Mark Alan Patterson was born to John and Sara Patterson on September 11, 1941, in the town of Fairmont, West Virginia.
Mark’s father John, commonly referred to as Marcus, was a design engineer at a glass fabrication facility and moved the family, including Mark and his older brother Brian, to Alton, Illinois for work when Mark was nine years old. The Pattersons resided in Alton until Mark had graduated from high school.
Mark gave higher education “the ol’ college try,” but struggled until he decided to enlist in the Navy in 1961. During his time in the Navy, Mark became an x-ray technician. He met his first wife, Carol Brown, while stationed in Florida and the two were married in 1964.
Soon after, Mark was sent to Bethesda, Maryland, where he and Carol welcomed their daughter, Christine Louise Patterson, in July of 1965. Mark re-enlisted in the Navy that same year and was shipped out to the Da Nang Mobile Navy Hospital to serve as a corpsman in late 1966; he was there just one day less than a year and would tell anyone interested that he never carried a weapon. In January of 1967, while Mark was still away, his son, Jay Michael Patterson, was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Upon returning from the war, Mark embarked upon a life of civilian service, moving his family west to Seattle, Washington to enter the first MedEx program to train as a Physician’s Assistant at the University of Washington. Mark graduated from the program and moved to Tonasket, Washington in September of 1969 to work with Vernon ‘Doc’ Kinzie at their small rural family medical practice.
Mark quickly became an integral part of the Okanogan Valley community, meeting and befriending hundreds of people from all walks of life, and never confining his medical skills to the clinic in Tonasket. In 1977, Mark married again. With his wife, Mariann Williams, he moved to Spectacle Lake and had a daughter, Nakiah Rachael Patterson Williams, in June of 1982. Mark spent a decade in his lake house with Mariann, his three children, and his brother’s son Reid, who came to live with the family for the last two years of high school. Mark’s appreciation of family expanded over the years, maturing him into the compassionate, generous man we all loved so much.
Mark married again in 1994, this time to Gemey Glover. They lived in Wenatchee, Washington for seventeen years, during which time Mark practiced medicine for Confluence Health. He was proud of the work he did in the infectious disease department; Mark also manned the walk-in clinic. Most noteworthy for Mark was his time spent practicing orthopedics under the mentorship of Dr. John Wheaton in Moses Lake, Washington.
In 2001, Mark began working in Correctional Medicine for the Chelan County Jail in Wenatchee. During his tenure, Mark served inmates from Chelan, Douglas, Kitsap, and Okanogan Counties. He retired from the Okanogan County Jail in May of 2018 at the age of 76.
Of the many friends Mark made in 1969, he reconnected with Julie Schildgen of Oroville, Washington in 2015. They traveled to Africa – a lifelong dream of Mark’s – in November of 2017 and began a sweet, final season of love and companionship. They especially enjoyed traveling, yard sailing, and motorcycling together. They had even intended to celebrate Mark’s 80th birthday – the 20-year anniversary of 9/11 – in New York.
Mark’s many hobbies included hunting, fishing, camping, and golfing. He had a lifelong love for music. He and Julie especially loved to play Gordon Lightfoot during motorcycle rides. Motorcycles were, by far, Mark’s greatest recreational passion. Mark’s fleet of motorcycles was his pride and joy. He spent his last days enjoying the bikes he had and actively tracking down new and unique bikes to add to his collection. Mark’s final ride was to his Omak apartment just before he contracted COVID-19.
But more than anything, Mark loved helping others. He saw himself as a benefactor to many, and he took great pride and enjoyment in collecting stories from people he helped and relating tales of medical problems he had solved. In addition to caring deeply for his family, Mark’s life mission was to help others through his medicine, his resources, and his political aspirations.
Mark was transported to Tacoma General Hospital on September 3rd. He was able to communicate with several family members before he was intubated, all with messages of love and hope. He passed away due to complications from his illness on October 9th. Mark’s family was at his side for his final hours. He is survived by his three children and their spouses, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren, his beloved Goldendoodle Pita, and Julie his cherished companion. Many extended and blended family members are also feeling his loss. A service will be held for Mark on Sunday, October 31st at the Ellisforde Church of the Brethren at 11:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to North Valley Hospital in Tonasket.