Shirley D. Patterson, chemist

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Shirley D. Patterson, a retired chemist who taught at what is now Community College of Baltimore County at Essex, died July 15 of heart failure at her Chattanooga, Tenn., home. She was 68.

The daughter of an educator and a homemaker, Shirley Dale Patterson, who was known as Dale Patterson, was born and raised in Baltimore.


After graduating from Western High School in 1961, she earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1965 from Washington College in Chestertown, where she was president of the Washington College Society of Sciences and was co-winner of the Clark-Porter Medal for having most clearly improved campus life through her character and integrity.

In 1967, Ms. Patterson earned a master's degree in organic chemistry from the University of Delaware.


She then taught chemistry at what is now the Community College of Baltimore County at Essex and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, before taking a job at Betz Laboratories in Trevose, Pa. In 1987, she moved to Chattanooga and went to work for Alco Chemicals as a senior analytical group leader, a position she held until retiring in 2000.

Ms. Patterson was a member of the Board of Visitors and Governors of Washington College from 1985 to 2010. Since childhood, she had been a member of the Baltimore Ethical Society, and as part of the organization's initiative knit hundreds of preemie caps for the Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital.

"Until her death, she was constantly knitting and brought parcels of knitted preemie caps whenever she came to Baltimore for meetings or family visits," said her sister, Carolyn Patterson Ledeji of Baltimore.

Ms. Patterson was interested in turtles and had amassed a large collection of turtle artifacts. She was a member of the Mid-Atlantic Turtle and Tortoise Society. She also was a clock collector.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Sept. 7 at the Baltimore Ethical Society, Suite 102, 306 W. Franklin St.

In addition to her sister, Ms. Patterson is survived by her son, Gregory Scott Patterson of Laurel; and an aunt, Dorothy V. Brown of Lynchburg, Va. A brief marriage ended in divorce.