Gene Patterson Profile Photo

Gene Patterson

April 14, 1930 — October 13, 2023

West Columbia

Gene Patterson


Retired USAF SMSGT Gene Patterson, 93, of West Columbia passed away Friday after a period of declining health.

Mr. Patterson was born in Spartanburg on April 14, 1930 to the late John Drury Patterson and Della Cannon Patterson. Roland Wheeler and Kate Stammel Wheeler of Columbia adopted Gene as an infant and raised him lovingly in Columbia and outside of Pelion. He honorably served in the United States Air Force during the Korean and Vietnam wars for 24 years at many stateside and overseas installations where he met many of his dear friends and the famous Eddie Rickenbacker. His stories often revolved around this proud time in his life, during which he attained the rank of Senior Master Sergeant and was decorated with merits including the Bronze Star. A loyal citizen-airman, he also served South Carolina as a Highway Patrol dispatcher after his military retirement.

He was married to 2 beautiful and loving women, first Patricia Poole of Pelion until her passing, and later to Jessie Rutherford Pratt of Columbia until her passing. Into his late years, Gene lived life to the fullest, cannon-balling into pools, drinking his daily beer, telling stories laced with wit and trivia, and always being there for his family.

He is survived by his daughters Melissa Patterson Kirven, Della Patterson Tenny, and Sarah Patterson Burgoon (Dennis); his grandchildren US Army MAJ John Chandler Kirven, Patrick Tenny, Bradley Tenny (Rachel), Meredith Burgoon, Christopher Gene Tenny, and Emily Burgoon; great-grand daughters Sloane and Norrah; step-children and step-grand-children; and many nieces and nephews, including his close friend and nephew “Dru” Patterson.

The family wishes to sincerely thank Jacob, Tanja, and Michelle of Amedisys Hospice Care and the skilled nursing staff at Wellmore.

A graveside service with military honors will be held on Thursday at 11am at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Cemetery in Columbia.

The family requests memorials be made to the American Heart Association.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gene Patterson, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Graveside Service

Thursday, October 19, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

St Andrews Lutheran Church Cemetery

421 St Andrews Rd, Columbia, SC 29210

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