Charles E. (Charlie) Patton died suddenly Saturday, July 18, 2020, doing what he most loved; fishing one of Wyoming's streams. He made a promise to himself after retiring that he would go fishing every day that he could, and aside from days when there was snow down, he mostly did just that.
He was born October 18, 1950, in Sheridan, Wyoming, to Charles W. and Frances Patton, and attended school there, graduating from Sheridan High School in 1968. He graduated from Sheridan Junior College with an AS degree in 1970, and began studying at the University of Wyoming, but the call to duty came and Charlie enlisted in the US Navy.
He served in the US Navy from 1971 to 1975, and considered his service a sacred duty. Charlie completed his service in the Navy as a Petty Officer Second Class. He was a seagoing sailor and spent the lion's share of his service between Norfolk, Virginia, and the far reaches of the Mediterranean Sea from Athens to Naples to Mallorca and everyplace in between aboard USS Denebola. He completed his naval service assigned to the Naval Security Group, Okinawa.
Resuming academic studies at Eastern Montana College, Billings, Charlie earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in spring, 1978, and was hired by Jack King to teach English and Social Studies at Lander Valley High School beginning that fall. He taught at Lander Valley High School his entire 33-year career, where he made life-long friends among his fellow staff members. When “the old staff” were lucky enough to get together, the early years' stories came out! Of particular significance to Charlie were times that he would bump into a former student and they could converse as adults, sometimes 20 years after that student had graduated. He was happy to hear what each had accomplished so far, and to reminisce about class so many years ago.
Charlie married Judith Chapman in Lander in 1982, and daughter Meredith Patton was born to them. They later divorced. In 1989, Charlie and Marjorie (Lantz) Allred were married, and Charlie became step-father to Tim Allred and, later, father to Robert Patton.
Charlie was a passionate and dedicated man, to his family, his friends, his teaching job and his students, to his country and its ideals. Charlie's knowledge was remarkable. He taught History and English, and often related facts and dates and battles of the Civil War, and he recited poetry and song lyrics in daily conversation. He was a philosopher, a learner, a teacher, and a mentor.
Anyone who knew Charlie for very long was soon enjoying his jokes, puns, wise sayings, and useful tips. His humor was genuine and all-encompassing, and he could make a situation funny even if it wasn't really supposed to be. He and Roger used to stand in the halls at passing time and sell “Hot Tips, Two for a Quarter” to students hurrying by. As he told his wife, “I never went anywhere to have a bad time.”
Charlie cherished his family above all other things. He was a devoted husband, father, son, brother, uncle, and grandfather. He nurtured family members back to health or through declining health. And it was the same with friends. He was there for them all. He is survived by his wife, Marjorie of Lander; son Tim Allred (Stephanie), and grandchildren Hayden, Sailor, Ashlynn, Zac, Sapphyra, and Emily, Riverton, Wyoming; daughter Meredith Pappa (Hermes Pappas) of Glyfada, Greece; son Robert Patton, Salt Lake City; brother Robert L. Patton, LTCR, USN (Ret), and wife, Marlene, San Antonio, Texas; sister Dona Patton, San Antonio, Texas; nine cousins, many nieces and nephews; his work buddies, his hunting buddies, his exercise buddies, his college buddies; his lifelong dearest friends; and so very many fellow staff and students from LVHS; and his pets.
Per Charlie's wishes, a Celebration of Life will be held at a later date when large groups are permitted and when his family members can be present.
Memorials may be sent to: Lander Care and Share Food Bank, Lander WY (website); Lander Pet Connection, PO Box 854, Lander, WY; The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (website), or a charity of one's choice.
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