Bill Edward Patton, longtime Contra Costa County resident and founder of Group II Commercial Real Estate Inc., passed away at his home in the early morning of February 17th following a period of declining health. He is survived by his wife, Mary Swann of Lafayette; sons, Greg Patton (Anna Ciacchella) of Pleasant Hill, David Patton (Emily Mai Enriquez-Patton) of Pacifica; and brothers, Lee Patton of Denver, Colorado, and Ron Patton of San Francisco. He was predeceased by his brother Joe Patton of Fort Bragg, California in 1991. He leaves many friends and extended family as well. Read More
Bill was born May 17, 1938, in Fort Bragg, California, the first child of Bill and Zita Patton. It was in this coastal community he developed his great love for the outdoors and made many good friends whose bonds remain today. He was a natural athlete who played football, track and basketball in middle and high school. It was Bill's athletic ability that won him a football scholarship to UC Berkeley where he excelled as both fullback and halfback and played in the 1959 Rose Bowl. The first in his family to achieve a college degree, Bill joined the Sigma Pi Fraternity and majored in labor-management relations. He was approached by the Oakland Raiders, the San Francisco 49ers, and St. Louis Rams, to play in the nascent professional football league but withdrew due to vision problems and the upcoming birth of his first child.
He developed a successful career in commercial real estate, managing and developing shopping centers a well as building five houses in two countries. Following completion of his degree, he made the East Bay his home, including Albany, Berkeley, Walnut Creek and, finally, Lafayette where he lived with his family from 1968 until the present.
Bill maintained a strong connection to his coastal roots and family. A great storyteller, he loved recounting his years on the Mendocino Coast to friends and family, often with embellishment. His personality was very magnetic and he could command a room with ease. A well-traveled man, he sought out new and exciting experiences, often writing up his adventures to send to family and friends. His greatest joy was being out in the natural world with family and friends, hiking, abalone diving off the Mendocino Coast, fishing for salmon and halibut in Alaska, marlin and tuna in Cabo San Lucas, trout fishing in Colorado's Black Canyon of the Gunnison River, rafting white water across the West, including the Grand Canyon, and taking his kayak out on Tomales Bay. He managed this despite a progressive loss of vision over the years which left him legally blind. It is a testament to his tenacity and the joy he took from life that he didn't allow his impairment to stop his adventurous spirit.
He will be greatly missed by his family and friends, our storyteller has left us but we will keep him in our hearts, and all the stories in our memories. The family would also like to thank Cheryl Thomas for all her love and support. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, (stjude.org), Shriners Hospital for Children, ([email protected]), or a charity of your choice. A Celebration of his life will be held on Friday, March 6, at 2 p.m. at Oakmont Memorial Park, 2099 Reliez Valley Road, Lafayette, oakmontmortuary.com.