Sunday, October 31, 2004

Bob Patterson, former CCD English teacher


'Mr. P' beloved by students

By Karen Andrew
Enquirer staff writer

INDIAN HILL - Former Cincinnati Country Day teacher, adviser and English department chair Robert S. Patterson died suddenly Oct. 21. He was 57.

A beloved teacher and colleague, Mr. Patterson was an elegant letter writer who was sought out by students for his strong college recommendations. He was also sought out by colleagues for his counsel and good humor.

Students fondly called him such nicknames as Mr. P., Crazy Bob, and Crazy B.

"He was full of life and he could pull the pranks," said his wife, Carol Walker. "He had a great sense of humor and a lot of people just loved him."

Mr. Patterson was born and raised in New York and earned a bachelor's degree from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., in the late 1960s. He later earned a bachelor's degree in music from Colorado College in Colorado Springs.

He began his teaching career at Fountain Valley School in Colorado and was the accompanist for and the musical director of the school's musicals. He also served as executive director of the Colorado Opera Festival from 1980-82.

He married Carol Walker in 1982 and joined her in New York, where they lived until 1986. From 1986-90, they lived in Florida.

In 1990, the family moved to Cincinnati, where Mr. Patterson began teaching at Cincinnati Country Day School.

He was a specialist in American literature and prepared numerous students for the advanced placement literature test. He taught English for seven years and was a long-standing adviser to the school's literary magazine.

"Bob taught his students to see the music in the language," said English Department Chair Pat Dunn. "Under him they learned to read deeply and write with both precision and grace."

In 1997, he received the school's Pattison Distinguished Teacher Award, which honored him for his knowledge of literature, philosophy and history, and for his compassion for people and love of learning.

In addition to his teaching, he was known as an eloquent and powerful speaker at school events and family get-togethers.

"He was usually the one chosen to speak at events and was looked upon by the faculty as the one who led the way," said Ms. Walker.

Although a serious and accomplished pianist, he also enjoyed leading Friday afternoon "Hootenannies." Students and faculty would gather to sing folk songs, Beatles' songs and other favorites, such as "Amazing Grace."

Mr. Patterson recently resigned from Country Day to begin a career as a full-time writer.

In addition to his wife of 22 years, survivors include his five sons, Robert W., who is studying at Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Rollie and Russell, who live at home, Doug of Rye, N.Y., and Seth of Parker, Colo.; two daughters, Lucy, who lives at home, and Jessica Anderson of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and a sister, Nancy Sevcenko of South Woodstock, Vt.

Services have been held.

Memorials may be made to the Bob Patterson Memorial Fund, Cincinnati Country Day School, 6905 Given Road, Cincinnati, OH 45243.

E-mail kandrew@enquirer.com




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