After an active and productive life, Elbert Earl Patton Jr. passed away on April 27, 2011. A proud "Buckhead Boy," he attended E. Rivers Grammar School, North Fulton High School and Georgia Tech. He also was an active and devoted member of Peachtree Presbyterian Church for over seventy years. His graduation from North Fulton was on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and he interrupted his studies at Georgia Tech that November to volunteer for service in the U.S. Navy. Upon his discharge in August of 1946, he returned to Tech to complete his education. While at Tech, he was a member and officer of Sigma Chi Fraternity. During his junior year, he met...
After an active and productive life, Elbert Earl Patton Jr. passed away on April 27, 2011. A proud "Buckhead Boy," he attended E. Rivers Grammar School, North Fulton High School and Georgia Tech. He also was an active and devoted member of Peachtree Presbyterian Church for over seventy years.
His graduation from North Fulton was on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and he interrupted his studies at Georgia Tech that November to volunteer for service in the U.S. Navy. Upon his discharge in August of 1946, he returned to Tech to complete his education. While at Tech, he was a member and officer of Sigma Chi Fraternity. During his junior year, he met Mary Louise Morris, a lovely "Buckhead Girl," who became his bride in March of 1949. As the Korean War was building in 1950, Earl accepted a commission in the U.S Air Force. A year later, after 100 combat missions he returned to the U.S. and was released from military service.
The young couple's first child, Thomas, was born in 1952. Tom was joined by a brother, Richard in 1954, and sister, Louise in 1955. Another sister, Lorena, came along in 1960. Earl and Mary have always enjoyed being involved and serving their family, church and community. He was alumni chairman of the Alexander Thorpe Foundation and President of his children's McClatchey Elementary School. Mary served with Earl as leaders of the New Members' Class at Peachtree Presbyterian Church for over 25 years.
The political bug bit Earl when he returned to civilian life following the Air Force. Earl accepted the challenge to help create a viable two-party system in Georgia. He held several offices in the Fulton County and Georgia Republican Parties. He won the first Georgia Republican Primary for the United States Senate in over 100 years, and ran against the entrenched Democrat, Herman Talmadge. Although he did not win the race, he did win a seat in the Georgia Senate and served two terms, representing North Fulton County and part of Atlanta. He met with every Republican President between Eisenhower and George W. Bush in support of his home state.
During this period, Earl was active in the YMCA and served as Chairman of the Northside Y during its substantial building program. He joined with other young Northsiders in 1956 to create the Cherokee Town and Country Club and was President of the Club in 1970.
His business career was entrepreneurial and included banking, real estate and hotel development. His companies started the Cobb Bank and Trust, the Marriott Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Florida and in later years managed properties in Atlanta, Augusta, and Albany. Earl was also Chairman of the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce and helped establish The International Center. He was honored to serve on committees with the 1996 Olympics and Paralympics as well as Super Bowl XXVIII.
Earl earned great respect as Chairman of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors' Center Bureau. In that position, he led efforts to secure major hospitality events for the greater Atlanta community. Business people from all parts of the world respected Earl's advice, straightforward courtly manner and ever present sense of humor. Earl was the consummate Southern gentleman who enjoyed sharing his passion for golf with friends from around the globe.
Earl departed this life when his cherished Lake Burton home took a direct hit from a catastrophic tornado. The "lake house," which Earl built in 1971, has always been his favorite place, or as he liked to say, "As close to heaven as you can get on earth." Earl, his family and friends created memories of a lifetime at Lake Burton. It is ironic, yet fitting, that Earl had often expressed his desire to be right there on Lake Burton when his "time came."
Those of you who knew him well can imagine the challenge he would leave to friends left behind: "A Tornado! Y'all try to top that!"
Earl is survived by his wife of 62 years, Mary Patton; his sister, Gloria Patton Steele; his children: Thomas Earl Patton and wife Jennelle, Richard Morris Patton, and Louise Patton Pritchard and husband Arlie; granddaughters: Mary Britt Burke, Louise St. Claire Burke, Margaret Patton Burke, Peyton Holmes Pritchard, Katherine Patton Dart and husband Beau, Christine Amery Patton, Virginia Morris Patton, and Haley Nicole Patton; many loving nieces and nephews, extended family, and a world of friends and admirers.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Bogg's Mountain Humane Shelter; P.O. Box 249, Tiger, Georgia 30576. A celebration of Earl's life will be held at Peachtree Presbyterian Church at 2:30 pm on Wednesday, May 4, 2011. A reception will follow in Williams Hall.
Arrangements under the direction of H.M. Patterson & Son, Spring Hill in Atlanta, GA.