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05/21/09 - NNHS Newsletter - Neal Patten

Neal Joseph Patten
(11 Apr 1917 - 20 May 2009)

Newport News High School Class of June 1936

Dear Friends and Schoolmates,   

   We have more sad news today.     Neal Patten, Class of June 1936, and father of      Don Patten ('60) of VA, passed away in Williamsburg on Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at the age of 92.  He was the retired senior law partner of        Bobby Hatten (NNHS / FHS - '65) of VA and of the late  Leake Wornom, Class of June 1943.

               Neal J. Patten

  WILLIAMSBURG - Neal J. Patten, 92, retired senior partner with the law firm of Patten, Wornom, Hatten and Diamonstein, died May 20, 2009.

Mr. Patten was born on April 11, 1917, in Roscoe, Ill. He moved with his family to the Virginia Peninsula as a young child and lived in Newport News for 70 years until he relocated to Williamsburg in 1990. He graduated from Newport News High School in 1936 and he received his undergraduate education at the University of Richmond. He returned to Newport News where he established his law practice which spanned more than 60 years. For a number of years he was associated with the notable firm of Murray, Ford, West and Wilkinson and in 1953, he, along with his lifelong friend, I. Leake Wornom Jr., formed Patten and Wornom, the predecessor to Patten, Wornom, Hatten and Diamonstein.

Mr. Patten was the associate judge for the Municipal, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Civil Courts for the City of Newport News from 1953 to 1961. He was a former president of the Newport News Bar Association and was a retired member of the Virginia and American Bar Associations, the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association and the Virginia State Bar.

Neal Joseph Patten

Mr. Patten loved his profession and he considered it a privilege to be able to serve the citizens of his community both as a jurist and as a lawyer. He believed in our system of justice and took great pleasure in being able to provide service to his friends and neighbors. He was instrumental in the organization and incorporation of Mary Immaculate Hospital in 1952 and served as its general counsel for many years. He was active in various civic associations including the Catholic Home Bureau and the Junior Chamber of Commerce. In the 1950's he served on the Virginia Milk Commission. Mr. Patten's personal passion was golf and it was on the James River Country Club golf course where many of his lifelong friendships were formed. He was a member of St. Vincent Catholic Church in Newport News until 1990 when he became a member of St. Bede's Catholic Church in Williamsburg.

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Bettye, with whom he spent 54 wonderful and happy years before her death in 1995. He was also preceded in death by his mother and father, his two sisters and two brothers.

He is survived by his son, Donald Neal Patten and his wife, Martha Patten of Williamsburg, his granddaughter, Brooks McElwain and her husband, Michael of Alexandria, Va., and his grandson, Bradford Patten and his wife, Stacy of Williamsburg. He is also survived by five great-grandchildren, Carter, William and Zachery Patten, Samantha and Thomas Walker McElwain. Other survivors include his nieces, Anne Bland, Charlene Kearney and Patsy Isbell; and his nephews, Charles and Christopher Patten.

The family wants to give special thanks to his physicians, nurse, sisters and caregivers at the St. Francis Nursing Center for their compassionate care of Mr. Patten and particularly Iris Bulluck and Susan Jones who have cared for him every day for the last five years of his extended life.

The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 21, at Peninsula Funeral Home. A Mass of the Resurrection by Father Kenneth Wood will be conducted at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church at noon Friday, May 22. Following interment at Peninsula Memorial Park, the family will receive friends at the James River Country Club.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the University of Richmond School of Law, Development Office, 28 Westhampton Way, Richmond, VA 23173 or to the American Alzheimer's Association, Southeastern Virginia Chapter, 6350 Center Drive, Suite 102, Norfolk, VA 23502.View and post condolences on our online guestbook at

Published in the Daily Press from 5/21/2009 - 5/22/2009.

Guest Book

May 21, 2009
To the Patten Family--

The legal profession has lost a lion with Neal's death --he made me proud to be a lawyer.

May God be with you and comfort you in your grief.

