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Van PATTEN MURIEL M. 81, of Port Charlotte, Florida died May 28, 2013. She was born April 27, 1932 in Quincy, Michigan to Edwina and Lloyd Van Patten. Muriel was a graduate of Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI with a Bachelor of Arts degree in fine arts and arts education and a Master of Arts degree in administration. Ms. Van Patten began her career in 1954 teaching senior high school visual arts in the Fenton Area Public Schools, Fenton, MI. She moved to Wayne-Westland School District, Wayne, MI serving as an elementary art teacher, director of visual art and principal at three elementary schools. Due to the successful initiatives implemented as a principal, she was called upon by the Michigan Department of Education to join them in a massive curriculum change program. During the 1970s and 1980s, Van Patten was named Supervisor of Instructional Specialists Program and then Director of School Program Services. She retired in 1984. Van Patten believed that "arts are one of the key elements in unlocking a child's ability to learn. Anyone can be taught to look at a painting, but you need to be taught to see ... anyone can listen to music, but you need to be taught to hear," she said. "To be able to see beyond what is presented to you to the deeper meaning or to hear more than simple notes strung together, it is these abilities that allow children and even adults to really begin to learn," she explained. "The arts are nourishment for all learning. It doesn't matter what the subject whether it be math or reading, the arts can open the door to education." As a local artist Muriel's fluid and expressive paintings have earned her recognition; her work has been featured in juried art exhibitions as well as solo shows in Florida and Michigan with her latest solo show in East Lansing, Michigan in 2011. Study in Giverny (France) and Florence (Italy) produced a huge body of work including vivid landscapes of poppy fields and grape arbors. A natural leader in the arts arena, Van Patten served on arts and humanities councils at the local, county and state levels in Michigan and Florida. In recognition for her contribution to the arts, in 2008 MVP was awarded the Charlie Award by the Arts & Humanities Council of Charlotte County, Florida. This award recognizes outstanding initiative, leadership or excellence in supporting the arts or humanities or as an artist in Charlotte County. Muriel was a gentle soul whose physical presence will be missed but her laughter, love and talent will live on in the hearts of many. She is survived by her partner, Wanda H. Jubb and her brother Jerald Allen Van Patten (Rena); a nephew Harold Allen Van Patten (Suzi), and nieces Joanne Renee Lee (Brian), Cynthia Louise Dungey, and Amy Lynn Miller (Robert). She was preceded in death by her parents and a nephew John Charles Van Patten. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Charlotte Symphony, P.O. Box 510476, Punta Gordon, FL 33951-0476, The Charlotte Chorale, P.O. Box 494451, Port Charlotte, FL 33949; or the Employee's Appreciation Fund, South Port Square, 23013 Westchester Blvd., Port Charlotte, FL 33980. Memorial services will be held in Lansing, Michigan and Port Charlotte, Florida at a later date. Private interment will be in Lakeview Cemetery, Quincy, Michigan. Friends may visit online at to sign the guestbook and extend condolences to the family. Arrangements by Roberson Funeral Home and Crematory, Port Charlotte.

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Published in The Detroit News on Jun. 2, 2013.