Mary E. Patton

Mary Elizabeth Patton, 84, left her earthly form on May 21, 2015 to become part of the ever expanding universe with all her loving memories of family, friends, music, art, film and visions of trees and her beautiful garden.  She leaves behind all of her unfinished projects she wanted to accomplish someday when her somedays ran out – but she has said, she has no regrets.

“There are estimated to be between 100 and 200 billion galaxies in the Universe. How exciting to find myself on this journey. I leave this beautiful earth with its magnificent trees, exquisite birds and animals of all kinds that I have had the pleasure of seeing in Kenya, South Africa and other beautiful places. Plus the cultures that for me have been interesting to study and a challenge to paint. Leaving behind the many memories of travel also in this wonderful country.  Proud to have been in each state except for Hawaii and Alaska. I have enjoyed teaching and learning along with many talented students. I carry images so sublime with me…ideas to contemplate along the way, from scientists and philosophers I have read. [I carry] memories of films by brilliant people who have enriched my life, and friends who have helped me through difficult days and most of all, of the love of four wonderful creative children who have suffered their mothers idiosyncrasies all these years. I wish you each ‘enough’ and to be kind to each other.”

Born January 25, 1931, Mary Elizabeth is survived by her four children: David (Laura Murawski), Stephen (Gloria Zambrano), Kevin (Lucretia Madonna) and Renee (Rob Evans), four grandchildren: Desiree Patton, Michael Patton, Lucas Evans and Elizabeth Quinn Evans, a sister Emily Louise Millet and nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband Charles Patton, brother John Donald Roach II and parents, John Donald Roach I and Mable Robinson Roach.

Mary Elizabeth began her artistic journey when her parents sent her to McCaskey high school at the age of 13 to study under Pauline Stauffer where she earned one of the first scholastic gold keys in Lancaster County. That same year, ME studied at Moore College of art and Design on the weekends. She was the youngest member to join the Marietta art group, in 1945 along with Trompe L’Oeil painter, Henry Libhart.

She entered Pratt institute of Fine Art after graduated high school. She soon began freelance work in fashion illustration in NYC before she married the late Charles Patton and began painting commissioned oil portraits in Philadelphia as well as freelance work in a local newspaper for fashion illustration.  After moving to East Petersburg, PA, Mary Elizabeth was hired as the Art teacher at Lancaster Country Day School where for a short times, taught studio art ” to all 12 grades” (A little fact she liked to tell) She proposed an art history program to  then headmaster, John Jarvis who eagerly accepted. After ten years of inspiring students, she retired from teaching so as to follow her passions of travel and exploring other cultures, primarily of Africa and the American Southwest.  She did extensive paintings of each. She was instrumental in beginning a live model studio open to the public at F&M in the mid 1970’s.

Mary Elizabeth loved so many things.  Her passion for learning never waned.  She was eccentric, beautiful and opinionated until the day she died.

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”

Albert Einstein

Friends and family are invited to attend her Life Celebration Memorial Service in her garden at her home in East Petersburg on a later date TBA. If you hope to attend, please email rlpevans@earthlink.net by May 28th. Thank You.

Condolence Messages

  1. Glenda Synodinos

    My deepest sympathy to you and your families. Mary Elizabeth was a dear woman, and I will miss her but will fondly remember the good times we shared together. Her friendship was a true gift, and I feel blessed to have known her.

    In sorrow,
    Glenda Synodinos

  2. Dear David, Steve, Renee, and Kevin,

    As you know, your mother was my art teacher at LCDS. I was so fond of her as she was always so warm, kind, and encouraging. Also, unlike other teachers, she joked around and would banter with with students.

    The mark of a great teacher is that you think about them and draw inspiration for living long after you have taken their class. Your mother definitely had this mark for me!

    Please accept my heartfelt condolences!
    David

  3. When I think of Mary Elizabeth, my aunt, I see her wonderful smile and hear her laugh. She inspired me for years, helped me when I was in college and always made sure to tell me to do more art. A very special person that I will miss. I will carry her in my heart.

  4. carol galligan

    I apologize if this is the second message….I don’t see my first and I feel I must express my love for my dear friend, mentor, ‘adopted’ sister Mary Elizabeth Patton. When I first moved to Lancaster, ME was my very first art contact. That was 35 years ago. For 35 years, Mary Elizabeth Patton has been my true friend who constantly inspired me with her art books, films, conversations. We shared many hours watching the most wonderful films, mostly foreign!!!
    I will miss my dear, dear friend. Her love of life never ceased, no matter what the circumstances. My heart is with her and her family……

  5. Mary Elizabeth was the best and most influential teacher I ever had. She opened my eyes to art and history and the inquisitiveness to learn about other cultures. I can’t help but think of her and the passion she developed within me when I view Native American Pueblo pottery. God bless her and her family.

  6. Carol and Nick

    Hello Renee, Kevin, Stephen, and David,

    Please accept our condolences at this very difficult time. Mary Elizabeth was such a charming women—so full of both wisdom and curosity. We are lucky to have known her and to have had the opportunity to have many lively conversations with her. You all are her most creative and interesting works of arts. Love to you all as you grieve this great loss.
    Love,
    Carol and Nick

  7. Donna Niquette Belt

    The story of your mother’s life is the story of a life creatively lived, and my art classes with her at Country Day helped to seed that passion and curiosity in me. She was not the kind of teacher who directed step by step, as if there were only one way to reach mastery. Rather she carefully laid out the materials, as if preparing an altar to POSSIBILITY, and allowed each student to explore how that limitlessness expressed through them.

