Compassionate doctor drawn to those most in need
Michael Patterson knew as a child of between 6 and 8 that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his uncle, a doctor in Mercer County, his family said.
“He was raised by a dedicated Christian mother (Lillian)” after his father died when he was 6 months old, said son Lucas Patterson. “She would not let him fall short of what he wanted to do.”
Dr. Michael D. Patterson Sr. of McCandless died in his home of heart problems Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014. He was 59.
Since 2001, Dr. Patterson had been a physician at the Allegheny County Jail. He had a private practice in internal medicine in the North Side, across from Perry High School, caring for mainly the poor, elderly and uninsured. He practiced at UPMC Mercy and Renewal Inc., and chaired the department of medicine at Mercy Providence Hospital.
Son Darryl Patterson recalled picking up a sports permission form from his father’s office desk and joked that he was going to take a $600 check lying next to it that the doctor had written and signed. Dr. Patterson told him it was to pay for a patient’s medicine.
A 2009 profile in the Tribune-Review described Dr. Patterson as wearing eight thin chains, a loose white T-shirt, slightly tapered blue jeans and gray Reebok running sneakers with orange trim. Dr. Patterson said some inmates told him that he didn’t look like a normal doctor, so he put them at ease by replying, “You don’t look like a normal patient, either, with that bright red jumpsuit.”
“I tell people, when you look back on your life, you’ll realize you had one really good gig,” Dr. Patterson said. “I just consider this a good gig. I’m out here making people feel better, and I’m getting paid for it.”
Dr. Patterson is survived by his wife, Sarah Ann, of McCandless; sons Michael Jr. of Ross, Darryl of McCandless, Lucas of Shaler, and Jason of McCandless; six grandchildren; brother Elmore Patterson of Wilkinsburg; and sister Peggi Austin of Sharpsville, Mercer County. He was preceded in death by his parents, Elmore and Lillian Patterson, and sister Virginia Wynn.
Friends will be received from 1 to 3 and 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday in St. Paul United Methodist Church, 1965 Ferguson Road, Allison Park. A funeral service will be held there at 11 a.m. Monday. Interment will be in Allegheny County Memorial Park. Arrangements are being handled by Soxman Funeral Homes, Penn Hills.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or [email protected].