Former Alabama Gov. John Patterson dies at 99

Updated: Jun. 5, 2021 at 2:38 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - John Patterson, former Alabama attorney general and governor, has died, his daughter Barbara Patterson Scholl confirmed. He was 99 years old.

Scholl said he died peacefully at his home Friday night surrounded by family and friends.

“I am sending my prayers to the family and loved ones of former Governor John Patterson as they mourn his passing,” Gov. Kay Ivey said.

A native of Tallapoosa County, Patterson served as the state’s attorney general from 1955 to 1959 and became the governor in 1959 and served until 1963.

His father, Albert Patterson, won the Democratic nomination for attorney general in 1954 while trying to clean up Phenix City, which was controlled by the mob. However, Albert Patterson was murdered in Phenix City in June. John Patterson assumed the nomination and won. His time in office was marked by the cleanup of Phenix City, investigations of corruption in the second administration of Gov. James E. Folsom Sr. and the legal attempts to prevent desegregation following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision of Brown vs. Board of Education.

In 1958, John Patterson ran for governor and won. During his term, he was known for his pro-segregation stance during the civil rights era. He ran for a second term in 1966 but lost to Gov. Lurleen Wallace.

He was later appointed to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, where he served from 1984 until his retirement in 1997.

The public may plant a memorial tree in his memory. Click here to learn more.

His family is planning a private memorial service.

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