His voice was soft spoken, but he could command an army. He was a coach, teacher, deacon and my Sunday school teacher at Community Bible Church.
When I learned of Mr. Ben Patterson’s stepping into the glories of heaven, memories I hand’t thought of in years wafted their way through the corridors of time.
He was at the high school all during my years there and he always had that quiet smile. Every time I’d see him on campus he’d say “Hey, Miss Regina;” even though I was a student and he was a teacher. Through that example he taught me to always be respectful.
He could play the guitar and he would sing a song or two for us in Sunday school. Through that he further instilled in me a love for quality music.
He taught us that the scripture wasn’t some dry dusty words in an old book.
My friend Julie Treloar Robbins who was in that Sunday school class with me said that when he read a verse, he explained how it applied to our life today.
When my sisters and I were chatting about him sister Cindy said she liked it when Ben spoke, because he got to the point and got through. I guess that came from him being a teacher and knowing he only had so long to keep the attention span of students.
I thought it neat that he was a teacher of carpentry. And just like the Master Carpenter he followed, he taught students how to build things out of wood and how to build strong lives.
My little sister Amee who was just a slip of a girl when we were all in church together said she loved it when he did a chalk drawing. I’d forgotten about those, but suddenly I could hear him blowing on the chalk and swiping the paper down as he drew the scenery with the cross in the middle that would glow out when he put the colored light on it.
I remember one night at the church he and Larry Easterling and Bob McCustion wanted to impress upon us the importance of being able to share Jesus wherever we were. They did a live demonstration of army men throwing the three of them into “prison” at the front of the church and Ben shared Jesus with them.
That has always stayed with me through these years; especially in these last months as I’ve seen America digress.
My sister Sara said he was the best Sunday school teacher she had. He taught her all through her high school years.
He and Gail, Ray and Mae Stark, Bob and Nancy McCustion, his brother Dean, and a couple or three other adults took all the ‘youth’ on a rafting trip in North Carolina. I use the word youth loosely because my sister Cindy and I were able to go too and we were young adults at the time. But it forged memories and relationships of a lifetime. We sat out and sang songs in the twilight the first night and then got up and rafted down the river twice the next day and got home late in the night.
As I read the accolades from people all over about what a great coach he was; I was also touched with the comments of others who saw his integrity. It warmed my heart that even though he has not walked the hills and halls of Pontotoc High School for many a year that his character lives on.
He is proof that while you don’t know how you are affecting others in the moments that you have with them, the years bear out the truth.
He moulded boys into men of stature, and that is a legacy that will live until the final trumpet blows; and I was honored to walk the same path with him.