“Experience is not what happens to you, it’s what you do with what happens to you.”
~ Robert Patterson, quoting Aldus Huxley, in his self-authored obituary
As Robert Patterson neared his 78th birthday while facing a terminal diagnosis, his friends and family rallied to celebrate his legacy. Together, they surprised him with a gift that will keep on giving: The Robert Patterson Eviction Prevention Fund. By the time Crisis Assistance Ministry CEO Carol Hardison announced the total on his birthday Zoom, the fund already exceeded $123,000 to assist local families with emergency rent and utility payments.
The tribute honored Robert’s lifetime legacy of service to a community where he was once known as “Mr. Cyndee” because of his wife Cyndee’s service as a Charlotte City Council member and Mayor Pro Tem. In addition to his never-ending devotion to baseball, Robert embraced public service as a board member for arts (Arts and Science Council, The Opera, Charlotte Repertory Theatre) and civic organizations (A Child’s Place, WFAE Public Radio, World Affairs Council, International Business Fellows and Mecklenburg Park and Recreation).
For many years, Robert was a weekly contributor to Crisis Assistance Ministry. Furthering the agency’s commitment to helping working families stay safely housed with their utilities flowing seemed like an obvious way for friends and family to honor him.
“Crisis Assistance Ministry’s mission and service to people in need was one of Robert’s passions. He believed all people should have a safety net to help them in times of transition. This fund, which began as an idea of his family and friends, was one of his last wishes to leave a true legacy of caring for community members in need,” says Cyndee Patterson.
Since his passing a few weeks after his birthday, Robert’s fund has continued to grow through tributes from people near and far. Contributions are still being accepted to meet the urgent needs of families in the community where Robert and Cyndee made their home.