Robert F. Patton, age 91, died Thursday, April 11, 2013 in Chapel Hill. He was born October 28, 1921 in Kentucky to Blanche McNeely and Elizur Fitzgerald Patton. Robert grew up in Rutherfordton, N.C. He was a graduate of Davidson College but two months prior to his graduation, he was called to active duty and served as an Operations Staff Sargent in the 2nd Battalion Headquarters of the 261st Infantry Regiment in World War II. Serving in the Army for three years Robert was assigned to the 65th Infantry Division that became a part of General Patton’s Third Army in France, Germany and Austria. For his duty in Europe, Robert received the European Theatre Medal with 3 Bronze Battle Stars along with other honors.
After the war, Robert came back and completed his degree at Davidson and went on to work for twenty years in various management positions at Sears Roebuck. He arrived in Chapel Hill in 1964 where he was the Founder and President of Interactive Computing, a company that developed custom software services for companies in the Southeastern U.S. including R.J. Reynolds, Wachovia and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Robert was very active in the 65th Division Association, University Presbyterian Church and many community organizations, holding leadership positions with Civitan, American Legion, VFW and the Chapel Hill Historical Society. He received the National Daughters of American Revolution DAR Medal of Honor for his notable service.
Robert loved to travel and enjoyed music immensely. During his retirement he organized numerous Presbyterian Fun and Fellowship trips around N.C. and throughout Europe. He was an avid Tarheel attending UNC games for 50 years.
Robert received numerous Military Honors – but he was most proud of the Republic of France Legion of Honor Medal received at a ceremony in Raleigh on February 28, 2012. He was also passionate about sharing his experience as a liberator of Mauthausen, speaking at numerous schools in the area and was honored to participate on the Chapel Hill Holocaust Speakers Bureau.
Robert had a keen mind and loved life. He said his philosophy was making the impossible possible and he worked hard every day to meet many of those challenges.
Robert is survived by his loving wife, Helen Webster Patton. They celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary in early April. In addition to his wife; daughter, E. Anne Patton; and son, Robert Patton, Jr. and wife, Rebecca; and daughter, Nicole Brinkley of Mebane; sister, Kathryn Patton McDonald and husband, William C. McDonald of Chapel Hill; and several loving nieces, close relatives and many friends.
A graveside service will be held on Saturday, April 20th at 10:30AM at the Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery on Fordham Blvd. in Chapel Hill, NC.
A Memorial Service and Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, April 27th 11:00AM at the University Presbyterian Church, 209 Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC. Please arrive at 10:45 for music.
The family wishes to offer a special thanks to the nurses and staff at Carol Woods Health Center, UNC Hospice and the team at Meadowmont Cardio Rehab.
Memorials in memory of Robert F. Patton may be made to the University Presbyterian Church, 209 East Franklin Street, Post Office Box 509, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 or to your favorite charity.
Funeral services managed by Hall-Wynne, Durham, NC.