Thu04242014

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First African American to serve as Mayor of Memphis

Bishop J.O. Patterson Jr. – former state lawmaker, Memphis City Councilman and interim Mayor of Memphis – died Saturday at age 76. Bishop J.O. Patterson Jr. – former state lawmaker, Memphis City Councilman and interim Mayor of Memphis – died Saturday at age 76.


The Saints of the Church of God in Christ gathered in celebration of Bishop J.O. Patterson Jr. during a gala at the Hilton Memphis Hotel on April 13. Held during the Spring Call Meeting, the event celebrated the Rev. Patterson’s myriad achievements and noted his third term of service as chairman of the COGIC General Assembly. (Photo by Earl Stanback)


Bishop J.O. Patterson Jr.

Known for his quick wit and incredible sense of humor, Bishop Patterson, a lawyer, served one term as a state representative, two terms as a state senator and five terms on the City Council. In 1982, after then-Mayor Wyeth Chandler resigned, Mr. Patterson became the first African American to serve as mayor of Memphis when he occupied the office during the interim period.

Mr. Patterson was born on May 28, 1935 in Memphis to the late Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ, Inc., J.O. Patterson Sr. and Deborah M. Patterson and was the grandson of the COGIC founder, Bishop Charles Harrison Mason.

Known as a churchman and a statesman Bishop Patterson, served as the chairman of the legislative body of the church, the General Assembly for nearly eleven years. As Chairman of the General Assembly, he supervised all sessions of the legislative and judicial authority of the Church of God in Christ, Inc.

“Bishop J.O. Patterson was a wise and faithful chairman who served in one of the highest offices of the Church of God in Christ. The General Assembly of the church is the doctrine expressing body of the church and Bishop Patterson led that entity effectively and with vision. He will be greatly missed,” said Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake.

“We offer our sincere prayers to his wife, family and the Pentecostal Temple congregation.”


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