In Memory

Greg Patton

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08/28/16 03:08 PM #1    

Owen Hoskinson

Reprined from The Columbian (Vancouver, WA)


Gregory Talbot Patton, 62 died July 27, 2011, after a heroic battle with sarcoma for 21+ years. Born to Henry S. Patton, MD. (Hal) and Bettylee (Hinerman) Patton, Greg married Carol (Bullock) in '72, started their family in '77 in Oakland, CA., then moved to Vancouver, WA in '94.

He remains alive in our hearts today as he enjoyed playing with his grandchildren who live just four blocks away~Brynna, 4 and Ben, 2, children of our son, Jeffrey M. Talbot Patton.

Greg lived life to the fullest, taking advantage of every opportunity to do something productive! His passions were baseball, golf, fishing, playing any game, math puzzles, crosswords, pursuit of knowledge, self-improvement, and enjoying the company of family and friends.

He earned his B.S. degree in Math from Cal Berkeley while playing varsity baseball for four years there. He used his abilities to work as financial planning manager and analyst/controller for Xerox for 38+ years. His passion for golf and the outdoors led him to form a golf tournament ( co. with classmate Owen Hoskinson, of Seattle. He was tournament director at Green Mountain Golf near our home. He played till the stars chased him home every day that he was able.

He is survived by his wife, Carol; son, Jeffrey Patton; daughter, Kathryn (Katie) M. Patton, DVM, all of Vancouver and daughter, Annalisa M. Patton of Reseda, CA; brothers, Douglas S. Patton, MD of Oakland, CA, and Frederick M. Patton of The Dalles, OR; and many nieces, nephews and extended family who loved him. - See more at:

08/28/16 03:15 PM #2    

Owen Hoskinson

This reprinted from a post by Owen Hoskinson on Brad Milenbach's page:

Brad, great to hear that you're coming to the reunion.  I don't know if you remember the weekend, but Greg Patton and I reminisced about it many times.  You, Carl Cork, Steve Arnold, Greg and I spent the weekend at Bethel Island at the Patton's Bethel Island floating home and mobile home complex.

On Saturday we were out waterskiing and Mrs. Patton saw you sitting on top of the drivers' seat backrest and saw you steering their waterski boat with your foot. Boy was she mad and gave you hell.

Greg and I've laughed about that many times on our golf trips.

08/29/16 12:02 PM #3    

Doc Upshaw

Greg was a class act. 

09/21/16 05:19 AM #4    

Owen Hoskinson

It is difficult to put into words a lifetime of experiences with your best friend and at the same time help your classmates understand who Greg was what kind of man he was.  Well here goes.

At PHS we knew Greg as an athlete and a brainy scholar.  He took all the hard classes (today's STEM wizard) and excelled in them all.  He was probably the best baseball player in our class and played baseball and softball well into his 50s.  He played outfield with the Cal Bears when George Wolfman was coaching. Baseball was a big part of his life.  Greg believed that he could have played minor and possibly major league baseball, but said it would have been a selfish life and would have delayed marriage and a family.  

His softball career began with the Piedmont 1/2 Astros (the creation of George Epstein) and continued in Irvine, CA and Vancouver, WA.  Some of Greg's PHS "Astros" teammates were Steve Arnold, Yosh Yamada, George, Tom Harnett, George Woods, Alden McElrath, Fred Dunn Ruiz (teacher) and myself.  The year we were sponsored by Dryers, Greg's nickname was Peppermint Patty.  The "Astros" teams were always among the best in each league the team played in, in large part due to Greg's power and defense.  Left field was where fly balls went to die.

He majored in mathmatics at UCB and for one "short horrible" year was a teacher.  As he told me, being a babysitter and disciplinarian was not for him.  He moved on to Xerox where he was a star until he retired.  Greg was the "Spreadsheet Wizard" as he developed many of the management reporting systems used in the US and the Western Region.  I always joked with Greg that he would never be fired since he did the work of at least three people.  Greg's insightfull analysis meant that no salesperson's below standard performance would go unnoticed for long.

Over the years, whenever I had an Excel problem, I just called Greg sent him the spreadsheet and he had the error spotted and fixed in a minute.  We were both excellant multi-taskers and while he did spreadsheet work and I was doing tax returns, we would talk to each other about golf, fishing or baseball three or more times a week while punching out productive work.

Those math and science skills we saw at PHS were the basis for his successful career.

 Another of Greg's loves was fishing.  Be it with his father, Dr. Henry Patton, his brothers, Doug and Fred, with his friends thru life, with his son or daughter or by himself Greg had lots of fish stories to tell.  When he was young he learned fly fishing at his fathers knee.  Later, every year he went on a fishing trips with his brothers. Once he moved to Vancouver, he would be out on the Columbia in the afternoons fishing for salmon or squaw fish.  His brother Fred lived right up the river in the Dalles.  They would have annual competitions to see who could catch the most of these predatory fish.  The state actually paid a bounty of $4 to $8 per fish caught.  These funds helped to support is golf habit.

His dad was also a duck hunter.  Greg told me of the foggy mornings in the duck blinds with his dad.  He said that he was never much for hunting.  These outdoor times with his dad were special for Greg, since his father as a one of California's top plastic surgeons (hand and neck restoration surgery) did not have a lot of free time. 

