The account that Evangelist Louis D. Patterson’s niece relates about the Sunday evening death of the widow of the late COGIC Presiding Bishop Gilbert E. Patterson will likely be remembered by many during Mrs. Patterson’s farewell services next week.
Final arrangements – including public viewings, a memorial service and a National Homegoing Service – have been set for Thursday and Friday (Dec. 1-2).
Mother Patterson, as she was widely known, “passed away just as she wanted to, at home,” said niece Mia Vickers.
“She told the doctor, ‘I want to go home. I want to go home.’ And when she took her last breath, a recording of Bishop Patterson was blasting through the speakers. He was fervently praying. Now, that’s the way to go out.”
Patterson, 84, complemented and enhanced the international influence of the Church of God In Christ and her late husband in his role as presiding bishop.
She founded The Total Woman Women’s Conference as a ministry to help women reach their highest, spiritual potential. Her advocacy through the conference inspired women from across the country to take action against social, physical and spiritual ills that reflected an African-American community in crisis.
Mother Patterson traveled thousands of miles each year, speaking at COGIC women’s events, conferences, and special services.
“In 2000, when Bishop Patterson was elected as presiding bishop, he chose me to travel with Sis. Patterson when she had to go out of town to speak,” said Karon Jean Phillips. “It was such an honor to be so close to her all these years. Her passing was a shock to all of us because we were thinking she was going to recover.”
Phillips said Mrs. Patterson “wasn’t feeling the best these past few weeks” yet remained in good spirits” and passed away about two hours after returning home from an area hospital.
Phillips brought Mrs. Patterson life of service to light with this reference:
“Sis. Patterson … helped everybody, and she loved everybody, and I mean everybody. If she could have wrapped her arms around everybody and given them one big hug, she would have.”
She and the late presiding bishop shared their commitment to a life of service like a hand and glove. During a remembrance service commemorating 50 years since the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., she offered a glimpse that was recounted in The New Tri-State Defender.
“We were on our honeymoon in Atlanta when the phone rang,” said Mrs. Patterson. “Two sanitation workers had been killed on the job, and they were striking. Or two garbage men were killed because that’s how they were being treated – garbage men. Once we got that call, that was the end of our vacation.”
Recalling a “strategy team” that affected the development of the movement to support the sanitation workers, Mrs. Patterson said people “…must never forget those who paved the way and went before us. We must always remember where we came from so we will know where we’re going.”
COGIC Presiding Bishop J. Drew Sheard – in an issued statement – said, “Mother Patterson … made an indelible mark in Christendom as a first lady, an advisor and mentor to women, evangelists, authors, and most importantly, a complete champion of holiness. …
“Lady Karen and I personally appreciate Mother Patterson’s genuine endearment and support of our family. On behalf of the General Board and the entire Church Of God In Christ family, we earnestly pray for the Patterson Dowdy families and the Temple of Deliverance church during this time of reflection and mourning.”
Thursday, Dec. 1:
Public Viewing – 9 a.m.-6:45 p.m.
Local Memorial Service – 7 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 2
Visitation – 8 a.m.-9:45 a.m.
National Homegoing Service – 10 a.m.
All services will at Temple of Deliverance Church Of God In Christ, 369 G.E. Patterson Ave., in Downtown Memphis.