George F. Patterson, Jr. (1922-2005)
Acacia Fraternity's Founding Fathers, along with many other dedicated Acacians, had a profound impact on Acacia, giving a lifetime of dedicated service to our Fraternity. But one brother stands alone for his continued 60-plus years of loyal service, both at the local and national level- and that brother was George F. Patterson, Jr., Cincinnati '42.
Brother Patterson was a second-generation "geometry student" as his father, George F. Patterson, Iowa '15, was also a member of our Fraternity. Upon graduation from medical school, George's dad set up practice in Cincinnati, Ohio. George was born and raised there and attended the University of Cincinnati graduating with his B.A. in 1945 and J.D. in 1948.
During his professional career, Brother Patterson first served as the State of Ohio's Assistant Attorney General from 1951-54. He then went on to serve his community as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney of Hamilton County, Ohio and Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney from 1955-78. He most recently was Senior Partner in the law practice of Patterson and Nolan in Madeira, Ohio.
His introduction to Acacia was formalized on February 15, 1942, when George became initiate number 133 of the Cincinnati Chapter. As an undergraduate he served his chapter as Venerable Dean and later, as an alumnus, was its Chapter Advisor. In 1954 he was elected National Treasurer, a position he held until 1962. After serving two terms as Treasurer, Brother Patterson was elected Acacia's 16th President, serving in this capacity from 1962 through 1970.
After serving our Fraternity in multiple capacities, George was elected to the National Interfraternity Conference (NIC) Board. In 1974-75 he was elected President of the NIC. He was credited for bringing back into the fold many national fraternities who had left the conference in protest. George's efforts were recognized by the interfraternity world in 1979, when the NIC Gold Medal, the highest interfraternity accolade, was bestowed upon him.
In 1980, Acacia's Outstanding Alumnus Award, the highest award which can be bestowed upon an Acacian, was renamed the George F. Patterson, Jr. Award.
Brother Patterson also served on the Acacia Fraternity Foundation (AFF) board, and remained active in the Foundation's affairs as a Director Emeritus. As a lasting tribute, the AFF created the "Patterson Scholars" in 2002. The George F. Patterson Scholarship is presented annually to undergraduates who most nearly exemplify the outstanding attributes of Brother Patterson.
George also attended more than 26 consecutive Acacia Biennial Conclaves and is one of the few members who had a personal relationship with two of Acacia's Founding Fathers, Charles Sink and George Malcolm. George also attended his share of charterings over the years, most recently the re-chartering of the Missouri Chapter on April 12, 2005.
In each quarter century of our existence, one Acacian has been recognized above all others. At the 2004 Centennial Conclave, George was named the "Acacia Great" for the fourth quarter of Acacia's first century. Given his links to the past and present, his knowledge of our Fraternity, and his accomplishments within the interfraternity world, "Acacia Great" barely scratches the surface.
Generations of Acacians have come to know George as "Mr. Acacia." Brother Patterson would have been the first to eschew such attention, but his lasting legacy of dedication, loyalty and leadership is unsurpassed in the annals of our beloved organization.
George Patterson cherished the past and challenged the future. His vast contributions to Acacia will live forever.
Excerpt from Memorial Service Remarks
On Saturday, May 14, 2005, many Brothers gathered with countless family, friends and colleagues of Brother George F. Patterson, Jr., Cincinnati '42, to remember and memorialize this great Acacian. The following is an excerpt of remarks made by International Council President David J. Allen, Indiana '57, at the Memorial Service:
"I am truly at a loss for the appropriate words that express just how much George Patterson meant to thousands of Acacians.
For over 60 years he carried high the banner of Acacia. His death creates an unfillable void in our Fraternity. Every Conclave, every Leadership Academy, every Foundation meeting, every Council meeting saw George in attendance. His sage wisdom, the twinkle in his eye, the deep breath as he inhaled on his pipe were his trademarks.
To watch George enter a meeting was like watching an electric magnet activate. People were drawn to him and he treated them as if he had known them for a lifetime. He made the youngest, most nervous undergraduate at ease by his ready smile, firm handshake and a story that somehow said to the nervous undergrad - welcome my Brother we share a common bond that will never be broken.
That was how I first met George. I was then and will always remain in absolute awe of his people skills, his integrity, his devotion to family, and his unwavering kindness to everyone. For nearly 50 years, George Patterson has been my mentor. It is only because of him that I stand here today as the President of his beloved Fraternity. He decided that "no I can't do it" was an unacceptable response from me. He convinced me that so much had been given to me because of my membership in Acacia. Now it was my duty to return some of what had been given to me.
George, you left very large footprints and if I don't fill them it won't be because I didn't try.
There are so many Patterson stories that it would take until the next millennium to tell them. His name and his achievements have created a legacy that no other can match. We gather here today to pay our respect to one whose lifetime of service enriched all of our lives.
No matter how many times George had witnessed the same event, he remained thrilled to be involved in it once more. His spirit was contagious and none involved could resist his enthusiasm.
You could see George get pumped up when there was a Fraternity event. He left every event in high spirits and with a challenge to everyone else to "do better."
He was among good friends - good brothers. He felt comfortable. He considered himself as just one of the "boys" and wanted to be treated that way. And, believe me, he was.
Honors and awards surrounded George. All of these awards paled to insignificance to him even as the rest of us stood in awe of the man, the husband, the father, the grandfather, the lawyer, the community and church leader. He wore the mantle of leadership gracefully and willingly shared with others achievements that were his alone.
George Patterson is a special treasure to all Acacians. We are privileged to have known and worked with him. We are all better men because of his leadership. We are better men because he taught us the values of life, the importance of perspective, and the essential presence of a sense of humor and humanity.
George, you have nurtured many, many Acacians and we shall all miss you. The legacy you leave for the ages is one that will never be equaled. You truly were a man among men. And, we who love and revere you will cherish your values and friendship for the rest of our lives. We will also teach these values to those who follow us so that the 200th anniversary of the Fraternity that you loved and devotedly served will be one of which you will be proud.
George, may God richly Bless you as you are welcomed into his Chapter Eternal. While your journey here has ended, you have new vistas to climb and new challenges to meet. George, we will miss you but you will live on forever in our memories and the stories that are told. George, our love and respect accompany you on your journey."