Charles Duane Patterson (Duane), 88, of Wausau passed away February 15th, 2021, at his home, with family at his side, after an extended illness. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Joy; his children Elizabeth and husband Michael Hermsen (of Evanston, IL), Catherine and husband David Wood (of Houston, TX), and Thomas and partner Mark Jakusz (of Minneapolis, MN); and one grandchild, Charles Wood; and by his brothers Robert and Lewis and their families.
Duane was born in La Crosse, WI on July 16th, 1932, to Charles Robert and Jessie Grace Manser Patterson and grew up in the area around North Bend in southwestern Wisconsin. After several moves to other small towns in the area, he completed high school in Lime Ridge, WI, where he played on the basketball team and graduated as valedictorian in 1950. He went on to college at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. There he met Joy Forster, also a UW student, at Pres House, the campus Presbyterian church. After completing his BA in History and attending one semester of law school at the UW, he was called into the army as an officer. While in the service, stationed at Fort Monmouth in Red Bank, NJ, he married Joy on July 23rd, 1955. After three years, the couple returned to Madison, where Duane completed his law degree, serving as Editor of the Law Review and receiving the Order of the Coif.
Upon graduation from law school in 1959, Duane and Joy moved to Wausau, where Duane joined the firm of Smith, Puchner, Tinkham, & Smith (which by the end of his career was Patterson, Richards, and Hessert). He became a partner and engaged in an active legal career for 40 years, specializing in trusts and estates, as well as representing a number of local businesses. Soon after arriving in Wausau, he became active in local civic organizations, including the Marathon County Bar Association, Jaycees, United Way, and Noon Optimists. He was named Jaycee Young Man of the Year in 1967 and Optimist of the Year in 1974. Later, he was elected President of the Marathon County Bar Association in 1981 and President of United Way in 1985. He also served on the boards of a number of other community organizations. Even as he was busy in his career and in community organizations, he remained a strong family man. He was actively involved in the lives of his children, and he and Joy shared a strong and loving partnership.
Throughout his life, Duane was active in the church. In Wausau, he served as elder, deacon, and Clerk of Session at First Presbyterian Church. Duane was also an avid reader and book collector, with a passion for history, art and art history, and world travel. In his last years he was no longer able to travel, but he and Joy continued to enjoy visits from their family and friends. Duane’s family would like to thank the many dedicated caregivers from TLC Home Care and the staff of Aspirus Hospice and Palliative Care who provided care and support in his last two years.
A private graveside service will be held at Pine Grove Cemetery, with the intent of a memorial service later in the year when it is safer to do so.
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