W. BRADFORD PATTERSON, MD - SHELBURNE - W. Bradford Patterson, MD, age 91, died peacefully at his residence in Wake Robin, Shelburne, on Wednesday, April 10, 2013. Dr. Patterson, known as Brad, was born on June 25, 1921, in New Rochelle, N.Y., to Arthur H. and Gertrude H. Patterson. He grew up in West Hartford, Conn., and graduated from Harvard College in 1943. He married Helen Ross, of Middlebury, a student at Radcliffe College. Brad then served two years as a Navy Lieutenant PG on a PT boat. Brad graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1950. He practiced general surgery in Boston, and was Assistant Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School.
Brad became a leader in less invasive treatments for breast cancer. He lobbied the American Cancer Society to launch their first smoking prevention campaign. Following a ten-year professorship at the University of Rochester, N.Y., Brad returned to Boston in 1978, to direct the Department of Cancer Control at the Dana Farber Institute. During his tenure at the Institute, Brad convinced the Farber to ban smoking on the premises, setting a trend for other hospitals. He developed and directed the first Ethics Rounds at the Institute, which led to innovations in patient care and training opportunities for staff. The Patterson/ McGraw Center For Population Studies was created through a gift from a grateful patient. The Center's purpose: to carry on Brad's goals of cancer prevention, education, and access to treatment for all populations.
Brad and Helen retired to Middlebury in 1988. They were active in the Hawthorne Club, the Congregational Church, and many other groups. In 1998, they moved to Wake Robin, where Brad enjoyed life drawing, music, and lively discussions with friends about politics, environment, and the arts. He was lovingly cared for by Wake Robin staff in his final phase. Brad maintained his love of Lake Champlain, and the family property on Long Point in North Ferrisburgh, for 65 years. He enjoyed swimming, sailing, fishing, bird watching, stargazing, and teaching his children and grandchildren about land, Lake, and sky. A beloved member of the community, Brad was known for his warm and caring spirit. Neighbors and family looked to him for his medical wisdom about everything from a cut knee to a new diagnosis. Brad was an avid hiker on the Appalachian and Long Trails. He sang a song for every possible occasion, and was a lifelong pianist. A lover of literature and poetry, he quoted Robert Frost up until his final hours. He will be dearly missed.
Brad is survived by his daughters, Linda Patterson of North Ferrisburgh, and Rebecca Patterson Bruns of Holland, Mich.; son, Stuart Patterson of Hingham, Mass.; and nine grandchildren. Brad was predeceased by two sisters, Cornelia Cramer and Ruth Bezanker; by his wife of 65 years, Helen Ross Patterson; and by his eldest son, William B. Patterson, MD. A Circle of Remembrance will be held at Wake Robin on Friday, May 3, 2013, at 2 p.m. An additional service for family and friends will be held at All Souls Interfaith Gathering in Shelburne on Saturday, May 4, 2013, at 10:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made in Dr. Patterson's memory to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, PO Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284.