Francie Patterson

Elementary School Teacher and Coach

FrancieThe Crater Foundation would like to honor Francie Patterson as a retired educator that spent 27 years in School District 6.  Francie is another outstanding educator that has made a difference in many young people’s lives.

Francie began her career in District #6 as a part time aide at Hanby Junior High.  She then moved to Patrick Elementary as a school secretary for the late Gilbert Mack.  After Mr. Mack passed away Dr. Ron Bruton took over as Principal and he was the one who encouraged Francie to pursue a teaching degree.  She states, “It was the best advice I ever got.”

During her teaching years in the District she worked at Central Point Elementary, Hanby Junior High and Patrick Elementary School.  She was the 6th grade girls’ volleyball coach at Patrick for two years and participated in the HLAY 2000 Drug Education Training.  One of her fondest memories was teaching second grade the year they did a “Magic School Bus” field trip to the pumpkin patch her husband planted on their property in Gold Hill.  The District provided a small school bus that she could drive herself, so one sunny fall morning they were off, armed with their clipboards, name tags and team assignments.  Once there, each team had a chart to fill with data from the patch: circumference of largest pumpkin, smallest, number and type of insects, etc.  When it was time to leave every child picked out a personal pumpkin to keep – but it had to be one they could carry back to school on the bus.  “Of course,” Francie tells us, ” one boy came back rolling the largest pumpkin that none of us could lift.”

After Francie retired and her husband Dennis retired from the Medford Fire Department, they moved to Sunriver, Oregon where they built a house.  Francie quickly became involved in the Sunriver community volunteering at the 3 Rivers Elementary School for seven years, participating in local 10k and half-marathons, making quilts for local community outreach programs, serving as a Smart Reader Volunteer and doing school library work, working on the annual weed pull in Sunriver and organizing the Sunriver Quilt Shows.  She has performed in a Rock ‘n Roll band for five years in Sunriver and is their costume maker/seamstress.  They entertain the summer visitors to Sunriver with 50s and 60s music. She explains, “It’s an air band, no musical talent required!”.  Francie and Dennis also find time to travel a lot throughout the U. S. as well as abroad.  She also spends time in Eugene with her grandkids.

When asked about highlights of her teaching career, Francie has many.  She shared a fun memory of having summer reading picnics when she was teaching first grade and keeping the same class for second grade. She tells us it was a way to be sure her students maintained skills over the summer months.  She would meet in the park or at the river, just 4-6 kids at a time, eat popsicles and share their latest favorite books.  She also relates a story; “One of the best things about teaching is when your former students return to visit after they are grown and tell you of the memories they carried with them.  Several have told me how they hated reading in 1st and 2nd grade but love reading as adults.  Once I was in a Central Point gas station and the attendant walked up to the window and, in a very deep voice, asked, “Mrs. Patterson is that you?”  Fortunately I remembered his name, but not by the voice!  He went on to tell me about being in the Marine Corp with too much down time and thought of how I used to tell him that if he kept at it he would be glad he could read.  He began reading books that day, for pleasure, and said he ended up with more books than anyone in his unit.  That made my day!”

Francie closes by saying “the one thing I miss living on this side of the mountain is that I no longer hear, “Hi Mrs. Patterson, is that you?” when I am in the local grocery store or pizza parlor.  But I do think of my students often, and always will.”

Francie was another valued professional and the District is very proud to have had her as a teacher in School District #6.