A native of Newburyport, Mass., Richard Patterson moved to Berlin in 1934. On September of 1935 Berlin High School opened its doors for the first time as a high school. Richard Patterson was a member of the incoming freshman class, graduating in 1939. During his high school career Patterson was a three sport athlete. He was captain of the football team his senior year. That year the football team had their best season in the short history of Berlin High School, losing only two games during that season. He also captained the baseball and basketball teams. Patterson was also active in the student council serving as its vice president.
Upon graduation Patterson worked for a year at the New Britain welding company and on October 15, 1940 he enlisted in the Navy. While in the service he continued to practice the welding trade and was classified as a ship fitter third class petty officer. He was serving on the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941, and was among the first sailors killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and was entombed on the Arizona as a result of the attack and the ships sinking. To honor his memory and dedication to his country, an annual award is given in his name to honor a deserving Berlin High School athlete with the Richard Patterson Award. This award continues to this day to honor Richard Patterson.
Patterson is one of three veterans that the American Legion Post #68 in Berlin is named after.