Former Tarrant County Libertarian Party Chairman and LGBT ally Allen Patterson, 54, died Thursday, Oct. 1 after a six-month battle with brain cancer. An active leader in the state and local Libertarian Party, Patterson groomed candidates, built membership and volunteered on various campaigns.
Born and reared on a farm in Mississippi, Patterson played an active part on the family farm. His father’s rugged individualism helped cultivate Patterson’s fierce libertarianism.
Patterson went on to study music education at Delta State University. He later moved to Fort Worth to study at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He didn’t last long at the increasingly dogmatic and conservative institution, though he remained a faithful member of Fort Worth’s Broadway Baptist Church until his death.
He eventually went on to work for a variety of companies, including The Marco Company, a furniture and supply vendor for retail establishments.
He spent his free time reading, playing music and shooting guns.
He also loved LGBT Pride parades. One of the proudest moments of Patterson’s life, in fact, was when the Tarrant County Libertarian Party’s float won an award in the Tarrant County Gay Pride parade. Patterson liked Fort Worth Pride in particular for another reason: there was usually a gun show to attend afterward.
“He was a Renaissance man who did a lot for a lot of different people,” said longtime friend John Spivey.
That impact was especially noteworthy at Patterson’s funeral, which took place Tuesday, Oct. 6 at Broadway Baptist, as well as the celebration of life afterward at the Flying Saucer in downtown Fort Worth.
“People came from hundreds of miles away,” Spivey said. “The church was overflowing.”
Those people included the Libertarian candidates he groomed from across the country as well as friends and family members. After the funeral, a young woman walked up to Spivey, pulled up her sleeves and revealed a tattoo on her arm. It was Allen’s motto: “Don’t be safe.”
Patterson is survived by his wife, Fran, and daughter, Mary.
Former Fort city councilwoman, two-time mayoral candidate and civic leader Cathy Hirt, 61, and her husband, Darrell, were killed in a car accident Friday night, Oct. 2, in Hungary while visiting family.
The councilwoman represented the city’s diverse District 9 from 1996 to 1999. She later ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2003 and 2011.
Cathy Hirt was a steadfast supporter of LGBT equality throughout her city council tenure and on the campaign trail. When the full city council considered an amendment to add sexual orientation to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinances in 1999, Hirt said she would support it. The ordinance did not pass until 2000 when Hirt was no longer on council.
Her interests and community involvement went beyond just politics. She held both a doctorate in public policy and law degree from University of Kentucky and Vanderbilt University, which she applied to a variety of professional and civic roles, including stints as the Tennessee Department of Education’s director of career ladder implementation and legal affairs and the Director of Legal Services for the Tennessee School Boards Association. She was president-elect of the Foundation for the Young Women’s Leadership Academy of Fort Worth and currently consulting on anti-poverty initiative with Catholic Charities of Fort Worth.
Cathy and Darrell Hirt are survived by three children: Karl Joseph, Alex and Tina Hirt. Funeral arrangements are pending.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 9, 2015.