E. Earl Patton
|State Senator from Fulton County, Georgia|
Elbert Earl Patton, Jr.
June 27, 1927
Atlanta, Fulton County
|Died||April 27, 2011 (aged 83)|
On Lake Burton
Rabun County, Georgia
|Spouse(s)||Mary Louise Morris Patton (married 1949-2011, his death)|
|Children||Thomas Earl Patton|
Richard Morris Patton
|Alma mater||North Atlanta High School|
Georgia Institute of Technology
|Branch/service||United States Navy|
United States Air Force
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Patton graduated from North Atlanta High School, then known as North Fulton High School, on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Thereafter he studied for a few weeks at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta but interrupted his education to enter the United States Navy. On his discharge in 1946, he returned to Georgia Tech and completed his formal education in 1949 in the field of industrial management. At Tech, he was a member and officer of Sigma Chi fraternity. During the Korean War, Patton accepted a commission in the newly organized United States Air Force. He flew a hundred combat missions in Korea before he was discharged in 1951 and returned to the United States.
Patton made his living in banking, real estate and hotel development. His Patton and Associates engaged in the sale of waste systems and equipment. He also started the Cobb Bank and Trust Company and the Marriott at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra in northeastern Florida. In later years, he managed properties in Atlanta, Augusta, and Albany, Georgia. In 1956, he joined with others in the Northside to create the Cherokee Town and Country Club, of which he served as the president in 1970. Patton was also active in the Young Men's Christian Association and worked to build a "Y" facility to the Northside of Atlanta. Patton was chairman of the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce and helped to establish the Georgia International Convention Center. He served on committees with the 1996 Olympic Games and Paralympics as well as Super Bowl XXVIII. For a time, he was the chairman of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors' Center Bureau.
Patton won the first ever Republican primary for the U.S. Senate held in the summer of 1968. That fall he was soundly defeated by the Democrat Herman Talmadge. Patton received 256,796 votes (22.5 percent) to Talmadge's 885,103 (77.3 percent). Patton was the first Republican in Georgia to run for the U.S. Senate since the Reconstruction era. Patton's defeat was particularly disappointing in that his party's gubernatorial nominee in 1966, Howard Callaway, had actually outpolled the Democratic choice in the general election, Lester Maddox, but had fallen short of the required popular majority. The state legislature at that point chose Maddox to serve as governor from 1967 to 1971.
Thereafter, Patton rebounded to win a seat in the Georgia State Senate and served from 1969 to 1970 from northern Fulton County. At the time his party held relatively few seats in the chamber, but Patton lived to see a dominant GOP majority in the Georgia Senate. Patton met with each Republican U.S. President from Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush while they were in Georgia on other business. Twelve years afterwards, Senator Talmadge was unseated by Mack Mattingly, who became the first Republican U.S. Senator from Georgia since Reconstruction though he served only one term from 1981 to 1987.
Robert Hall, former president of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association and a former Rotary International district governor, said that Patton's "actions followed his beliefs. He was leading the way when being a Republican politician wasn't the thing to do. "He didn't mind standing out. You always knew where Earl was and what he stood for." 
Family and death
Patton and his wife, the former Mary Louise Morris, whom he married on March 19, 1949, had four children: Thomas Earl Patton (born 1952), Richard Morris Patton (born 1954), Louise Patton Pritchard (born 1955), and Lorena Hall Patton (born 1960).
Patton died on April 28, 2011 when a tornado[which?] struck his second home on Lake Burton in Rabun County. Before his death, Patton had retorted on several occasions that he enjoyed his second home so much that he hoped he was there at the time of his own death. Memorial services were held at the Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, of which he was a longtime active member.
A resolution of the Georgia Senate describes Patton, accordingly: "a person of magnanimous strengths with an unimpeachable reputation for integrity, intelligence, fairness, and kindness and, by the example he made of his life, he made this world a better place in which to live."
- "In Memory of Elbert Earl Patton, Jr". obits.dignitymemorial.com. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
- "A Resolution honoring the life of E. Earl Patton, Jr" (PDF). legis.ga.gov. Retrieved May 21, 2012.[permanent dead link]
- Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections, p. 1441
- "The Frustration of Opportunity: Georgia Republicans and the Election of 1966" Atlanta History: A Journal of Georgia and the South, Vol. XXXI (Winter 1987-1988), pp. 46-47
- "Elbert Earl Patton, Jr., involved Atlantan, tornado victim". Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 1, 2011. Retrieved May 21, 2012.