Dr. J. D. Patterson of Searcy passed away on March 26, 2017. Having served as a dentist for more than 63 years, he was a month short of his 91st birthday. Dr. Patterson moved from Heber Springs to Searcy as a child, graduating from Searcy High School, 1947 from Ouachita Baptist College and 1952 from Washington University School of Dentistry.
He was drafted to the Korean War in spite of being almost deaf in his left ear. The United States Army was short of dentists and he left his young practice and new bride to serve 22 months as a 1st Lieutenant Dental Officer at Sukarain Hospital in Okinawa, Japan. He returned to Searcy in 1955 and practiced until ill health caused an early retirement at age 89 1/2. He made 22 mission trips to conduct clinics for emergency pain relief in Brazil, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Panama, Chile, Guatemala, Tanzania, and Kenya. At age 82 he decided he was too old to sleep on the ground and climb riverbanks! Dr. Patterson took a total of 15 students on trips, furnishing all expenses. Four are now practicing dentists. Dr. Patterson said “Education is the best investment of all,” and paid tuition for students at 12 colleges and universities, funded scholarships at H.U. and O. B. U. and endowed biology, chemistry and the Summer Research Program at O. B. U. He was proud of his protoges’successes including the South Vietnamese Bui Family of 12 he sponsored in 1975. In turn, the Buis sponsored over 400 immigrants to the United States. He often spoke of Dr. Paul Bao, then an undergraduate student at H. U., who he encouraged and assisted in achieving higher degrees.
He is predeceased by his wife of 51 years, Nancy Miller, sister, Wandasue Stiles and his parents, Dr. Jesse and Elizabeth Patterson. He is survived by his daughters, Beth (Phillip) Pemberton, Amy Patterson and Jo (Loren) DeGroat, sisters-in-law, Alice (Palmer) Terrell, Martha and Marge Miller, brothers-in-law, Richard Gatlin and Frank (Bonnie) Miller, 12 nephews and 11 nieces, and a few cousins hangin’ in there.
Visitation is Thursday, March 30, 2017 from 6-8 PM at Valley Baptist Church, Searcy. Services will be Friday at 2 PM at the church. Interment at Gum Springs Cemetery. The family requests in lieu of flowers, donations to a favorite charity or perform a random act of kindness. Following internment the family invites friends to join them in a huge party at Dr. Patterson’s beloved Angus farm, Southwest 40 Farms. Arrangements by Roller-Daniel Funeral Home, Searcy. For online guest book, www.rollerfuneralhomes.com