Barbara B. Patterson, a retired continuing education specialist and Columbia resident, died of lymphoma Sept. 22 at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. She was 59.
Barbara Bennett was born in Pineland, S.C., and moved to West Baltimore with her family in 1948. She received her early education at St. Peter Claver parochial school and graduated in 1965 from Catholic High School, where she had played the violin and was a member of the school's orchestra.
After receiving her bachelor's degree in sociology and social work from Morgan State University in 1969, she entered a teaching training program with the Baltimore public schools.
From 1969 to 1981, Mrs. Patterson taught at Madison Square and Federal Hill elementary schools.
"I taught with her at Federal Hill and Madison Square," said Charlotte Robinson Allen, Mrs. Patterson's best friend since the two were kindergarten - and, later, college - students together.
"She had a spirit of warmth and grace and was always very generous with her talent and time," said Ms. Allen.
In 1981, Mrs. Patterson was awarded a full scholarship to Teachers College at Columbia University, where she received a master's degree in educational administration in 1982.
She returned to Federal Hill Elementary, where she taught for a year before going to work for the Johns Hopkins University Center for Social Organization of Schools in 1983.
As training and disseminating director at Hopkins, she traveled throughout the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean, training teachers in the use of cooperative learning as a tool to increase student achievement.
In 1988, Mrs. Patterson took a position in continuing education at San Jose State University.
In 1992, she became a continuing education specialist at the University of California, Berkeley, where she developed numerous diversity programs that earned her many awards.
She and her husband, John W. "Pat" Patterson, who worked for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and whom she married in 1990, returned to Maryland in 2001 to be near family and friends.
They settled in the Village of Hickory Ridge in Columbia, where Mrs. Patterson enjoyed floral design, oil painting, sewing, working with flowers and compiling scrapbooks.
In 2004, she opened Bella Blooms Floral Design on Charles Street, later closing it because of illness.
Raised a Roman Catholic, Mrs. Patterson joined Mount Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal Church in Columbia, where she was an active member.
Services were held at her church yesterday.
In addition to her husband, survivors include three stepsons, Christopher Patterson of New Zealand, David Patterson of Baltimore and Ronald Patterson of Japan; a stepdaughter, Susan Dalian of Los Angeles; and a brother, Melvyn Bennett of Baltimore.