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Requiescat in Pace

All at Maryvale are Saddened to Hear
of the Passing of Francis Patton

Francis Patton

With sadness, we share the news of the passing of Francis Patton. Francis supported Maryvale Institute for many years, in so many ways; from dedicated PGCE Tutor to skillful handyman. He was a devout Catholic and family man and will be missed. We thank Janet Mellor, PGCE Director at Maryvale who worked alongside Francis at the time, for her touching memories of him.

Daniel Francis Patton RIP

When I began my work in 2005 at Maryvale as the Director of the Post-Graduate Certificate in Education for the teaching of Religious Education in secondary schools, Francis Patton was already an established tutor. He had been talent-spotted by my predecessor, Fr David Bazen, and he brought a wealth of experience to the course. His death on 31st March 2021 has deprived those close to him of a loving and devoted head of the family, and those in his wide circle of friends of a hugely talented, kind and loyal colleague, devout fellow parishioner and humble pilgrim in the service of his Lord and Saviour.

Francis was a man from Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal. He was born there in September 1932 and retained close contact with his home throughout his life. He had a long career as a devoted teacher in Catholic schools, working finally at St Francis of Assisi Catholic secondary school near Maryvale, where he set up the Religious Education department, was highly esteemed for his skills in the classroom and became Deputy Headteacher. A former headteacher, Mike Moran, described Francis as a ‘nuts and bolts man’ and it was due to his skills in negotiation, fund raising and planning that the school was able to build up greatly its intake and reputation. Such was the wide range of talent in the field of Catholic education which Francis brought in his role as tutor to the PGCE at Maryvale Institute, for the benefit both of the students and of the development of the course.

Francis’ contribution to Maryvale was by no means limited to the PGCE because on retirement from teaching, he embarked on using his skills in building projects, already evident at St Francis’ school. For Monsignor Paul Watson, moving from Francis’ home parish to be Director of Maryvale, the presence of a reliable and conscientious worker, devoted to maintaining the fabric of the Institute building, was a huge blessing. On a typical morning Francis would find himself counselling students in schools, while in the afternoon he was equally at home painting, decorating, or up a ladder making sure that Maryvale’s guttering remained intact.

The PGCE course attracted a few students each year from Northern Ireland, and Francis was ideally suited to working with them in their placement schools, because he knew the territory, but with all the students whom Francis tutored, very sound and supportive relationships were developed. My successor, David Meiklejohn, speaks of his willingness always to ‘go the extra mile’, especially for those students who required additional support and advice. He adds that students invariably gave Francis very high rankings in professional evaluations, as they greatly valued his insights and experience. He had very high standards and was most meticulous in his report writing, gently but firmly guiding the budding teachers into their chosen vocation. He was a highly respected colleague and all of us, tutors as well as students, regarded him with a strong sense of affection and appreciation.

Francis was highly dedicated to his work at Maryvale, especially to his beloved Bridgettine sisters. We will always remember the manner in which he deflected praise, and the courteous, patient way in which he conducted his responsibilities, as well as his sense of fun. I will never forget our joint visit to schools in Northern Ireland and his insistence that he drive on to the beach near to Ballyshannon so that I could paddle in the Atlantic.

We give thanks for his life and work, for his example of Christian discipleship in the Catholic Church, and for the privilege of knowing him.

May he rest in peace.

Janet Mellor

Director of PGCE, 2005-9

A Parish Requiem Mass will be offered for Francis at 7.30pm on Thursday 22nd April at St Mary of the Angels (Aldridge, Walsall) – this is open to limited attendance, but will be ‘first come first served".

On Friday 23rd April, Francis’ Requiem Mass will be celebrated at 10.30am prior to committal at Streetly Crematorium. This Requiem is by invitation only, due to the current restrictions, and the family have asked for donations towards the Organ Restoration Fund, in lieu of flowers, in memory of Francis. Following the Mass the funeral cortège will travel to the Crematorium via St. Francis of Assisi Catholic College.

Funeral livestream link.

Funeral livestream password: PA2021

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord,
And let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace.

© Maryvale Institute 2018 - Maryvale Institute is part of the Birmingham Diocesan Trust, Reg'd Charity No. 234216