On April 19, Marion Louise Davis Patterson died in Baltimore, Md. Marion Louise Davis was born in Houston, TX., on Aug. 15, 1931 to parents Jimmie Ivory Hall and Turner Davis. Her parents were divorced in 1938, her mother, Jimmie, moved to Seattle to live with family and her father, Turner, remarried and remained in Texas. Marion initially opted to remain with her father but in 1940 she moved to Seattle to be with her mother.
Marion Louise Davis Patterson. (AFRO Archives)
Marion was educated in Seattle, attending Garfield Senior High School and Queen Anne Senior High School before matriculating to Seattle University. After completing her undergraduate studies, Marion went on to earn Masters of Arts degrees from Columbia University in NY and Morgan State University in Baltimore.
Marion’s first professional job was just outside of Seattle in the Highline School District, where she became the first Black teacher hired. Marion also attended The University of Washington Model Teachers Program. It was there in 1954 that Marion would meet her classmate and future husband, Roland Patterson. Marion L. Davis and Roland N. Patterson, Sr. were married on April 3, 1955. Afterwards the couple moved to New York to attend Columbia University in 1956.
Marion would continue to teach everywhere they went, from Nassau County, NY to Essex County, New Jersey. They even went back to Seattle where she taught at The Shoreline Community College. The couple’s first child, Roland Jr., was born in NY in 1958 and their second child, Doris, was born in 1967 in NJ.
The Pattersons came to Baltimore in 1971 when Dr. Roland Patterson became the first Black superintendent of the Baltimore City Schools system; where from 1971 to 1975, Marion served as the unofficial “First Lady of Public Education” for the city of Baltimore. During that period, Marion also was a professor at Coppin State University. In 1991, she became the Director of Articulation at Morgan State University.
Marion Louise Davis Patterson was active in church and social organizations including: The New Shiloh Baptist Church (member, Deacon and Usher Boards,) The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority – Epsilon Omega Chapter, The Harbor City Links, The Philomathians, The Morgan Women, The Morgan Alumni Association, The Baltimore Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, The Center Stage Board of Directors, Coppin State University Basketball and Cheerleader teams, The Maryland College Reading Team and The Southern Maryland International Reading Association.
Marion Louise Davis Patterson was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Roland Patterson Sr., and is survived by her daughter, Doris Griffin, and her son, Rev. Roland Patterson Jr.; a son-in law, Meredith Griffin, and a daughter-in-law, Cassandra Patterson; two grandchildren, Rolanda and Meredith III; two sisters, Carolyn Davis Lewis and Arnetta Davis Carrington; a sister-in-law, Joan Lewis Patterson, and a brother-in-law Russell E. Patterson, Sr; and a host of nieces and nephews on both sides.
On April 26, friends may visit Vaughn C. Greene Funeral Services at 8728 Liberty Road in Randallstown, Md. from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. On April 27, Marion Patterson will lie in state at New Shiloh Baptist Church, located at 2100 North Monroe Street in Baltimore, where the family will receive friends from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., with services to follow.