T.J. Patterson is being remembered for his dedication to the neighborhood he usually proudly known as Lubbock, Texas, U.S.A.
Patterson, who served in lots of key roles together with as Lubbock’s first African-American metropolis councilman, a weekly newspaper writer and a life-long advocate for equal rights, died Wednesday. He was 85.
Mates and family members recalled that Patterson spent his life doing one thing, largely targeted on service to the town and Black neighborhood.
Alan Henry, who served as Lubbock’s mayor in the beginning of Patterson’s tenure on the council in 1984, praised Patterson as “a present to the town.”
“Everybody is aware of T.J. was a really optimistic particular person, very encouraging and articulate, however he was additionally somebody who was very considerate and conscious of the seriousness of points going through the neighborhood,” Henry mentioned.
Though Patterson was born in Waxahachie and grew up in Wichita Falls, most of his life was devoted to Lubbock and West Texas. He moved to Lubbock not lengthy after graduating with a level in bodily schooling from Bishop School in Marshall and spent his early years working in schooling, together with at Texas Tech, in accordance with Avalanche-Journal archives. Lubbock is the place he met his spouse, Bobbie Patterson, the place they raised three kids and construct a life largely devoted to serving their neighborhood.
In 1977, he and Eddie Richardson co-founded the Southwest Digest, a weekly publication targeted on Lubbock’s Black neighborhood, in accordance with A-J archives.
He grew to become the primary African-American particular person elected to the Lubbock Metropolis Council in 1984 and served in that place for 20 years. He was a pacesetter and a voice in Lubbock’s African-American neighborhood. His pure management received acknowledged by many state and nationwide organizations. One in all his daughters, Shelia Patterson Harris, now represents Lubbock’s District 2 on the town council.
Patterson and Maggie Trejo collectively grew to become Lubbock’s first minority metropolis councilmembers in 1984 after a court docket ruling the yr prior carved Lubbock into six single-member Metropolis Council districts. For 9 years till Trejo’s departure from the council in 1993, the 2 labored collectively on quite a few points necessary to Lubbock’s minority communities, lots of which we nonetheless hear about and deal with usually right this moment — street infrastructure, neighborhood policing and the Canyon Lakes system to call just some.
“He simply gave fully to working for the neighborhood,” Trejo instructed the A-J on Wednesday. “He knew you do not have to be the consultant of your self, so long as you do what the individuals want.”
Trejo first met Patterson when she attended Texas Tech within the Seventies after battling sickness for a lot of her adolescence. Patterson was serving because the assistant to the dean of the School of Enterprise Administration on the time.
“He was one of many directors that mentioned, ‘Oh sure, you are able to do it,'” Trejo mentioned. “I did not actually know him at the moment, however he all the time inspired me. He mentioned, ‘Should you went to high school, you would attempt arduous and do nicely.’ And so I did.”
Patterson was a vocal advocate for youth and schooling points, main marches in protest of medication and violence. He was a Vietnam veteran and a namesake, alongside along with his spouse Bobbie, of the Patterson Library in East Lubbock.
“Lubbock misplaced a hero right this moment,” Mayor Tray Payne mentioned in a press release Wednesday. “T.J. was a pioneer and a real public servant within the West Texas neighborhood. We’re without end grateful for every part he did for Lubbock. Our ideas and prayers go to the Patterson household throughout this tough time.”
“T.J. Patterson embodied public service and dedication to the neighborhood,” Metropolis Supervisor Jarrett Atkinson mentioned within the assertion. “He’s somebody everybody on the metropolis to this present day admires and respects.
“T.J. was on the Metropolis Council after I was an intern on the metropolis years in the past. Watching him characterize his constituents and work for the neighborhood was an incredible lesson. He cherished the individuals of Lubbock and he cared for this neighborhood. My ideas and prayers are with the Patterson household.”
A e-book authored by Phil Worth titled “Equal Alternative Hero: T.J. Patterson’s Service to West Texas” and printed by Texas Tech College Press was launched in 2017.
Former Mayor Alan Henry recalled Patterson was working at Tech when he first met him, and later received to know him a lot better thanks, partially, to the court docket resolution that helped combine the Metropolis Council by creating single-member districts. That created a district in predominantly Black East Lubbock, and Patterson was an more and more well-known and revered determine in all the neighborhood by that time, Henry recalled.
“It was an honor to be a part of the primary expanded metropolis council,” Henry mentioned. “T.J. Patterson — in addition to Maggie Trejo — have been the keys to the profitable transformation from the outdated system to the expanded system, due to his potential to get together with individuals, to work with individuals. Our metropolis authorities was improved significantly. It was a pleasure to work with him.”
Henry described Patterson as one of the crucial optimistic individuals he ever knew.
“However he was additionally sensible in that he knew the seriousness of points that confronted the town,” he mentioned.
A few of the points Henry remembered working with Patterson on included enhancing housing and financial improvement on the east aspect in addition to serving to safe extra water sources for all the metropolis via what would later be often called Lake Alan Henry.
“He was a really uncommon particular person in that he represented his district very nicely whereas retaining in thoughts that he represented he metropolis as an entire,” Henry mentioned.
At the same time as Patterson’s well being declined lately — and his spouse Bobbie handed away in 2012 — he remained lively in the neighborhood, talking at occasions and making his annual Christmastime go to to inmates at Lubbock’s jail.
“T.J. and Bobbie have been fixtures within the metropolis,” he mentioned.
Henry mentioned the boys maintained their friendship over time, and recalled visiting with a still-jovial Patterson a couple of weeks in the past.
“I keep in mind he instructed me that he was all the time pleased with Lubbock, Texas, U.S.A.,” he mentioned.
Patterson’s funeral preparations are pending, in accordance with household and mates.
This text initially appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: T.J. Patterson, Lubbock chief and first Black councilman, dies