The man responsible for his on-duty and off-duty work with the city of Dunkirk’s recreation program for nearly three decades will be inducted into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.
Bob Patterson, a 66-year resident of Chautauqua County, will join 10 other inductees at the sold-out Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame’s 36th annual banquet, which will be held Monday, Feb. 20 at the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club. Joining him in the Class of 2017 are Paul Cooley, Jake Ensign, Charlie LaDuca, Sammy LaMancuso, Deb Palmer, Dave Polechetti, Sam Restivo, Mike Sayers, Maceo Wofford and the late Francis “Doc” Malinoski.
Born in 1944, Patterson earned 10 letters in five sports at Dunkirk High School. Upon his graduation, he moved on to SUNY Fredonia where he played three sports. He continued his love of athletics into adulthood, serving as an IAABO official for 39 years, an official of rec league softball, basketball, floor hockey and baseball for 30 years, and as a coach of Little League, Babe Ruth League and American Legion baseball. In addition to his officiating and coaching, Patterson was also an outstanding player in basketball, touch football, fast- and slo-pitch softball and racquetball.
Where he made his most lasting impact, however, was as the City of Dunkirk’s recreation and youth bureau director for 27 years. For those efforts, the Dunkirk Babe Ruth field was named in Patterson’s honor in 2008.
“This goes way beyond the Babe Ruth field and the high school field,” said Frank Jagoda, the Dunkirk High School baseball coach on the day of the field dedication. “This goes to Bob and all the stuff he did in Dunkirk Recreation. And I don’t think the young kids realize how privileged they are to have somebody who’s done so much for the youth.”
Jagoda recounted Patterson’s roof-sitting stint on City Hall to help raise funds for the then Dunkirk Boys & Girls Club.
“Countless hours he sat on top. … These are the kinds of things Bob Patterson has done throughout his lifetime and he’s never asked for anything. He’s never asked for anything from anyone,” Jagoda said. “He’s probably really humbled by this. It’s a great tribute to him.”