More than 150 people gathered Wednesday night at the Huber Community Life Center in Northeast Baltimore to remember Lamar Patterson, a standout St. Frances Academy wide receiver and cornerback on the school’s top-ranked football team.
Mourners gathered around the silver casket, flanked by flowers and Patterson’s framed jersey, pausing to say goodbye one last time to the Florida native who was killed in a car crash Feb. 2 on his way to school.
Anne Arundel County Police said that according to witnesses, Patterson’s car did not stop for the crossing gates as they were lowering for a light rail train to pass through in the area of Maple Road West and Camp Meade Road in Linthicum.
More than a dozen people spoke during the funeral service, remembering the 17-year-old who had an infectious smile, loved to hug and always was looking for ways to improve.
“He had such high confidence you had no choice but to buy in,” his close friend Collin Maley said.
Originally from Kissimmee, Florida, Patterson transferred to St. Frances in 2019. He was rated a three-star prospect for the 2023 class by Rivals.com, which showed he had scholarship offers from 21 schools, including Penn State, Michigan, Arizona State, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia.
Before arriving at St. Frances, Patterson was a star at Kissimmee Liberty, where he holds the school record for the longest interception return, which he ran back 102 yards for a touchdown. He reclassified to the class of 2023 because of COVID-19 and a broken foot that cost him playing time.
Maley said that while the two knew each other for only about two years, they shared an inseparable, brotherly bond.
“The impact he’s had on me will last me for the rest of my days,” Maley said. “He was a shining star.”
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Coaches remembered the high school junior for his tenacity. They said he was always running passing routes and wanted to do just one more drill, in hopes to get that much better. Several people referred to Patterson as “Butterfly,” his nickname. They said he was always on the move and had the ability to make people smile no matter what, the same way butterflies do.
The family Patterson lived with in Baltimore for almost three years said the teen taught them to always say “I love you” and to give one another a hug every day.
“He never stopped saying it,” Jim Griffith said. “And he was a chronic hugger. It was just his way. He was always such a bright light in our house.”
Patterson’s girlfriend, Katie Geneti, said he had a “million-dollar smile” and said that the two had a deep love connection that few find in life.
“All it took was one look and I knew that he was the one I was meant to spend the rest of my life with,” she said. “Unfortunately, I did not get the rest of my life, but I did get his.”
Geneti thanked Patterson for always making her laugh and encouraging her to try new things and never give up. She encouraged attendees to channel what Patterson told himself each and every day: that the next day is never guaranteed, so stop making excuses.
“Although we’ve lost our angel, he will forever live on in the stories that people share of how he touched their lives and in the love that is physical in the eyes of his family and friends,” Geneti said. “Although things will never be the same, the world is better for the years Lamar lived.”