Julia Pauline (Polly) Patterson
On Friday, January 29, 2021 at 7:30pm, Julia Pauline (Polly) Patterson passed away at the home of her daughter in Seminole County at the age of 95.
Born May 14, 1925 to Evert and Maudie (Combs) Gurley north of Seminole on Aldridge corner, one mile west of present day Strother School. She married Russell Lowell (Pat) Patterson on March 26, 1947 in Ada, Oklahoma.
Polly is survived by her daughter, Linda Clifton, grandchildren Eric and Yaneth Clifton, Aaron and Tracy Clifton, Missy and John Cervone, and Bucky and Melyssa Patterson. Great grandchildren Christopher, Levi, Brock, Bailey and Garrett Clifton, Rowan Cervone, Sunshine, twins Autumn and Ember Patterson, Emerson Sivard, and Ashley Steele, her daughter-in-law Kay Patterson, and special friends Robert Burgess, Ann & Adrion Hester, and Roy Boydstun.
Polly was preceded in death by her parents, Evert and Maudie Gurley, her husband Pat of 46 years on March 5, 1993, son Russell Jr on April 21, 2016, her son-in-law Johnny A Clifton on August 22, 2016, her great-granddaughter, Julia Mobbs, her brothers Roy Gurley and Kenneth Addington and her sisters Esteene Scott, and Myrtle Jones.
Polly attended Haney grade school and graduated from Strother High School in 1944. One week after graduation she moved to Ada to attend East Central College. She met Pat while in school and after marrying lived in several Oklahoma towns where Pat worked in the oil fields. With one child they decided to move to Seminole and started farming. After a few years and another child cows were added and the dairy was started eventually milking up to 30 cows twice a day by hand.
In the spring of 1954 they purchased 80 acres that was originally homesteaded by Polly's grandfather Combs. It had a log barn and a 3 room house built by her grandfather. Later they were able to purchase another 80 acres next to theirs from Polly's uncle. With 160 acres and renting other acreage they raised corn, oats, peanuts, hy-gear, alfalfa and cotton. Polly worked beside her husband in the fields, baled hay and every Saturday they would grind feed for the cows. They milked Holstein cows and Polly could out milk Pat two to one. They raised pigs, chickens, had a huge garden, and had apple, peach, and apricot trees. Instead of selling milk it was separated and the cream was hauled to Shawnee and sold. Polly would sell eggs and cream to people in the community. She made butter and also sold it.
She started a crawdad business and sold them to bait houses and individuals. She used the money to buy her children school clothes and supplies, and to give them piano lessons.
When her children were in high school she started substitute teaching. In 1967 she started with the Head Start program at Strother until her retirement in 1990. She would also get up and help milk before going to school until they converted the dairy to beef cattle in 1974.
In those early years she went back to school and received her Early Childhood Development degree at East Central University. During her teaching years she received many awards which included, Area Head Start Teacher of the Year Award twice back to back, the Girdie Ware Memorial Award at the State of Oklahoma Association on Children Under Six. In 2011 she was honored by the Old School Society of the Strother-Prairie Valley Community. Along with many articles about her over the years in the Seminole Producer. The tribute she treasured the most is a song written and recorded by award winning song writer Larry Long that was the artist in residence at Strother for several years titled "Polly". She was instrumental in starting a bluegrass and fiddlers show that was held at the old Strother Elementary school for several years.
In addition to all her accomplishments she was a gifted storyteller and worked with other agencies doing workshops, storytelling, songs, finger plays, science, and math. Polly never met a child she didn't love and never said anything negative about anyone. She always looked for something good in everyone.
After retirement in the fall of 1990 she went back to work for Head Start as the Administrative Assistant and Secretary to the area Head Start Director in Shawnee, where she remained until age 77. Polly's next years were filled with raising flowers and making a small garden. She never gave up growing things. This last summer she raised some tomatoes and flowers. Polly spent her time visiting with everyone that stopped by daily, reading, and piecing quilts till her eye sight and health caused it to become difficult.
Polly was a faithful member of the Church of Christ. She was a much beloved member of her community, mentor, teacher, friend, and neighbor. She was very loved by her family and we all knew how much she loved us.
Services for Polly will be held at the Church of Christ at Little, February 4, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. with Kirby Hinds officiating. Burial will follow at Rest Haven Memorial Gardens in Seminole.
Casket bearers will be Eric, Aaron, Christopher, Levi, Brock and Garrett Clifton, Bucky Patterson and Jon and Rowan Cervone. Honorary bearers will be Robert Burgess, Roy Boydstun, Dempsey Chesser, Adrian Hester, Bill Little, Ted North, Jeff Olinger and Raul Vega.
The family is requesting all who attend Polly's service to wear masks and practice social distancing.
For those unable to attend the service, it will be streamed live on the Swearingen Funeral Home Facebook Page.
Arrangements are under the direction of Swearingen Funeral Home in Seminole, Oklahoma.
Posted online on February 03, 2021