Patterson spent decades in government serving Miami-Dade County and several municipalities, most recent, the City of Opa-locka where he was Manager for 16 months, beginning January 2010. Prior to that, Patterson was the North Miami City Manager for six years, before retiring.
Patterson, a former union organizer, migrated to South Florida in the 1950s. In 2002, after approximately 10 years of trying to persuade City officials who refused solid waste collection by machine, Patterson was finally able to bring in the 96- gallon green trash bins, along with the automated trucks to dump the garbage, putting an end to manual collection and saving the county millions, while sparing sanitation workers the back pain associated with emptying garbage bends.
“Whether you like or disliked his management methods, you definitely had to respect him for everything he had accomplished is lifetime,” stated Superintendent of Solid waste Robert Williams of the City of Miami, who met Patters over 20 years ago as a colleague. “He was a trailblazer who knew and did things that African-Americans, back in his days, were not expected to know or do,” Williams continued.
According to Williams, “He (Paterson) was one of the most resilient people I knew, especially during the times when the political climax counted him out. Rest assured, he…,” Williams laughed, , “…would ALWAYS find a way back in with a craft, astute ability to outwit an adversary, in any situation.” While reminiscing, Williams sorrowfully noted, “Not only did he mentor me, we developed a father and son relationship that meant more to me that he ever knew.”
Patterson was the first black City Public Works Director in Miami Springs. He held other positions of responsibility such as, Assistant City Manager/Director for the Department of Solid Waste in the City of Miami; Assistant Director in the Department of Public Works in the City of South Miami; Private Consultant for various Governmental Agencies; Director/Superintendent of the Department of Solid Waste Metropolitan Dade County, International Staff Representative AFL-CIO. He went from truck Driver to District Supervisor of Solid Waste Collections and Sanitary Landfill in Savannah, Georgia.
Patterson was also the Treasurer and past Lt. Government Kiwanis International, Fl District and the past President of Afro-American Kiwanis Club of Greater Miami. Although Patterson retired a couple times, he continued to keep himself busy by working on projects. After leaving the City of Opa-locka, he and a friend launch a commercial cleaning company, Despinnosse & Patterson.
Patterson is survived by his wife Albertha W. Patterson, his son Theodore G. Patterson and daughters Louise Williams, step daughters Thewander Houston and Michelle Dismuke. Daughter-in-law, Glenda Patterson, Corrice Patterson; ten grandchildren and several great-grand children and a host of other relatives and friends. Service was held at New Birth Baptist Church Cathedral of Faith.