Bob Patterson

August 13, 1936January 23, 2019

Mr. Bob Patterson, age 82 of Hermitage, Tennessee, passed away Wednesday, January 23, 2019.

He was born in Weatherford, Oklahoma, the son of the late Clifford Dewey and Bertha Patterson. Bob retired as a Naval Captain after 28 years and retired as an American Airlines Captain after 30 years. He enjoyed building and flying RC planes and golfing. He was a member of Holy Rosary Catholic Church for 51 years. Bob was a devoted husband, father and “Gamps.”

In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by two sisters, Merle Boyd and Dot Katterich. He is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Zetia Patterson; four children, John (Terri) Patterson, Chris Robert (Ashlea) Patterson, Ann (Rick) Ritter, and Katie Patterson; six grandchildren, Zita, Claire, Jacob, Wylie, Allie, and Georgie; sister, Patsy Dunn; several nieces, nephews, and a host of friends.

Visitation will be Tuesday, February 5, 2019 at Holy Rosary Catholic Church from 10:00 am to 11:00 am and Funeral Mass beginning at 11:00 am with Father Stephen Klasek officiating. Retired Military Honors and Interment to immediately follow at Calvary Cemetery, 1001 Lebanon Pike, Nashville, Tennessee 37210.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Holy Rosary Academy, 190 Graylynn Drive, Nashville, Tennessee 37214.


  • Holy Rosary Academy


  • Visitation Tuesday, February 5, 2019
  • Funeral Mass Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Bob Patterson

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Jim Collier

January 28, 2019

I first met Bob about a dozen years ago when I apprehensively went to the field seeking some guidance on how to fly model airplanes without crashing constantly. There I met Bob and he guided me through my first flights and suggested corrections and various things to do to improve my still limited skills. Over time, I got to know Bob and the other regular flyers and enjoyed their fellowship as we pursued our mutual passion for RC planes.

In a very short time I came to appreciated Bob's considerable knowledge about all things aeronautical. With his extensive background in Naval and Commercial aviation he likely forgot more about aeronautical engineering than most of us would ever know. He could explain how wing fences worked, why high speed stalls happened, why an F-5 fuselage is designed with a thin waist, or endless other things. And, oh the stories. Bob entertained us often with his wonderful, often hilarious stories about his military and commercial flying career. With his quick sense of humor, Bob loved to tell or hear a good joke and many were told and retold. Bob also possessed and easy charm which he could direct at people especially our occasional female visitors or those we'd meet elsewhere, often at our regular lunch breaks. He became a favorite of those he met and I often marveled at how easily he made friends. Over the years, Bob became a cherished friend, confidante and flying buddy. And, he was generous with his time, expertise and friendship.

All of us who cared about him, watched in helpless dismay as his health challenges became more acute over the last few months. Nevertheless, Bob's courage and willpower were on full display. Bob was ever an inspiration who would not pass meekly from this life and always strove to overcome any obstacle put in front of him. I will always miss him but, am thankful to have had such a friend. My heartfelt condolences to all his friends and family. May God bless and keep him till we meet again.

Tom Buida

January 27, 2019

Two years ago when I wanted to learn how to fly RC airplanes Bob took on the challenge. With his naval and commercial aviation experience he was a great teacher, but I was not the best student and at times I wore his patience thin. However, he persevered, and I learned. The last time I saw him at the airfield earlier this month I flew three of my planes well and landed well, all the while his advice rolling around in my head. I flew well enough for him to honk his horn and flash me a thumbs up from the window of his truck. I will always cherish that acknowledgment from him. It meant a lot.

When Bob was at the airfield the sky seemed bluer, the sun a little brighter and the camaraderie among the fliers seemed to kick up a few notches. He always had great stories, good advice, some great jokes and a pocket full of treats for the airfield dogs, Summer and Delia.

Norma and I traveled out of the country 8 months over the last two years and Bob always wanted to know where in the world our next trip was taking us. If he had been to a city on our itinerary, he told me some of the places we just had to visit. Upon my return each time he wanted to know what we saw, what different foods we experienced and how we liked our travels.

Although I knew him only a short time, he has made a lasting impact on my life and I enjoyed his friendship immensely. I hope I get to fly with him again someday.

Jim Slone

January 26, 2019

Bobby was my best friend...I met him when we were both 15 playing baseball in Portales, N.M. Bob played right field and I played shortstop on the Ford Motor Company (The Yankees)...We won the league championship..We both enrolled at Eastern New Mexico University in the fall of 1954 and were room mates...Bob was so funny and was a wonderful friend...He could swim fast too! Also a good dancer but I never danced with him, I left that up to the school beauties... we stayed in contact through the years and attended all the high school class reunions together...Everybody loved's best joke teller...I will miss our conversations Bob...a piece of me died when you passed away but I think we will meet again in the sweet bye and bye...Your friend Jim Slone

Sheldon Dreaddy

January 25, 2019

Bob was the first person I met when I decided to brave the hobby of RC airplanes. His mentoring evolved into an amazing friendship that made my new life in Nashville fun, memorable and something very special. His patience, kindness and willingness to welcome me into the tight knit group at the RC field is a big reason I stayed in Nashville and built a life here.
The photo here was taken at my U.S. citizenship ceremony and the flag in the picture was a present from Bob. It has a very unique story and it is a cherished piece of history that is proudly displayed in our home. A lot of people will come and go in my life, but true friends are few and far between and I am proud to have been able to call Bob my friend. For me there were two very distinct days at the airplane field.....the days that Bob was there, and the days that Bob wasn't there. It doesn't take a genius to figure out which ones were my favorite.
I will miss this piece of my life and I am am a better person for having known him.
Blue skies Bob, you are missed.

stephen marstiller

January 25, 2019

Big Fella, you were the kind of man I hoped I would be. A man's man. One who had walked the walk and lived to talk about it . You always had a good story or joke to share. Or a treat for any dog that cam e your way. Or a lady to cheer with flattery . You were always willing to teach those who knew less and encouraging those who faltered
You are an inspiration to me and I was so privileged to have had your friendship. but not long enough .
See you in the clouds my friend- surely we will be able to fly again together
your pal
Steve Marstiller

Richard Leverone

January 25, 2019

Thank you for the stories and inspiration of your life. You will forever remain an example and motivation to be a better man. Godspeed Bob.

Tom Sanford

January 25, 2019

Bob, I knew you for only a few years, but you were a friend to everyone you met and taught so many how to fly RC. Many folks are feeling your absence already. I will remember you at the setting of the sun and in the mornings.

David Mettetal

January 25, 2019

I learned something every time I was with you, Fly High and God Bless the Family.