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Hundreds Pay Respects To Elderly Couple Who Died In House Fire

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Monique Griego joined the WJZ News Team in July 2011 as a General...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)— A pair of Baltimore City educators perished inside their burning home last week.  At their funeral Wednesday, there was a huge outpouring from the community where they taught and lived.

Monique Griego reports on the couple’s impact in the community.

Jennye and Donald Patterson touched countless lives during their time together. And on Wednesday night, a fraction of those who spent time with them came to send condolences to their family and to say thank you.

Hundreds filled the Murphy Fine Arts Center at Morgan State University. It was a funeral service for Jennye and Donald Patterson, who died Sept. 28 when their Northwest Baltimore home caught fire.

“They will be sorely missed because they still had so much more to give and they were  continuing to give,” said Monica Pinkett, friend.

Jennye Patterson, 80, was a Morgan State graduate and retired Baltimore City school teacher. She was also a 60-year member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

“They were members of community organizations, as well. And of course you know they were educators. So they have affected so many people’s lives. That’s why you see an outpouring of  love here tonight,”  said Eleanor Matthews, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Donald Patterson was 78 and also a Morgan State graduate. He was a lifelong educator and became an assistant superintendent of Baltimore City schools. He was a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.   

They “worked very hard with students– moving them ahead. And after they retired they still worked with young people,” said Ackneil Muldrow, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

After years of dedication to their professional lives, the couple focused on their individual lives when they married in 1987. Those who knew them say they were committed to a life of service and bound together by their love.   

“And the students here can see what commitment to the community does,” Matthews said.

The Pattersons are survived by a son and three grandsons.

Condolences for the Pattersons and their family have come from the mayor’s office, governor’s office, Maryland’s federal elected officials and even the White House.

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