Ruth Mann Patterson, Ed. D, Professor Emeritus at the Medical University of South Carolina,
To send flowers in memory of Ruth Mann Patterson, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
passed away in Concord, NC on November 14, 2019, surrounded by her family.
She was an esteemed professor, mentor, colleague, and friend of many in Charleston, SC; Raleigh, NC; and
Wingate, NC. Ruth was born in Concord, NC in 1935 to the late John and Geneva Mann. She
is survived by her sister, Mary Etta Brown of Hampton, VA (Chester) as well as her brother John
Mann of Richmond, VA (Cynthia). She was preceded in death by her brother, Robert Mann of
Boone, NC and her sister-in-law June, still lives in Boone.
Earlier in her life, Ruth was married to Frank Patterson and their three children were a blessing to that marriage. Carol Gilbert and husband, Michael Chitwood; Cindy Konney and husband, Greg; and Earl Patterson and wife, Susan are her 3 children, all residing in Concord near their mom. She also has 4 grandchildren,
Meredith Gilbert Wells (Ben), Elizabeth Gilbert, Kathryn Gilbert, and Jordan Patterson; as well
as two great-grandchildren, William and Molly Wells. Ruth’s greatest joys and blessings were
her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren; always ensuring that holidays and special
times were spent together. Her family was her most important accomplishment in life and she
was a true matriarch. She loved her family and also her teaching career and she gave both all
that she had; no sacrifice for either was ever too great. Her strength, compassion, and energy
were evident in every aspect of her life. Ruth was a truly talented teacher, a mentor and role
model for students and academic faculty and in the classroom where her desire for lifelong
learning was always evident. Ruth’s greatest gift to others was her gift of love and selflessness
to those in need.
Dr. Ruth was NC’s first Certified Medical Assistant. She subsequently passed the
Administrative and Clinical specialities that were offered at that time to become a CMA-AC
(Certified Medical Assistant Admin and Clinical) and thus joined an elite group. She designed
and taught Board Exam Prep courses and traveled across the state to present them through
Community College Systems and was President of the NC Medical Assistants in 1976 which is
also the year she received the NC Medical Assistant of the Year Award. Her presentations,
teachings, and even her retirement at 80 years of age, were influenced by the book Jonathan
Livingston Seagull and its message that nothing remains impossible in this world if one trusts
one’s abilities and potentials and works tirelessly to achieve one’s goals. Ruth shared the same
ambition as Jonathan in life - to do something worthwhile and unforgettable and then to teach
others how they could do that for themselves with help from a Higher Power. Ruth’s journey
had many parallels to Jonathan’s journey, always trying to seek and attain higher goals for
herself. Her continued drive in all aspects of her life were based on her Christian faith and the
Jonathan Seagull who lives within all of us.
After being a nurse/medical assistant in Concord for many years, she went back to college in
1980 to become a teacher and share her knowledge with others. She worked tirelessly to
obtain her BS degree from Wingate College, then her Masters from UAB, and finally her
Doctorate of Education from North Carolina State University, with Health Occupations and
Adult Education being her majors. While obtaining her various degrees, she continued to create
and design programs in three colleges; while winning state and national awards at each college
and Medical Assistant Program for which she was associated. She also developed continuing
education workshops and presentations on Bio-ethics and Research Ethics and she designed
the Research Ethics Course which was added to the Medical University of SC’s Masters in
Health Professionals Education Programs. While at MUSC, Dr. Ruth taught at the College of
Graduate Studies as well as the College of Health Professionals. She was a member/officer of
the Robert Wilson Medical History Club and she taught patient education and evaluation
techniques to MUSC hospital nursing staff. Her desire for lifelong learning and teaching was
evident until the end as she continued her presentations to medical professionals about ethics
and professionalism in the work place. Last Saturday, she was scheduled to present to a local
chapter of Medical Assistants who were pursuing renewal credits for their certification and she
had been assisting the Charlotte Chapter of Medical Assistants in reopening their local chapter.
In April of 2019, Dr. Ruth earned her final award from the North Carolina Society of Medical
Assistants (NCSMA). She was NC’s first Certified Medical Assistant and a chapter member of
their society. She was a leader, mentor, inspiration, role model, and keeper of their history; a
true visionary who saw the value of being a medical assistant, and the professional
organization associated with it. Dr. Ruth was knowledgeable, approachable, eloquent and
intelligent and her Life Membership Award that she received in April, reinforced her view by
others as being the epitome of a professional medical assistant. The awards she has earned
are numerous, including the MUSC teaching awards that are offered annually, as well as
awards for excellence in service, research and mentoring. Her greatest honor was being named
a Professor Emeritus at the Medical University. She also published many articles, book
chapters and presentations often centered around medical ethics and health occupations. This
academic professional, mom, grandmother, great grandmother, and friend to many, Ruth
always showed incredible courage, grace and undeniable energy right up to her final moments
at 84 years of age. She passionately taught others, that no goal in life remains impossible if you
trust in your abilities and work tirelessly to achieve these goals.
Ruth was an avid supporter of the arts in Charleston. She was a regular patrol of the Gibbes Art
Museum, a docent for the Charleston Preservation Society, and she supported religious,
cultural and artistic events in the city. She could often be seen at the Charleston Symphony
Orchestra and Charleston Concert Association.
The funeral service for Ruth will take place on Monday, November 25 at 2:00 at Central United
Methodist Church in Concord, NC. A private burial service will take place prior to the church
service. The family wishes to invite guests to a reception immediately following the service in
the fellowship hall of the church.
In lieu of flowers, please send memorial gifts to The MUSC Foundation for the Maralynne D Mitcham Lectureship (CHP) Fund, 18 Bee Street, MSC 450, Charleston SC, 29424 or to the Joan Michaels Memorial NCSMA Scholarship. Checks can be made payable to NCSMA, 209 East Devon Drive, Mount Airy, NC 27030