Frances Herring Reynolds
~ Frances-Herring Reynolds, Richmond, Virginia
Contact Me

May 21, 2009

It was my pleasure to care for Mr. Patten and do my part to keep him comfortable prior to his passing. I will miss him, and he will remain in my thoughts and memories.
~ Elizabeth McMillan, LPN, Williamsburg, Virginia
Contact Me

May 21, 2009

Dear Patten Family,
You are in our prayers and thoughts. May Our God give you comfort at this time of loss. Matthew 5:4 says, "Blessed are those that mourn for they shall be comforted." May His loving arms surround you and give you peace. God bless each of you as we continue to lift you up in prayer.
Grace and Peace, Mildred Lockstampfor and Family

2 Timothy 4:7 says, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have keep the faith.
~ Janet Lockstampfor,
Newport News, Virginia
Contact Me

May 21, 2009

Dear Donny, Brad and family,
Please know that you both and extended family are in my thoughts and prayers both today and I think appropriately this Memorial Day weekend. Like you (both), he was truly a community leader and will surely be sorely missed. Please know that my Mom, Rosellen and Donna and I extend sincere condolences on the loss of your Dad.

Gil Via

May 21, 2009

To my dearest family, some things I'd like to say...
but first of all, to let you know, that I arrived okay.
I'm writing this from heaven. Here I dwell with God above.
Here, there's no more tears of sadness; here is just eternal love.

Please do not be unhappy just because I'm out of sight.
Remember that I'm with you every morning, noon and night.
That day I had to leave you when my life on earth was through,
God picked me up and hugged me and He said, "I welcome you."

It's good to have you back again; you were missed while you were gone.
As for your dearest family, they'll be here later on.
I need you here badly; you're part of my plan.
There's so much that we have to do, to help our mortal man.

God gave me a list of things, that he wished for me to do.
And foremost on the list, was to watch and care for you.
And when you lie in bed at night, the day's chores put to flight.
God and I are closest to the middle of the night.

When you think of my life on earth, and all those loving years
because you are only human, they are bound to bring you tears.
But do not be afraid to cry; it does relieve the pain.
Remember there would be no flowers, unless there was some rain.

I wish that I could tell you all that God has planned.
But if I were to tell you, you wouldn't understand.
But one thing is for certain, though my life on earth is o'er.
I'm closer to you now, than I ever was before.

There are many rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb;
but together we can do it by taking one day at a time.
It was always my philosophy and I'd like it for you too...
that as you give unto the world, the world will give to you.

If you can help somebody who's in sorrow and pain,
then you can say to God at night......"My day was not in vain."
And now I am contented....that my life has been worthwhile,
knowing as I passed along the way, I made somebody smile.

So if you meet somebody who is sad and feeling low,
just lend a hand to pick him up, as on your way you go.
When you're walking down the street, and you've got me on your mind;
I'm walking in your footsteps only half a step behind.

And when it's time for you to go.... from that body to be free,
remember you're not're coming here to me.

Ruth Ann Mahaffey (author)
ゥCopyright 1998-2009
~ Jimmy Johnson, Hampton, Virginia

May 21, 2009

A special man has left this world to be reunited with his beautiful Bettye in Heaven. I will so miss loving and caring for Neal. He was a class act in all that he did. Lovingly, Susan



   Our sincerest sympathies are extended to Don and the entire Patten family and their friends at this difficult time.

       From Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 05/21/09:

Neal Joseph Patten graduated in, and appeared in the Anchor of,  June 1936. I have very few Anchors, but June of 1936 is one of them.

In the 1930 census, he was 12 and lived at 1035-28th Street.


   Thank you so much, David.

June 1936 Anchor

  Y'all take good care of each other!  TYPHOONS FOREVER! We'll Always Have Buckroe!

                          Love to all, Carol





Carol Buckley Harty

  What Wondrous Love Is This?

Words by Alexander Means
Music by William Walker, 1835

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down beneath God痴 righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb, I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb Who is the great 'I Am';
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing;
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I知 free, I値l sing on, I値l sing on;
And when from death I知 free, I値l sing on.
And when from death I知 free, I値l sing and joyful be;
And through eternity, I値l sing on, I値l sing on;
And through eternity, I値l sing on.

"What Wondrous Love Is This?" midi and lyrics courtesy of - 05/21/07

Image of Charles Bosseron Chambers' Painting, "The Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ", courtesy of - 03/11/09

Image of Zabateri's Painting, "The Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ", courtesy of - 03/11/09

Ferguson High School's Anchor clip art courtesy of Steve Silsby (FHS - '72) of NC - 12/14/05
Thanks, Steve!

Animated United States Navy Flag clip art courtesy of - 06/18/03

Blackwork Flowers Divider Line clip art courtesy of - 08/12/04

Navy Seal clip art courtesy of - 05/29/06

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