Saturday, April 3, 2010
A Tribute to Bob Patterson
I recently learned that my dear friend and mentor, Bob Patterson, passed away.
I wrote this about him in my journal several months ago:
If there is one person that I could call my hero and want to emulate desperately, it would be my friend, Bob Patterson. I must confess I've tried to put my finger on exactly why I respect him so much. He is articulate and fun. He has a marvelous sense of humor. He's brilliant and optimistic. My friend has a special way of making me feel comfortable and special every time he communicates with me. He possesses a deep spiritual conviction and love emanates from his countenance. I think that just about sums it up why I admire him so greatly.
Bob's wife, Belva, was one of the sweetest, kindest and most tenderhearted women I believe I've ever associated with. He sent me a brief note not long ago to tell me that she had passed away after an acute battle with terminal lung cancer. My heart was softened with pity and love towards my hero. In the tough, melancholy days prior to her passing, when she was having great difficulty caring for herself and while he was struggling with debilitating cancer himself, he confided in me how much he was learning about what loving his spouse really meant.
In one of his many published writings, long before his own personal struggle with cancer or that of his wife's, he wrote: "There is something particularly sacred in the service of those who continue to work for others when there is very little strength, energy, or time left for them to give. As I've watched those around me struggle with life-changing and life-threatening illnesses, I've seen faith that continually inspires and strengthens my own." ("Millersville or BYU" in Finding God at BYU eds. S. Kent Brown, Kaye T. Hanson, James R. Kearl (Provo: The Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2001), 94-106.) My friend lived that first-hand in the final days of his sweet companion's passing.
Without a doubt, Bob Patterson, has a multitude of characteristics that I'd like to have and emulate. He is truly one of my greatest heroes.