    My prayers travel out into the galaxies with her and also stay tucked on earth, envisioning the comfort her love brings to family and friends who will be forever touched by her vision.

  8. Henry Eshelman

    Mary patton was quite possibly my favorite grade school teacher. No one else was as as encouraging or positive about the work she did, or we students did. The LCDS art room was a happy place. And, she drew a lovely pastel of my bunny, Livingston Taylor. I offer condolences to her family on behalf of ours.

  9. Ellen Simpson

    Mary Elizabeth was one of the very best teachers I ever had…. Anywhere. She encouraged this student who lacked any ability in the art studio to nevertheless love and make an attempt at understanding visual art. Her art history course at LCDS launched a lifelong love of art for me and she taught it so well that when I took the same course in college, it was a breeze. One of my few A’s! Kind, compassionate, beautiful, peaceful, interested and interesting….I have never again and never will meet another like her. My condolences to all the Pattons and all who loved Mary Elizabeth.

  10. Jean Synodinos

    I join many others in sharing that Mary Elizabeth Patton was among the most influential and positive influences of my young life. She had the incredibly rare gift of quietly but forcefully encouraging me in just the right way at just the right time, and I don’t think I was alone there. We were incredibly lucky to have had her in our corner when it mattered most. Reading about her life beyond LCDS, I am so happy to see she pursued her own travels and passions. Mary Elizabeth was a singular presence. My deepest condolences to David, Stephen, Renee, Kevin, and all of her family.

  11. HARRIET ROBBINS

    Please accept my sincere condolences for the loss of your wonderful
    MOTHER.
    She was a very special person and touched so many people who had the good fortune to know her.
    Sincerely
    Harriet Polier Robbins

  12. Mrs. Patton, as I knew her, was a remarkable teacher. I remember trips to Canada and Europe with her as a chaperone while in high school and the remarkable knowledge and enthusiasm she brought along for all of us to share. She was also fun and could relate to students rather than to be above them. I spent many hours in the art room talking to Mrs. Patton not just about art, but life. She always had a lending ear and really cared. I was also fortunate to have seen her after high school. I have a very special Christmas ornament she made and hand signed that I have always cherished. What a privilege to have known such a wonderful human being. Blessings and grace to all of you. Nancy

  13. Meryl (Schmidt) Shoemaker

    Renee and Family,
    Sorry to hear about your Mom’s passing. Hold on to your happy memories; they will sustain you. Still remember hanging out at your place in E. Pete…The Pattons; one very talented family! I hope in your grief you will also be able to celebrate her life! ~ Meryl Schmidt Shoemaker ~

  14. David, Steve, Renee and Kevin
    Please accept my condolences for the loss of your mother. Mary Elizabeth was not only very talented, but a wonderful, caring individual. I met her through my Aunt, Pauline Stauffer and have such wonderful memories of her. I have one of her beautiful pictures of a classroom where my Aunt is the teacher. It is a picture I treasure. I have been fortunate to have here as a friend. My heartfelt sympathies to each of you.
    Bobi

  15. Margaret Wagner

    Dear Renee, Stephen, and the Patton family,
    Heartfelt condolences to you all. Mrs. Patton was an extraordinary teacher, role model, artist and inspiration. Her enthusiasm for whatever genre of painting she was presenting in my LCDS classes planted a seed for my life-long appreciation of art. I can see her smiling at the slide screen, her face shining with love and awe for what was in front of her, whether it was Rembrandt, Van Gogh, or Navajo. With deep gratitude for her aliveness and most of all for the spirit she passed onto me. May wonderful memories of her help you during the times you miss her most.

  16. Dear Renee, Rob and Family

    Returned from France/Spain trip last night and just now saw your announcement. I am truly saddened and sorry I didn’t get the opportunity to spend some time with ME before we left and she left. The statement about a life well lived is powerful as are the condolences left here. It is hard to imagine a Lancaster art community without her enthusiastic presence. And she was so much a part of the Scholastic Art program I too was involved with for nearly 40 years that I will forever think of her when I think of that institution. She lives on in so many ways including in the great artistic talents your family has in abundance. Peace.

  17. Mark McConnell

    I didn’t do well at studio art, but my fondest memories of Mrs. Patton are of what she taught us about art history and culture. In fact, it was from a quotation on her wall that I first learned that culture, “a culture”, was something to be studied. She had us learn a range of paintings from the Renaissance (in the fall) and American art (in the spring). She taught us how to see things in the composition and in the modeling, as well as how the paintings fit into history. The trips to New York art museums were also memorable. It takes discipline to absorb room after room of art. That’s a discipline I learned from her and am so grateful for. (Thought of her when I was back at the Met in January.)

  18. I only met Mary Elizabeth a few years ago but she has made a warm and lasting impression on my heart. Her loving spirit and beautiful smile could fill a room. She was unbelievably talented and always willing to share her knowledge and experience with others. What a wonderful roll model for all who were fortunate to have met her. My heart goes out to her wonderful family who are all beautiful testaments to her love and devotion. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. May she rest in peace.

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