Harry Jay Patten, 95, of Southridge Nursing & Rehab in Marshalltown, died on Sept. 19, 2013, just 2.5 months shy of his 96th birthday, at Marshalltown Medical and Surgical Center, surrounded by family and Hospice staff. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, at Faith Assembly in Marshalltown. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, at the Main St. Chapel of the Anderson Funeral Homes in Marshalltown. Harry will be buried in Turner Cemetery, in rural Tama County, next to his beloved Charlotte. Memorials may be directed to Faith Assembly. Online condolences may be sent to www.andersonfhs.com.
Harry was born Dec. 4, 1917, in Cedar City, Utah, on his parents' 300 acre homestead; he was the son of Lillian K. Nelson and Harry J. Patten. His mother's family emigrated from Sweden in the late 1800s, while his father's family had their roots in Minnesota before moving to California. A few years after moving to Utah, Harry Senior and Lillian returned to California, where Harry's father had his own construction company, and the two older boys worked with their father. Harry was the second oldest of four siblings: his older brother, George, died in February of 2012. His younger brother David in July of 2011. The youngest brother, Jay, survives.
During World War II, while his three brothers enlisted in the military, Harry worked at Timm Aircraft factory, building training planes; he later helped construct homes for the returning GIs. He also sang in a gospel quartet. The quartet performed on the radio in Hollywood, Calif. Harry sang and played the violin. One of the other members was responsible for introducing him to Charlotte, a country school teacher from Iowa who was visiting her sister in California.
Harry married Charlotte L. Lewis on Feb. 25, 1946, in Hollywood, Calif. They had two daughters: Cathi and Cherie. Harry, Charlotte and Cathi moved back to Iowa in the late 1940s, first living out in the country in an old schoolhouse where Charlotte once taught. They then moved to Marshalltown, where Harry worked as a carpenter for several companies. He helped build many houses around the state of Iowa, and was known for his fine craftsmanship as a master cabinet maker, doing numerous remodeling jobs on bathrooms and kitchens.
Harry suffered a bout with cancer in the 1950s, resulting in the removal of an eye; he had to relearn to drive and use his tools. Some of the doctors on his case included the famous Wolfe Clinic brothers.
After being injured in a construction accident, Harry fulfilled a lifelong dream by taking correspondence courses and became a licensed minister. He spent a number of summers in Newport, R.I., where he helped local church members and his son-in-law do numerous renovations on the church and parsonage where his daughter Cherie and son-in-law, C. A., were pastors. He and Charlotte worked together to restore the old School House where Charlotte once taught, and moved out there in the mid-1980s; they enjoyed gardening, caring for their cats and helping with their grandchildren Mikki and Jon.
Harry volunteered at the Iowa Veterans Home for over 25 years, working out of the chaplain's office. He also ministered to the prisoners at the Marshall County Jail for a number of years.
Harry and Charlotte enjoyed their many winters as snow birds in Tucson, Ariz., where they had a trailer in an Iowa dominated trailer park. They were active in Assemblies of God churches both in Marshalltown and Tucson. One of the highlights of their lives was a trip they took to Israel that included stops in London, Rome and Egypt.
Charlotte died on April 22, 1997. On July 29, 2000, Harry married Hazel Harper, whose husband, Max, had also recently died. They found great companionship together: Harry and Hazel built a series of garden benches and tool boxes, donating the proceeds to Disabled Veterans of America. Hazel passed away on Oct. 8, 2009. Harry moved into Southridge Nursing and Rehab Center in the fall of 2009. He continued to minister with writing letters to prisoners and composing letters to the editor and memoir pieces for the newspaper. He remained devoted to his family, an avid reader of the Bible and daily newspaper and a deeply spiritual man.
Harry is survived by his daughters and sons-in-law: Cathi and Bill Martin, of Marshalltown, and Cherie and Michael Dargan, of Waterloo; along with their children and grandchildren: David and Charlotte Martin, of Marshalltown, and their children: Lane, Clay and Abby; Jon and Alicia Post, of Waverly, and child, Corbin and Mikki Post, of Indianapolis, Ind. He is also survived by his step daughter Vonna and son-in-law Stanley Hayes, of Marshalltown; his brother Jay Patten, of California; nieces Valerie and Tammy; nephew Larry Patten, and sister-in-law Jeanne Egger.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center, Southridge Nursing & Rehab Center and Care Initiatives, "The Hospice Gang," for their excellent care and friendship.