Mary Joan Cooley Patterson


On June 14, 2024, Mary Joan Cooley Patterson, loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, passed away at the age of 87.

She was born in Galesburg, IL, May 19, 1937, to Ray and Lois Anna Gleeson Cooley. Her early years were spent in Galesburg, and in Seneca, IL, where her parents worked in the LST shipyard. After the war they returned to Galesburg. She attended Corpus Christi High School, graduating in 1955. Mary went to Cape Cod for the summer, this left an impression to travel. She attended Brown Business College and then fell in love with Richard “Dick” Patterson. Theirs’ was a lifelong love.

They welcomed their first child, Linda, then Lorrie, Leslie, Gary, and Paula. In 1965, Dick started his own construction business. He built homes and apartments throughout the area. Mary assisted in bookkeeping. The residents enjoyed her kindness. Mary loved Galesburg. She enjoyed shopping, playing golf, tennis, and bridge. She was known for her smile and skill at card games. Mary encouraged her children in swimming at the advice of her mother-in-law, and this remained part of all of their lives.

A homemaker, with many friends, she made quite “the lady” who held her head high and maintained her beautiful smile and sense of humor throughout her life. She loved little children, and this made life a true gift. She hated to miss church and thanked the Good Lord for his help when situations got hard. We will be forever amazed that her personality continued to shine until the end of her life. There won’t be a day that goes by that we won’t think of her.

Her family greatly appreciates her friends and caretakers that made her last days better. Thanks, and praise to the Hawthorne Inn and Seminary Manor for the love they showed Mom. Mary was preceded in death by her parents, Ray and Lois; her sister, Carol; husband, Richard; and daughter, Paula. She is survived by brother, Jack; daughter, Linda (Tom) Tinkham; daughter, Lorrie (Brin) Grosfield; daughter, Leslie (Paul) Hunter; son, Gary (Bill Redfern); son-in-law, Jim Miles; and many grandchildren: Parker, Anysse, Sarah, Jenny, Amanda, Rion, and Molly; plus, fifteen great-grandchildren; and one great-great granddaughter. She had many treasured friends and beloved relatives in Galesburg she so loved.

Visitation will be Thursday, June 20, 2024 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Watson Thomas Funeral Home and Crematory. Funeral Mass will be Friday, June 21, 2024 at 10:00 a.m. at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. Father Lee Brokaw will officiate. Burial will follow at St. Joseph Cemetery in Galesburg, IL. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Special Olympics. Online expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family at

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