Aug. 31, 1926—May 14, 2014
Phyllis Simmons Patterson, of Grand Rapids, MI, passed away peacefully May 14, 2014, at the age of 87. Residents and family are invited to a celebration of life service May 30. The family visitation will be at 10 a.m. with the service at 11, followed by lunch at the home of a relative in East Grand Rapids, directions provided at the service.
Phyllis grew up in Ithaca, MI, on the family farm, the youngest of four girls. She attended Mercy College, Detroit, MI, graduating as a registered nurse in 1941. Her nursing career was long and varied, including serving on the board of Mary Free Bed Hospital, teaching nursing at Kent Skills Center and owning and operating a nursing home in Florida, as well as working at many large hospitals across the Midwest.
Phyllis was married to Cal Murray for 25 years, whom she met while nursing his mother at Notre Dame University. Together they raised four children in East Grand Rapids.
Following her marriage to Cal, Phyllis re-met and married her high school sweetheart, Richard C. Patterson, in 1975. They spent 30 happy years together traveling, golfing and gardening, following his retirement from Schultz Equipment, the family business.
Phyllis was a championship golfer and taught golf for a number of years. She enjoyed teaching golf and sometimes taught on an unsolicited basis.
Throughout her life, Phyllis donated many hours to her favorite charities, with a special focus on the protection and care of disadvantaged women and children.
A spirited debater with a progressive agenda, Phyllis wanted the world to be a better place for those less fortunate and she supported causes that aligned with those views.
Phyllis is survived by her children, Pamela, Daniel (Coral),
Molly (G. Milton), Julie (Geoffrey); stepchildren, Nancy Patterson and Patty Patterson Sherman; and sister-in-law, Judy Carnego (John).
She enjoyed her grandchildren, Justin Mitchell (Caroline), Jacqueline Kirby Connelly (Jason), Matthew Murray, Michael Murray, Sophia Hawksworth, Harrison Hawksworth, Jenny Patterson, Devin Patterson and Justin Patterson, Richard Sherman, Holly Sherman and Jason. Phyllis loved her great-grandchildren, Luke, Sophie, John, Connor and Kiersten.
Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents, Gerald and Bessie; three sisters Pearl, Gladys and Laura; Cal Murray; stepson, Mike Patterson; and Richard Patterson, her devoted and fun-loving husband.
The family suggests donations in Phyllis’s memory to the Emanuel Hospice or the Blind Association of West Michigan.
The family would like to give special thanks to Drs. Tupper, Genzin, and Cowden for their caring and good care. They also thank all the wonderful caretakers: Liz, Beth, Dawn, Josephine, Sarah and Gail.
"We love you Mother, and thank the Lord for the time we had with you."
Aug. 31, 1926—May 14, 2014
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