Fort Dodge lost one of its iconic residents this week.
Baseball icon Jerry Patterson passed away at his home on Sunday. He was 74 years old.
Patterson provided a home for baseball players young and old to enjoy the national pastime, building what would later become known as Patterson Field in 1968. From that year on, games would be held from mid-May until mid-October, with Patterson constantly running the park.
"I enjoy doing this, and if I can entertain people too, that's my windfall profit," Patterson said in a previously-published Messenger story celebrating the 37th year of games at Patterson Field. "I have a hobby that benefits the community, and I get a lot of nice feedback from everyone, which really makes me feel good."
The 1956 Fort Dodge Senior High graduate devoted nearly 60 years of his life to local youth programs, and Patterson Field welcomed kindgergarteners, semi-pros and everyone in between during his time as host. Former Major League All-Stars Ozzie Smith, Paul Molitor and Dave Winfield cut their teeth as visitors in the facility's formative years.
In the days since Patterson's passing, tributes and anecdotes have flowed into The Messenger newsroom.
All have lauded Patterson's fundamental decency and commitment to making his community a better place.
The Messenger laments the loss of a city treasure. We urge all residents to remember and build upon Patterson's legacy.