations, he was the longest living person ever in his family.
He was preceded in death by his wife Jean Cullen Patton, parents, and brother, Perkins LeFevre Patton.
Survivors include sons Vincent Patton of Portland, OR, Andrew Patton of San Antonio, TX, and daughter Doris Fox of
Milford, MI, plus 5 grandchildren: David Patton, and James, Kathryn, Justin and Thomas Fox.
He will be buried at Mt. Olivet Catholic Cemetery in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, next to his wife. Due to COVID, there will be no
funeral, though a special Memorial Mass is being said for him at his daughter's church in Michigan. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests sending checks to St. Vincent de Paul mailed to All Souls Parish in Englewood, Colorado.
Published in Colorado Community Media on Jan. 29, 2021.