HOMER — Milton Patterson was a leader in Banks County for many years. Now that service will be forever memorialized in the naming of the entrance to the new Windmill Park Sports Complex.
After a 30-year career in education, including eight years as Banks County School superintendent, Patterson went back into local government, serving from 1986-1996 as chairman of the Banks County Commission.
The commission voted Tuesday night to designate the road accessing the new sports complex off Thompson Street as Patterson Way in remembrance of Patterson's contributions to the county.
It was during that service as commission chairman that the county purchased 832 acres where many county facilities now are located, including the courthouse annex, senior center, and the recreation facility where the drive named for him is located, among other facilities.
"For a lot of people that don't remember or are new to the county, Milton Patterson spent years as the county school superintendent, and when he retired he couldn't stand retirement so he ran for commission chairman," said current Chairman Jimmy Hooper. "Mr. Patterson had enough vision to see that Banks County was growing and needed space for needed facilities. He basically did a one-man show and bought 800-plus acres here on Windmill Farm. From that 800 acres, now we've developed a sports complex, the senior center, the gymnasiums, the annex, and we'll continue to grow."
At the time of his death on May 8, 2014, Patterson was 86 and had been married to his wife, Ruzelle Lewallen Patterson, for 61 years.
In addition to service in Banks County, Patterson also served a term as president of the North Georgia Superintendents Association and on the board of the Georgia Mountains Regional Development Center.
Patterson alsowas actively involved in his church, Nails Creek Baptist, where he served as a deacon for 50 years. He and his wife were the first couple married in the church.
"I don't think of another appropriate name that could have been given to the drive by the new sports complex than Patterson Way," Hooper said.