February 15, 1920 (Newburyport, Mass.) – December 7, 1941; 21 years old
Father listed at Lower Lane, Berlin
Enlisted on October 14, 1940
Service number 2072954
USS Arizona (BB-39)
Born to Richard Sr. (1896-1972) and Pauline H. Colby Patterson (1894-1977). Sisters Sarah E. Patterson Hadley (1922-1985) and Anne Patterson Baein (1931-).
Received the Purple Heart Medal.
He is one of three namesakes of Bolton-Kasica-Patterson American Legion Post 68 in Berlin, CT.
Member of the Berlin Athletic Hall of Fame.
More than 75 years after his death, Richard Patterson Jr.’s alma mater, Berlin High School in Berlin, Connecticut, still gives an annual award in his name to one of its athletes. In his senior year, Mr. Patterson was the captain of the football team and the intramural basketball and baseball teams. He also played varsity baseball and was on the student council. After graduating in 1939, he worked at the New Britain Welding Company. He was survived by his parents, Richard and Barchie. The elder Mr. Patterson, a World War I veteran, set the cornerstone for a war memorial in Berlin, Connecticut. Source: Special thanks to Bobbie Jo Carter, the University of Arizona for the contribution
A native of Newburyport, Massachusetts, Richard Patterson moved to Berlin in 1934. In September of 1935, Berlin High School opened its doors for the first time as a high school. Richard Patterson was a member of the incoming freshman class, graduating in 1939. During his high school career, Patterson was a three-sport athlete. He was captain of the football team during his senior year. That year the football team had their best season in the short history of Berlin High School, losing only two games during that season. He also captained the baseball and basketball teams. Patterson was also active in the student council serving as its vice president.
Upon graduation, Patterson worked for a year at the New Britain welding company and on October 15, 1940, he enlisted in the Navy. While in the service he continued to practice the welding trade and was classified as a ship fitter third class petty officer. He was serving on the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941, and was among the first sailors killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and was entombed on the Arizona as a result of the attack and the ship’s sinking. To honor his memory and dedication to his country, an annual award is given in his name to honor a deserving Berlin High School athlete the Richard Patterson Award. This award continues to this day to honor Richard Patterson.
From The Hartford Courant December 22, 1941
Berlin, Dec. 21 – (Special) Richard Patterson Jr., USN, 21, son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Patterson of Hudson Street was killed “on duty” during the Japanese surprise attack on Hawaii two weeks ago, his parents were informed Sunday in a Ward Department message. He was the second resident of this town reported killed since hostilities opened in the Pacific. Private Edward Getzwich, son of Mr. and Mrs. Getzwich, was also killed in Hawaii, according to earlier advices reaching here. The War Department’s message gave no details of Patterson’s death but he was known to have been on the USS Arizona in Hawaiian waters at the time of the attack. He enlisted in the Navy on October 14, 1940, after working a year at the New Britain Welding Company and was a steamfitter third class. Prominent in athletics while at Berlin High School, he captained its football team in 1939. A native of Newburyport, Massachusetts, he was a resident here since 1934. Besides his parents, he leaves two sisters, Mrs. Sally Hinton and Miss Ann Patterson of this town.
USS Arizona Memorial. Photo from findagrave.com.