Jerry Dean Patton, known to friends as Dean, passed away on Friday, April 6, at St. Paul Hospital in Dallas.
Patton was born in Abernathy, Texas, on April 30, 1939, and was the only child of Jack and Rachel Upchurch Patton. He grew up on the rural Texas high plains of Abernathy, Lubbock and Plainview with many aunts, uncles, cousins and distant relatives. His grandparents, Josie Dee and John B., played a major role in raising Patton.
During WWII he lived in Washington, D.C., while his mother was working for the War Department. While in the D.C. area, his free-spirited mother instilled in Patton a sense of travel and adventure that would remain with him throughout his life.
For a short while he lived with his uncle, Rudy Upchurch, in North Richland Hills and attended North Texas State. In the early 1960s, he moved to Paris, where he studied at the famed Sorbonne University at the University of Paris.
During the turbulent years of the 1960s in Paris, he mingled with some of the brilliant minds of the underground movement of the Left Bank. Experimental art films, underground salons and philosophy became “de rigueur” for the West Texas farm boy. His love for all things Parisian never waned.
With a degree from the Sorbonne, he returned to the U.S. and worked for a very brief time with his uncle Rudy at a life insurance company in Lincoln, Neb. He moved to Dallas around 1970, working here for Mobil Oil until he retired.
After his retirement, Patton’s love for hosting dinner parties increased and became legendary amongst family and friends. He continued his love of “group eating” as he and his partner, Greg Davis, were regulars at the Resource Center’s lunch tables.
Greg Davis and Dean Patton shared a 25-year, committed partnership that was established and nurtured amongst their family and friends. They built their relationship around family, spirituality, social services, community, music and arts and reading.
The two participated in gay and lesbian organizations in their infancy in Dallas, including, AIDS Interfaith Network and the Resource Center of Dallas.
The men were among the founders and first presidents of the board of what is now the Peabody Clinic in South Dallas.
In addition to his partner Greg Davis, Patton is survived by his two uncles, Rudolph Garland Upchurch of Washington state and Buck Upchurch of Lubbock. He also leaves behind a godchild, Davis’ niece Janice Hogan, and many cousins and family members on both sides of their relationship.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the following health clinics: Peabody Health Clinic, AIDS Arms Inc., 219 Sunset Ave., Suite 116A, Dallas, TX 75208, contact Raeline Nobles at firstname.lastname@example.org; Resource Center of Dallas, 2701 Reagan, Dallas, TX 75219, contact Mike McKay at 214-521-5125.
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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 13, 2007