John Reuben Patterson


John Reuben Patterson, known to his friends and family as Pat, died on January 2, 2020 surrounded by his family. He was 91 years old.

Pat was born on April 20, 1928 in Glendale, California to J.W. Patterson and Peggy McCall. He was their only child. His parents divorced when he was 5-years old. Pat had two half-brothers from J.W.'s second marriage.

Pat was raised by his mother in Los Angeles where she worked in public relations for 20th Century Fox and as a free-lance writer for newspapers and magazines. It was through his mother's connections at Fox Studios that Pat began to do extras work in Hollywood movies. He rarely had speaking roles and all of his work was uncredited, but he can be seen in many movies from 1935 to 1942, if you know where to look, including the Shirley Temple movie Littlest Rebel (1935), crowd scenes in Gone with the Wind (1939), several of the Our Gang comedies and as Boy's stunt double in Tarzan Finds a Son (1939). He said did not get a role in Wizard of Oz (1939) because he was too tall to be a munchkin.

He went to school at the Mar-Ken Professional School for show business children and later Hollywood High School which was also a school for children in the movie business. He attended L.A. City College on a Football Scholarship and joined the Naval Reserve with the intent of going to Navy Flight School. When flight school did not work out for him, he finished his reserve obligations fighting forest fires for the USFS. He joined the Navy in 1950, spending two years stationed in Key West, FL.

After his discharge from the Navy, he drifted north, landing in Tillamook, OR where he worked for the Oregon Department of Forestry as foreman of a clean-up crew, then found work with the Bonneville Power Administration. This led to a job with Pacific Power and Light in 1956. He continued to work for PP&L until his retirement in 1990, living first in Portland, then Tillamook, Junction City and finally Cottage Grove. It was while living in Portland, in 1956, that Pat met and married his wife, Colleen Elizabeth Mohr.

Pat was active in his community. He was a member of the Cottage Grove Planning Commission from 1972 to 1981 and was a member of the Cottage Grove City Council from 1985 to 2008. He was instrumental in establishing the Cottage Grove Youth Peer Court and the Youth Advisory Council.

There is a Youth Advisory Council Scholarship in his name. He was also active in civic organizations including the Junior Chamber of Commerce and the Masons.

Pat will, no doubt be best remembered for his work with the Boy Scouts of America, beginning with Sea Scout and Explorer Posts in Los Angeles and Tillamook, then with the Oregon Trail Council of the Boy Scouts beginning in Junction City and Cottage Grove, then finally with the National organization.

He was Camp Director for Camp Melakwa, was a member of the National Jamboree staff for many years and a member of the Advisory Council for Order of the Arrow. He was a recipient of Vigil Honor in Order of the Arrow and received the Silver Beaver Honor for his years of dedicated service.

Pat is survived by his wife of 63 years, Colleen, son and daughter-in-law Mike and Teresa Patterson, daughters Robin and Molly Patterson, daughter-in-law Jeanie Patterson, his grandchildren and in-laws Brendan and Laura Patterson, Jeffery and Nikki Patterson, Riley Patterson and Michelle Patterson as well as great-grandchildren Chase, Anneva, Reuben, Piper, and Tirzah. Pat was preceded in death by his son P.J. Patterson.

Those who wish to honor Pat may do so by making a donation to the Cottage Grove Youth Advisory Council Scholarship, Cascade Raptor Center or the Oregon Trail Boy Scout Council.

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