Jack Otis Patton
December 10, 2020
BILLINGS - Jack O. Patton, age 97, was born in Silver City, New Mexico. He was the youngest of four children born to Thomas Leonard (TL) and Jesse H. Patton. Jack died in Billings, Montana on Nov. 24, 2020.
Jack grew up on a ranch homesteaded by his parents near Silver City, New Mexico. In about 1944 he was drafted into the US. Army and served as an infantryman in the European theatre.
Shortly after he arrived in Europe, his unit was captured by the Germans and he spent the remainder of the war in a German labor camp about 50 miles southeast of Dresden, Germany. At the end of World War II he traveled across Europe to France to meet the boat home.
After returning home from the war, Jack graduated from New Mexico State Teacher's College with a degree in Industrial Arts Education. On May 14, 1949 he married Dolores Mitschke. During this time, Jack worked in Hurley, New Mexico at the Kennecott Copper Company's assay laboratory for the Santa Rita Copper Mine. He and Dolores lived in Arenas Valley, New Mexico.
In 1954 Jack accepted a teaching position in Williams, Arizona. While in Williams, Jack earned a Master of Arts degree in Industrial Arts from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. The Patton family moved to Barstow, California in 1958 where Jack taught high school industrial arts classes until spring 1972. In fall 1972 the Pattons moved to Helena, Montana, where Jack took a job teaching woodshop at Helena High School. Jack retired from teaching in 1985. In 1994 he and Dolores moved to Seeley Lake, Montana.
While in Seeley Lake, Jack and Dolores were active members of Holy Cross Lutheran Church. Annual visits to the cabin on Frontier Drive to see Granny and Grandpa were focal points for the Patton and Horvath families and these trips cemented the Seeley Lake Cabin into the souls of the kids and grandkids. Dolores died in 1999 and Jack lived at Seeley Lake until 2006, when he moved to Billings to live with his son Leonard. In 2015 Jack's health deteriorated to the point that home care was not feasible and he moved to the Ponderosa and finally the Parkview care centers.
Jack was an innovator–he was always designing something new to make things around the house and yard work a little better; rough sketches of his ideas/designs often decorated his walls and tables. Some ideas he built out, others remained concepts. He was interested in anything electrical or mechanical and knew how they worked. He was a practical joker-like wiring a horn button under the clutch pedal on his 1947 Chevy, so that when someone borrowed the car everyone knew where it was. Dad knew not to push the pedal to the floor... He is missed.
Jack was preceded in death by his wife Dolores (Mitschke) Patton; parents, TL and Jesse Patton; brothers Robert Meade, Victor Leonard, and Thomas Henry Patton. He is survived by his children Thomas W. (and Mary) Patton, Grace M. (and Thomas) Horvath, Leonard H. Patton, Jack R. (and Marta) Patton; ten grandchildren; and six great grandchildren.
There will be a memorial service for Jack at 11 a.m. on Dec. 19 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Billings, Montana. The service will be available online at https://www.trinitybillings.org/. A committal service with full military honors will be held summer 2021 at a time when the family can gather in Seeley Lake, Montana. Jack will be buried in the Seeley Lake Cemetery (the Best Last Place) alongside Dolores.
Memorials in Jack's name can be sent to Trinity Lutheran Church, Billings, Montana or Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Seeley Lake.