We have lost a treasured member of the Live Oak Artists Guild. Our beloved Patt Slaughter died as a
result of a massive stroke and heart attack on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. She was 93.
Our Patt was born in Geneva – no, not Switzerland – but Florida, Seminole County. At the age of two,
her family moved to Oakhill, near New Symrna Beach, and at age seven, moved to Daytona Beach
where she lived until college, work, and then marriage.
Her father, Claude Patterson, worked in the railroad business. Her mother was Ella Patterson. Patt had
an older brother, Clyde “Patt” Patterson. His nickname of “Patt” was later acquired by our Patt. Patt’s
first names were Dorothy Evelyn.
Patt was very close to her brother; their paths separated after college. He went into the newspaper
business in Atlanta. Patt took piano lessons at an early age; her brother – violin. He gave it up and Patt
took over the violin lessons. This was to our good fortune in later years.
Patt went to Stetson University, where she met her future husband, William Randall Slaughter. After
Stetson, Patt attended Florida State, where she was a music major, plus other majors. She was a
Concert Master with the college symphony.
Patt’s first job was in Madison, where she taught Band and English, for several years. She and her
husband were married in Deland on June 12, 1938, and moved to Live Oak. Randy had settled in Live
Oak and started his own law firm.
Patt joined the Live Oak Woman’s Club back in the 40’s, when the clubhouse was on Duval Street.
Jumping right in with her many talents, Patt worked on many committees; was on the Executive Board
in several capacities; was Art Department Chairman for many years, and served as President of the
Club from 1972 to 1974.
Through the years she sponsored many new members, entertained us with her magic violin, and also
shared her art with us. Patt loved the Impressionists, and painted in their style.
Through the years Patt also formed the Silver Strings, made up of the young violin students. She
formed the Woman’s Club Chorus and was its Director for many years, until she developed eye
problems. The Chorus performed at the State Legislature, Christmas on the Square, in Madison at
their Mansion, and various other sites. The chorus won many Florida federation Awards as the most
outstanding Club Chorus in the State.
In 1971, Patt started the Community Arts Festival, which was a week long Celebration of the
Arts. This ran for 32 consecutive years. It featured an Opening Day with a community Orchestra,
Community Chorus, and various other musical events. The Festival featured adult art, K-8 art, high
school art, photography, creative writing, crafts and exhibits from the Garden Club. Every evening,
demonstrations in arts and crafts were held, and local music groups performed.
Patt also raised two sons in addition to all her activities. Her son William, Jr. became a lawyer and
Judge. Her younger son, Eddie, made a career in the Army. Patt had 7 grandchildren and 6 great
grandchildren. In addition, Patt was a charter Member of the Artist Guild, active in the Suwannee
Historical Society, active in her Church, First Baptist, serving as Choir Director. She entertained at
weddings, anniversaries, and special events. She formed the Suwannee Trio – piano, violin and her
son, bill, playing Bass. Patt also passed her knowledge to others by giving piano and violin lessons to
many. And of course, PTA, Boy Scout Sponsor, did her share of baking cookies, school activities, etc.
A busy lady.
I became friends with Patt when I joined the woman’s Club in 1979. We had a common love of
classical music and art. As a result we attended many concerts and operas, and went on several trips to
France to see the arts. We both loved the Impressionists. Patt even taught me to play the piano. And we
were the original plein air artists going on excursions to paint.
Patt was not only my friend, but my mentor – I learned so much from her, not only art and music,
but life. We had such good times together doing so many fun things, when she finally moved to
Dowling Park nursing home, I visited her every month and we talked about the old days, laughed,
and cried. She had short-term memory loss, but could remember little details of the past. Amazing.
Our Patt was a very special lady…a true southern Lady, who for many years, gave unselfishly of
her talents, time and plain hard work to make certain that all phases of the various arts was within
reach of everyone. She did more for the arts in Live Oak than anyone before or after – putting Live
Oak on the map. And all the time she was quiet and unassuming.
We used to say in the Woman’s Club, when Patt asked you to do something, you could never say
“no” to her. A very precious lady.
Patt’s dedication and commitment to the Woman’s Club and the Artists Guild over the
years never faltered, and we are the beneficiaries. She was the epitome of what a member
symbolizes…gracious ways, charming wit, and ready smile…and willing hands.
She will be missed by all of us.
(Written by Doris Van Jahnke, who counted Patt as a dear friend for over 33 years.)