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Published: 4/26/2004

Former nurse, volunteer liked to help others

Eleanor C. Patterson, a former Toledo nurse who spent many years volunteering for different organizations such as the American Red Cross where she helped organize blood donor drives, died Saturday at the Goerlich Center in Sylvania. She was 82.

Mrs. Patterson, who had diabetes and other medical problems, had been living at the Goerlich Center for three years, her husband, William H. Patterson, Jr., said. The exact cause of death was not known.

"She always liked to help other people and was a very, very generous person," Mr. Patterson said.

Mrs. Patterson, a graduate of DeVilbiss High School, completed her degree at Toledo Hospital School of Nursing in 1942 at the age of 20 - which was too young at the time to take the state nurses' board examination. She took the test the following year and ranked the highest among 120.

She worked as an office nurse for the late Drs. Howard Harpst and Robert Smead until she married on Sept. 11, 1948.

"I told her that I wanted her to be a stay-at-home wife," Mr. Patterson said. "But for a while, when other nurses would go on vacation, she would cover for them."

During the 1950s, Mrs. Patterson began volunteering for organizations such as the Red Cross and Meals on Wheels.

"She did that because she was a nurse and always had a desire to help people," Mr. Patterson said.

In the 1970s, she organized a major blood donor drive at the former Sheller-Globe Corp. headquarters, where Mr. Patterson was chief financial officer.

Mrs. Patterson was also was active in the Food Distribution Program of the Salvation Army, parent-teacher organizations, and she was the founding organizer of annual reunions for her Toledo Hospital School of Nursing graduating class.

She also sang in the choir at Monroe Street Methodist Church until the couple moved from Toledo to Sylvania in the 1970s.

Mr. Patterson retired from Sheller-Globe in 1986 when it was acquired in a leveraged buyout. During their retirement the couple took many cruises and traveled the world, Mr. Patterson said.

Surviving are her husband of 55 years, William H. Patterson Jr.; daughter, Janet Patterson; son, William R. Patterson, and two granddaughters.

The visitation will be at the Walker Funeral Home from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow. There will be a memorial service at 11 a.m. on Wednesday at Epworth United Methodist Church.

The family suggests tributes to the Goerlich Center or the Epworth United Methodist Church.



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