Navajo Code Talker Patterson Passes Away At 94, “He Was Brave Until The Very End”

Navajo Code Talker David Earl Patterson [Photo from Gofundme]

Navajo Code Talker David Earl Patterson, Sr. passed away on Sunday, October 8, 2017, at the age 94. Mr. Patterson died of complications from pneumonia and a subdural hematoma.

Funeral services will be conducted in Shiprock, NM at Christ The King Catholic Church. The date and time are yet to be determined.

A GoFundMe account was set-up to help Mr. Patterson’s family offset funeral costs.

His son, Pat Patterson, wrote on the Gofundme page:

My beloved father and Navajo Code Talker, David Earl Patterson, Sr. passed away this morning at 2:42a.m. October 8th, 2017. He lost a battle with pnuemonia and a fall that caused a sub-dural hematoma (brain bleed). He was brave until the very end, but was just not strong enough to overcome this battle.

We will all miss you and cherish you for all of eternity. You were my father, my hero, my mentor and my bowling partner, I will love you forever and always.

Those who were close to him knew he was a devoted catholic, he loved bingo, baseball (Los Angeles Dodgers) and was an avid bowler, a passion in which he enjoyed doing until the very end.

For those who may not have known, my father served our country during WWII in the USMC as a Navajo Code Talker from 1943-1945, he was Honorably Discharged on April 7th of 1945. He was among an Elite group of Marines who helped create the only unbroken code in modern military history. As one of the Navajo Code Talkers, my father and other Navajos coded and decoded classified military dispatches during WWII using a code derived from their native tongue. The Code Talkers took part in every Marine assault, from Guadalcanal in 1942 to Okinawa in 1945, including the Marshall Islands, ROI & Namur Islands, the Kwajalein Atoll, Iwo Jima, and Saipan, and were key in the United States winning the war.

After he was discharged from the USMC, my father went to college in Oklahoma and New Mexico, becoming a social worker. He married and raised his family in Oklahoma, California and on the reservation in Shiprock, N.M., he worked for the Navajo Nation’s Division of Social Services until retiring in 1987. He was awarded the Silver Congressional Medal of Honor on November 24, 2001 and up until 2012 volunteered in a Shiprock, NM school on the Navajo Reservation as a foster grandparent. He lived with his youngest son in Rio Rancho, NM from 2012 until his passing in 2017.

Mr. Patterson was recognized & acknowledged by the 2011 Connie Mack World Series Committee

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