Keith Patterson, age 66, died Thursday, March 21, 2013 surrounded at his home in Santa Marqarita, Calif. by his family.

He was born in Paris, son of Ruth (Patterson) Wright and the late Cecil Patterson. He is a graduate of Paris High School.

He earned an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree in horticulture at the University of Arkansas. He completed his doctorate at the University of Missouri, Columbia in 1985.

After enjoying a 16-year career at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., he entered semi-retirement from teaching in the Spring of 2012 to begin cancer treatment. He was the driving force behind Cal Poly’s highly respected Wine and Viticulture Program. It was his vision of having the integrated education program that made Cal Poly’s program stand out. He was instrumental in getting their program’s minor approved in 1999 and the major in 2004. He was the catalyst. His research included grapevine physiology, trellis/training and rootstocks. He also taught classes in vineyard development and pest management.

Wine & Viticulture program director, Jim Cooper said, "He got involved with the students. He had a wealth of knowledge that he was able to integrate and bring to the classroom and to the fields. Very few people have that ability."

He was a man of the earth who easily integrated classroom and field instruction and was popular with faculty and students alike. He was a golfer, camper and vegetable gardener when out of the classroom.

Jim Shumate, a former colleague and winemaker with Pomar Junction Vinyard & Winery in Templeton, Calif. told the trade publication Wines & Vines upon learning of his death: "He shared his vast knowledge unselfishly with all of those who came in touch with him. His great sense of humor, his love of teaching and his impact on the wine industry will be only a few things that he will be remembered for."

Cremation was in California.

He is survived by his daughters, Rachel (Patterson) Schipflinger and Tori Patterson of San Luis Obispo, Calif.; his mother and step-father, Ruth (Patterson) and Johnny Wright of Paris; a brother, Larry Patterson, of Paris; a sister, Paula (Patterson) and Billy Jim Warren, of Paris; three nephews and two nieces and a host of friends.

He will be deeply missed by all.

Paid death notice