By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama State Rep. Jim Patterson, R-Meridianville, has passed away at age 67, APR has confirmed.
Patterson died of a massive heart attack, several lawmakers confirmed to APR. He had complained of shortness of breath and chest pains earlier today.
Patterson was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2010 to represent portions of Madison County. Patterson, during his tenure in the House, was a supporter of conservative bills on economic development, low taxes and ethics.
“I just loved Big Jim Patterson,” said Rep. Connie Rowe, vice chair of the House GOP caucus. “He was a grand character and always interesting, always entertaining. I am just so, so very sorry for his family and for our body as the Legislature. He added so much.”
During the last session, Patterson sponsored a bill in the House that required insurance companies to cover autism therapy. It later passed after a fierce battle in the Senate and became law when Gov. Kay Ivey signed it in May.
“Heartbreaking — Jim was one of the most likable people you would ever meet,” said Sen. Cam Ward, who was a staunch supporter of the autism bill and whose daughter has autism. “He was a hero to the autism community and just really loved by everyone he worked with. He was the reason we had autism insurance reform in Alabama.”
— Cam Ward (@SenCamWard) October 2, 2017
Patterson, a former member of the Madison County School Board, was a small business owner and former U.S. Army captain. He later served as a Army Reserves company commander.
“Representative Patterson had a huge heart and exemplified the role of a citizen-legislator. Jim was a voice for the children and the needy in our society, and that voice will be sorely missed,” said Gov. Kay Ivey. “My thoughts and prayers remain especially with his wife Susan and their three children during this very difficult time. They have lost a loving husband and father, and Alabama has lost a tremendous public servant.
He owned and operated his small business, Patterson Properties and Mortgages, and was a partner in other businesses in the Huntsville area.
He is survived by his wife, Susan Carter Patterson, and their three children. He was a deacon at Flint River Baptist Church in Meridianville.
“I can’t adequately put into words what my dad meant to us, his community, and state,” his daughter, Krista Hunter, said. “He loved fiercely and was super passionate about everything he believed in…. My dad was a child of God and he’s talking and praising Him right now. Please continue to pray for us, my Mom especially. They’ve been loving each other for 52 years.”
Our thoughts & prayers are w/ Rep. Jim Patterson & his family after his passing. Thankful for his service, you’ll be missed, Jim. God Bless.
— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) October 2, 2017