Greg's folks, Bety and Henry, had a floating home (built on an old barge) and a couple of mobile homes on Frank's Tract up in the Delta which was a little more than a hour away.  Many of Greg's friends spent some great times, water-sking, fishing for carp, playing iceplant baseball and just hanging out at the Patton complex.

Greg's mom was a tough taskmaster.  She ran the house and when you were at Betty's house you abided by the rules.  Since Greg was such a self starter and got good grades, she pretty much let him com and go as he pleased.  I think he spent as much time at Carl Cork's house as he did at did at his own.

Given how much Greg and I loved golf, in hindsight, it is hard to believe we were not on the PHS golf team.

Many of you know how much golf Greg and I played together.  One time under an oak tree at the La Quinta Resort and Club, we estimated that we had played close to 1,250 rounds of golf together and played over 350 different golf course together.  We developed an actual list of these courses.  In Vancouver, Greg lived but a few miles from two courses and in spring, summer and fall, if he was not at home working, or out fishing, he would be on the course.

Probably the best part of his Xerox job was he worked from home.  He had to go to the office only once or twice a month, and the rest of the time he worked out of his home office.  He was up early, which meant his work day was usually over by three or so.  Special projects could be done in the late evening hours.  On many of our week long golf trips he would work to complete the sales analysis reports in the evenings and then be up at dawn for 36 holes of golf.

Each year we had numerous golf outings.  Usually, there was one week long trip (guys only), a couple weekend local trips usually staying at his house and an occasional week long combo golf and family trip with both our families.  These family trips included the Sunriver, OR, the Nevada and Utah National Parks, Banff, Vancouver Island, a Carribean cruise and Lake Almanor, CA among others.  Great memories.

Right after college and before we both married, we drove 3,000 miles from Seattle to Indianapolis for my Army Officer Basic Course.  In ten days we played ten rounds of golf (including Hazeltine - the site of the US Open), saw Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, the Badlands and visited with Carl Cork's family in Chicago.

In 1972, Greg married his wife Carol Bullock and they had two children and adopted a third.  Greg was a great dad and a thoughtful and caring husband.  Annalisa, their first child,born with severe birth defects and lived with them for close to a decade and then moved to a facility specializing in cildren with her birth defect.  Each year she would come home for a week long visit.  

Next, Greg and Carol adopted a son, Jeff.  Jeff and Greg had a lot of fun fishing and golfing togerther.  Jeff and his two children live in Vancouver WA less than a mile from Greg;s house.

Next they had a daughter Katie, who as well as her husband are now vets practicing in a small town along the Columbia River.  They have one child.  Katie and her husband were married shortly after Greg's death.

My wife and kids got to know Greg very well as a result of our family trips together.  Also, for close to a year, he had to fill a job in the Seattle office of Xerox and stayed with us three nights a week.  He would take the Monday 6:00 am train from  Vancouver  arrive in Seattle, work Monday thru Thursday and catch the mid afternoon train home to Vancouver.

It is hard to believe that Greg has been dead for just over five years.  He would loved to have been at this 50th year reunion bash.  

Greg's first bout with cancer was close to 25 year's before his death.  He had a large tumor on one of his kidneys, the size of a cantalope.  This was removed.  Greg was cancer free for over twenty years.  Then it reappeared and after a bout of chemo, part of which was done with an infusion pack he wore while golfing, he was in remission for close to two years.  Then this abdominal cancer game back with a vengeance and he had a ten hour "Whipple" procedure where they did extensive rreplumbing.  He was back on his feet and fishing and gofing in less than half a year.  A year later, the cancer came back and after some trials in Boston, Greg succumbed.  

He was fortunate enough to be able to reach and call and talk with many of PHS friends before he passed.

When we talked over the phone just before he passed;  I asked if he was at peace and shortly, after he answered yes, my dear friend was gone, but not forgotten.

Even today when playing a course we played together, I will remember specific shots on a hole that were spectacularly lucky, unlucky, exceptional or real bad.  It is almost like having him there.

During Greg;s first cancer surgery, over thirty years ago, he mentioned that he remembered floating above the operating table looking down at the proceedings amid a great white light.  This led Greg to believe that there truely was something after death.  The doctors told him that they almost lost him for a moment.

When I am out golfing, I often turn skyward and ask him to burn a bush or give me a sign, but so far no communication.  Heaven must have the best firewall ever.  

Well I hope that gives you a good idea of who Greg was and what he did with his life.  

As my mom once told me, very few people are fortunate enough to have such a dear friend who accepted you, warts and all, and whose friendship spans decades and all of life's changes.  I hope each of you have been as fortunate.

09/21/16 09:36 AM #5    

Beth Rockwell (Barnes)

Thanks, Owen, that was an amazing tribute - thanks for sharing your memories with us!

09/21/16 10:14 AM #6    

Dick Jacobs

I too share the fond remembrances of Greg as so eloquently stated by Owen and our other classmates. Greg was clearly one of our quitter classmates. But underneath that easy exterior was one very smart and competitive human being.  I recall going to his parent’s houseboat on the San Joaquin Delta and hitting ice plant buds with wiffle bats.  Even with something as fun and basically irrelevant as that, Greg showed no competitive mercy.  Brushing me back or even hitting me to maintain his competitive edge. But what resonates with me the most, is the kind, considerate person he was to all who were fortunate enough to call him friend.  While I am looking forward to the upcoming reunion weekend, there will nonetheless be a void left by the loss of Greg and our other classmates that I hope we can all take a minute to remember and celebrate their lives during Saturday evening’s festivities.

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