William E. Patton
William (Bill) Patton was born June 24, 1936. His parents were Patrick and Mabel Patton. Bill attended a country grade school and then high school in Philip, S.D., with his seven siblings. After serving in the United States Army for two years, he attended Black Hills State Teachers College in Spearfish, South Dakota where, in 1960, he received his bachelor’s degree in business education.
While in college, Bill spent his summers driving for Grey Line Bus Tours. During this time he met Lois Schrader, his future wife, where she worked at the Custer State Game Lodge. They married in June of 1960. Following their wedding, Bill taught high school business. He and Lois welcomed their first child, Laurel, in 1962. Bill earned his master’s degree from Wayne State College in Wayne, Neb. Upon completing his masters, his little family moved to Iowa where Mark was born in 1964. Bill spent two years there setting up the business program at the Emmetsburg Community College. The continued pursuit of further education led Bill and Lois to Wisconsin where Bill commuted to the University of North Dakota for summer school courses, working towards a doctorate in education. In 1967, Bill and Lois completed their family with the birth of Jill. It wasn’t long after when they moved to Missoula for Bill to finish his educational doctorate and teach at the University of Montana for 30 years.
Throughout his distinguished career, Bill was a proud Grizzly fan! His career in business education touched not only the lives of his students at the U of M, but also the future of business education through his servant leadership in many national and state organizations. He was able to work collaboratively with his peers and co-authored several publications. In 1987, he was named as the Montana Business Education Teacher of the Year. In 1988, Bill was awarded the Montana Vocational Teacher of the Year. The Western Business Education Association honored Bill for outstanding dedication to the field of Business Education in 1997. He was honored in 1998 for outstanding service by the Montana Vocational Association and again in 1999 by the Association for Career and Technical Education.
Bill was a member of the First United Methodist Church for the past 43 years. He served in several positions including the Wesley House Board of Directors, the Foundation, and the Trustees.
Scouting was important to Bill and he served as the leader of Troop 30 for 12 years. In 1982, he was honored by the Boy Scouts of America for his devoted service.
Bill Patton was a devoted husband to his wife, Lois, during their 51½ years of marriage. Together, they had many wonderful adventures, taking big trips to Alaska, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, as well as many smaller trips with family and friends.
Despite an aggressive neurological disease, Bill showed care and concern for his family and friends until the day he died. He taught those he loved how to live with integrity and die with dignity.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Patrick and Mabel; siblings, Johnny, Bobby, Phil, Irene and Kathy; and his daughter, Laurie.
He is survived by his wife, Lois; sisters, Thelma and Patty; children, Mark and Jill; and grandchildren, Zachary, Jacob, Morgan and Chloe.