Mr. William J. Patterson, 87, of Girdler and Lexington, passed away Friday morning, April 3, 2020 at Baptist Health Lexington.  He was the son of the late Garrard and Effie Mae Epperson Patterson born on February 4, 1933 in Heidrick.

At the age of eleven, his family moved to Girdler to his mother’s home place and took care of his grandfather, William Norton Epperson, until his death.  This was the beginning of what became the P & E Farm.

As a teenager, W. J. played football for Knox Central and was employed at the local A & P Grocery.  In 1953, he joined the United States Army and served in the 82nd Airborne Division as a paratrooper based at Fort Bragg, NC until his military retirement in 1955.

On Christmas Eve of 1954, he married the love of his life, Sharron Elaine Ford, and to this union two children were born.

As a young family man looking for a career, W. J. began in sales. He was a valued salesman for Knox Motor Company of Barbourville when his skills were observed and he was offered a position with the Life Insurance Company of KY. This would require a family move to Louisville but quickly led to a Manager Training position for him. Years later, he decided to set out on his own and he established Multi-Service Corporation, a multi-lines insurance agency located in Louisville. After a few years, he decided to expand this type of agency to his hometown so in 1976 Mountain Valley Insurance was born and located in Barbourville. As time went on Mountain Valley offices were also opened in Corbin, London, Manchester, Pineville, Middlesboro and even Hazard. He continued to work from his Lexington office. He eventually sold his agencies in 2008 but worked on until his retirement in 2011.

Always in the background behind his insurance business was the P & E Farm. Its family roots on the Epperson side date back to 1889 for the original tract. Each generation of the Pattersons and the Eppersons have worked to maintain, enhance and grow the size of the farm. W. J. was always coming up with new ways to make it bigger and better. This was his passion, his love of the land and family.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by four sisters, Estelene, Evelene, Geneda and Juanita.

Survivors include his loving wife of 65 years, Sharron Ford Patterson of Barbourville; a daughter, Jennifer Patterson Mills of Girdler; a son, William Joseph Patterson Jr. and wife, Alison, of Soddy Daisy, TN; four grandchildren, Marvin Brandon Mills and wife, Beth, and Leslie Blaine Mills Washam and husband, Jeff, all of Barbourville, William Lake Patterson and Sanoe Brook Patterson both of Soddy Daisy, TN; three great grandchildren, Haylee Ann Washam, Marvin Landon Mills and Lily Mae Mills all of Barbourville; two nieces, Donna Alvis of Michigan and Patricia Price of Nashville, TN; a nephew, James Garrard Smith of Stow, OH; a special brother-in-law, Adrian Price of Elizabethtown; among other loved ones and dear friends.

Over the years, W. J. has employed several young boys who have grown into fine young men under his watchful eye and occasional help.  You know who you are.  Know that he loved you as we love you and we sincerely appreciate all that you do for us and the P & E Farm.

A private family graveside service will be conducted at the Patterson Cemetery Monday, April 6 with Rev. David Barnard officiating.

Casket bearers will be Brandon Mills, Jeff Washam, David Smith, Denver Mills, Bobby Mills, Pete Mills and Lake Patterson.  Honorary bearers will be his Patterson and Epperson cousins.

Expressions of sympathy may go to the Patterson Cemetery in his memory.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Knox Funeral Home.

Since gatherings are restricted at this time, one way to encourage the family would be to send them a message through our website.  Just click on the condolence link below.

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