Gladys W. Patterson, who as director of two West Baltimore senior citizen centers made the daily activities "really something to look forward to" for her clientele, died Monday of cancer at the Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care in Towson.
Mrs. Patterson, 73, of Northwest Baltimore, was director of the Walbrook Senior Center from the mid-1970s until 1982, when she left for a similar position at the Mount Street Senior Center.
"She was elegant and indeed a lady," said Gloria Bagwell, social program administrator with the city's commission on aging. "She was a fine person who set a good example."
As director of the senior centers, Mrs. Patterson coordinated most of the recreational programs, arranged speakers, organized health fairs, and assisted clients with their daily problems, co-workers said.
But Mrs. Patterson often went beyond her assigned duties, once handling funeral arrangements for a client who died.
"She could always remain calm and ladylike," Ms. Bagwell said.
The senior centers are under the auspices of the city and are part of Project SAGA (Security and Action for Golden Ages).
A Durham, N.C., native, the former Gladys Williams came to
Baltimore in 1943 and graduated from the former Morgan State College in 1947 with a degree in education.
She married Semuel W. May Jr. in the mid-1940s and divorced soon after. She married Claude H. Patterson in the late 1940s.
Mrs. Patterson was a city social worker from the late 1940s until the early 1950s, when she stopped work to raise a family.
She returned to work in the mid-1970s as a senior center director and retired in 1990.
Friends and co-workers said her best asset was her ability to relate to all people.
"She enjoyed just talking to people," said Marion Cole, who succeeded Mrs. Patterson at the Mount Street center.
John Wilson, a friend who attended many functions at the Mount Street center, said Mrs. Patterson seemed able to accommodate all clients.
"She made going there really something to look forward to," Mr. Wilson said.
"There was always something there that was better than somewhere else. I was never bored, even if it was just talking to her all day."
Mrs. Patterson was a member of many civic, social and religious organizations, including the Girl Scouts of America and YWCA. She was also a trustee of the Maryland Baptist Aged Home and a past president of the Southern Region of the American Baptist Churches of the South.
For 55 years, she was a member of First Baptist Church, 525 N. Caroline St. in East Baltimore, where services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by two sons, V. Eric W. May of Reisterstown and Zaid Patterson Imani of Woodlawn; a daughter, Robin Patterson Quarles of Owings Mills; a sister, M. Leonora Jones of Woodlawn; 10 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
Pub Date: 7/15/98