Michael Patterson

Michael Jay Patterson

1943 - 2021

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Obituary of Michael Jay Patterson

Michael Jay Patterson was born on March 6, 1943 in Riverside, CA into a loving family. From his mother, Lucile Stanley Patterson, he received his love of music. From his father, John Jay Patterson, he received his love of letterpress printing and learned how to print at around 10 years old. By the time he was in junior high, he was printing campaign posters for classmates, mostly for cute girls! When Michael was twelve years old, he was given a 1931 Chevy Coupe from a family friend. Thus began a love affair with that vehicle which carried him through his teenage years as a Hot Rodder. Later, he drove it in parades, and took his kids to school in the rumble seat, which made their day! Side note: it was stolen in the late 70’s and found and reclaimed after seeing it on the TV show, The Waltons. Working for two high-school summers in a relative’s bakery in Anchorage, Alaska, were experiences he always talked about. Those summers expanded his awareness of different types of people, helping him become an independent person. While attending Poly High School, he founded a club called “The Brothers” by printing invitations to a group of seventeen distinguished clever talented guys. He graduated from high school in 1960. Shortly thereafter, he and a friend went on a “railroad bum” traveling all the way to New York City, much to his mother’s chagrin. He later went on two more cross-country “railroad bums” and a West Coast bum as well. Back in Riverside, he held a variety of jobs. As a florist at Rubidoux Florists, his artistic ability bloomed. In 1964 Michael married Sue Nichols, whose father owned Ken’s Tools where he worked on and off for several years. Always improving the Chevy Coupe, he became a steady customer at Baumann’s Auto Wrecking. In 1965 Sue and Michael took an extended trip to Europe experiencing many adventures. Upon returning to Riverside for Christmas, Michael found his mother quite ill. Lucile passed in Feb. 1966, which was a huge blow to Michael who later ran away to join his crazy friend, The Bro, in Australia. Thus ensued a time of traveling in Michael’s life. Some of the places he visited were: Japan, Indonesia, many countries in Europe, Egypt, & Canada. One of Michael’s more dramatic adventures was being adrift in the Pacific Ocean due to the boat’s broken engine for a period of over six weeks. He always specified they were NOT LOST because The Bro always knew exactly where they were due to his ability to use a sextant to navigate. They survived on a half a can of food each per day and had enough water. After almost cracking up the old boat on a rocky island, they were gratefully rescued by an oil exploration vessel and brought back to California two weeks later. In 1974 Michael married Becky Liddell, and a son, Aren, was born on Jan. 6, 1975. Along with Michael’s friend, Tom Fitzgerald, he purchased land in Williams, OR. During this time Michael was exploring various spiritual teachers. He and Aren lived in a spiritual community in 1979 in northern CA, where he served as a carpenter. After a stint in So Cal and now divorced, Michael and Aren moved back to Williams, OR in the spring of 1983. Michael took Laurel Parmelee out on their memorable first date and have been together ever since, 38 years. A joyous outdoor wedding occurred on June 16, 1985. After a wonderful six and a half week Honeymoon traveling in New Zealand, Australia, and Fiji, they returned to Williams forming a blended family with Aren, now ten, and Laurel’s daughter, Allison, now seven. A year later they moved to Loch Lomond, CA to be close to the Adidam Ashram. Michael began working as a carpenter, plumber, and electrician building houses with Roger Gerakin, his longtime friend. Laurel earned her CA Teaching Credential. She taught English at Lower Lake High School for 25 years. In the late 1990’s Michael expanded his spiritual search checking out various teachers on retreats in California, Oregon, Florida, Italy and Spain. But his favorite destination was India where over the course of twenty years (1996-2016), he visited nine times, staying at Ashrams at the top of India to the bottom, eventually settling on Ram Das’s Guru, Neem Karoli Baba, and mostly visiting his Ashram in Kainchi, northern India. Hiking to the source of the Ganges River, he would bring holy water back to the Ashram. One time he brought home an 80 lbs. marble statue of Hanuman, and he always showered us females with gorgeous Indian outfits, especially his granddaughters whom he adored. In 2003 Allison married Danya Parkinson much to Michael’s delight. He already considered Danya to be a son because he lived with us on weekends and holidays being Aren’s best friend since 1979. In 2003 Michael said to Allison “My Grandfather clock is ticking!” In 2004 the clock stopped and he was thrilled to become Grandfather to Sielya, then in 2009 to Sydney. Michael cherished spending time with them, so much so that he agreed to watch them solely for weeks at a time, yearly, for the past 15 years. He engaged them in all sorts of activities, such as rolling marbles down a 30 ft. measuring tape, or hammering nails artistically into a board, or creating tea parties and baking cinnamon rolls. He told Allison, “Those girls are the greatest gift you ever gave me” and she gave him a lot of gifts: hats (she made), shoes, jackets, sweaters etc. As a wonderful, thoughtful, playful, loving husband to Laurel they shared the delightful and the difficult times together always allowing for changes in their spiritual growth. In 2015 the Valley Fire destroyed several of Michael’s prized possessions: his ‘31 Chevy, his letterpress printer that had been in his family for several decades, as well as a huge paper cutter and linotype. However, in 2018 he purchased a letterpress printer, and in 2020 he bought a paper cutter. He was all set up in our garage to print again! This year he was happily printing wise sayings from a diverse variety of sources. In September of 2021, Michael was diagnosed with a form of lymphatic cancer. We were all shocked because he seemed so healthy. Eschewing chemotherapy, biopsies and radiation, he explored alternative treatments, not realizing that the cancer was progressing rapidly. A week before he passed it became clear the cancer had taken over, so Allison and the girls moved him and Laurel to her house as he needed 24 hour care. Aren, Tom Fitzgerald and Laurel’s brother, Eric Hassel, traveled from afar to participate in caregiving as Michael started a peaceful passage. Surrounded by his loving family, he transitioned at 4:53 AM on November 3, 2021. Aren promptly shaved his head as a gesture of respect. A three-day vigil ensued as we “let him go to God”. The outpouring of love and support for the whole family has been remarkable and we are very grateful. Michael is survived by: his sister Susan Patterson Harding, his wife Laurel Patterson, his son Aren Patterson, his daughter Allison Parmelee, her husband Danya Parkinson, and two granddaughters Sielya and Sydney Parkinson. Michael embodied a life well lived and well loved touching many many lives with his kindness, caring thoughtfulness, and his stories. His lasting legacy is in the cards he printed which give inspiration and love to all who read them. Here is a quote from one of his cards, “You will never be any place where I won’t be. We won’t be separate. Now go. Go home. Go.” Neem Karoli Baba. This one particularly helped us to accept his process and to release him on to his next journey.
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