John Francis Patterson

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John Francis Patterson, 87, died Monday, Jan. 29, of congestive heart failure at Grant Regional Health Center, Lancaster.


John was born Feb. 3, 1930, in Leadmine, the only child of Bernard and Zita (McKenna) Patterson, and the only grandchild of John T. and Alice (Lyness) Patterson. He attended first and second grades in New Diggings, where his father was principal of schools. In 1938, the family moved to Bloomington, where they started farming on his grandfather’s home farm. John was an active child, learning early on the importance and value of a good education (both parents were teachers) complemented with a variety of extracurricular activities—traits that he and Charlotte instilled in their children. 


John attended St. Mary’s Grade School and Bloomington High School, where he excelled in academics—earning senior class valedictorian—and school activities, including forensics, basketball and baseball. He attended Platteville State Teachers College for one year, then Marquette University in Milwaukee where, in 1952, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism.


After college, John worked one year at the Grant County Herald Independent as a reporter before taking over the family farm full-time. On June 1, 1953, John married Charlotte Osterhaus, and together they raised six children in the same house where John grew up.


When not managing the farm, John participated in a variety of school-related activities, including coaching youth sports and volunteering at Bloomington and River Ridge high schools. John became a fixture at athletic events, keeping the statistics at football games for more than 50 years, and serving as a basketball timekeeper for 55 years. After the games, John wrote the postgame stories for the Bloomington Record and the Independent. In total, John wrote a total of 62 years for the Independent: his last byline appeared in 2014. John received the ultimate recognition for his support of youth sports when, in 2011, he was inducted into the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.


John also devoted time to church and community activities, serving as a lector at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, as president of the parish council, and as a member of the Knights of Columbus. He served on the boards of both the West Grant and Bloomington school districts. A life-long member of the Grant County Democratic Party, John was party chairman in the 1960s. He served on the Grant County Board of Supervisors for 16 years, and as Beetown town clerk for 38 years. John was recognized by the Wisconsin Towns Association in 2013.


John’s inspiration to those he touched will live forever, and is best exemplified by the following advice he shared regularly with the children he raised, coached and mentored: “If you decide to do something, always do the best you can.”


John is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Charlotte Patterson; children Earl (Eileen) Patterson, of Twin Falls, Idaho, Greg (Jane) Patterson, of Bloomington, Dave (Dawn) Patterson, of Urbandale, Iowa, Margaret (Dick Mehalic) Patterson, of North Aurora, Ill., John T. (Anya Nikogda) Patterson, of Doylestown, Penn., and Paul (Sarah) Patterson, of Green Bay; 18 grandchildren: Jenni Patterson-LaCour (Christopher), of New York City, John L. (Bailey) Patterson, of Ripon, Michael (Nicole) Patterson, of Bloomington; Carolyn (Hans) Christiansen, of New Glarus, Christine (Andy) Noskowiak, of Green Bay, Katie (Joshua) Petru, of Richmond Heights, Mo., Marc (Heather) Patterson, of Urbandale, Iowa, Nicole Patterson, of Chicago, Lisa, Madeline and Megan Mehalic, of North Aurora, Ill., Jenah Patterson, of Brooklyn, Julia Patterson, of Bethlehem, Penn., Jaime Patterson, of Riegelsville, Penn., Vova Kryvushkin of Doylestown, Penn., Gina Patterson, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Ryan Patterson of Sheridan, Wyo., and Anna Patterson, of Green Bay; and nine great-grandchildren Colin and Simon Patterson, Everett Patterson, Isaac and Eden Christiansen and Jacob and Samuel Petru, Jersie Spurgin and Maverick Patterson. He is also survived by seven first cousins Ann Smart Knautz, Galena, Ill., Mary Smart (Ken) Koester, Scales Mound, Ill., Susan Smart (Tony) Soppe, Scales Mound, Ill., Carol Smart (Mark Stevens), Dubuque, Iowa, Lyle Hird, Madison, Paula Jean Hird Bogaski, Pierson, Mich., and Joan Patricia McKenna (William) Brandimore, Shelby Township, Mich.; in-laws Gerald (Judy) Osterhaus, Dubuque, Iowa, Annette Bird, Benton, Harold “Buzz” (Maureen) Osterhaus, Bloomington, Janet (Frank) Metcalf, Galena, Ohio; many nieces and nephews.


John was preceded in death by infant twin sons in 1958; parents Bernard and Zita Patterson, in-laws Arthur and Margaret (Steinl) Osterhaus; a sister-in-law, Jane (Brookens) Osterhaus; a brother-in-law, Alan Bird; and many aunts, uncles and cousins.


Funeral services will be held on Monday, Feb. 5, at 11 a.m., at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Bloomington with Father John Meinholz officiating. Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Bloomington. Family and friends may call on Sunday, Feb. 4, from 1 to 4 p.m., where a 12:45 p.m. Knights of Columbus rosary will be prayed at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and on Monday from 10 a.m. until time of services at the church. Martin Schwartz Funeral Home & Crematory of Bloomington is serving the family. In lieu of flowers, a John F. Patterson Memorial Fund has been established.


Online condolences may be left at


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