Mary L. Patterson (’53)

Today, Houston lost a gemstone and heaven gained a precious angel. Our mother, Mary Valeria Lipscomb Patterson, passed away Thursday morning, April 30, 2020 at her home with her children by her side after 3 years of struggling with complications from a fall and broken leg. She had just turned 88 years old. She is preceded in death by her parents; Dr. Walter E. Lipscomb and Dr. Phyllis F. Osbourne Lipscomb; and her husband of 43 years, Royston H, Patterson, Jr. Royston was a native Houstonian born in a house on Westheimer near Hazard St. After his death in 1996, she enjoyed a devoted relationship with Lucien Jones. Lucien was a long-time resident of Missouri City and passed away in 2013. She is survived by her son, Royston H. Patterson, III (Pat) of Spring, TX; her daughter, Pamella K. Parker with her husband, Dr. Robert G. Parker of Conroe, Texas; her grandchildren Sean B. Parker, with wife Kayla of Elmer, Louisiana, and Cameron W. R. Parker with fiancé Lizz Kim of Los Angeles, California; her great-grandchildren, Aaron (7), Jo Ann (2) and her namesake, Mary (11 months) Parker of Elmer, Louisiana. Although her parents lived in Houston, Mary was born in Dallas, Texas and returned to Houston days after her birth. She was an only child and depended on her friends to fill in as surrogate siblings. She regarded all of her friends throughout her life as ‘family’. Mary attended the Catholic school Incarnate Word Academy and Lanier Junior High School while growing up and graduated from Lamar High School. She lived in Houston her entire life and enjoyed her summers at their home on the bay in Seabrook, Texas, ‘High Tide’. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Houston majoring in Sophomore Elementary Education and went on to become a teacher for K thru 3rd grade while her children were young. Her early ambition was to become a model and did so while at college and for several years beyond, Mary modeled and promoted department store inventory and other goods like Maryland Club coffee. She entered and won beauty pageants too numerous to count. Horseback riding and sailing were among her favorite past times, eventually meeting her husband, Royston, while he was crewing on her father’s sailboat, the “Ragamuffin”. They married on August 8, 1953 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Houston. She loved traveling and soon made a career out of guiding tours locally as well as nationwide fulfilling both her love of travel and history. She also worked as a hostess for conventions in Houston, i.e. OPEC. While at U of H, she pledged Delta Sig local fraternal organization which eventually became Zeta Tau Alpha National Sorority. Mary never knew a stranger which lent itself to her continued volunteering as Social Director. She would keep the congregation entertained with the activities she involved everyone in at the Episcopal Church of the Advent, not only for the adults but also for the youth group. Entertaining and the social life became her hallmark as she celebrated each and every occasion with a gathering of her friends and family every chance she had. Themed parties were her favorite and stopped at nothing to create the perfect atmosphere that everyone could enjoy. She welcomed friends and family from afar to stay at her home and generally gave them a party to celebrate their being there! She kept in touch with all her friends throughout her life and always managed to get birthday cards or at least a phone call to everyone for their birthday, anniversary, etc. Anyone that knew Mary, knows she either attended, or viewed on her ESPN channels, her college and hometown sports team games; the U of H Cougars, Houston Astros and the Houston Rockets, and holding season tickets for her favorite Houston Oilers and then Texans football teams. Mary was involved in many organizations that her children were part of becoming a Camp Fire Girl Leader for 10 years, working with Panhellenic in the bay area, many travel and Bed & Breakfast accommodation organizations. She ended up turning her Seabrook bay home into a Bed and Breakfast and soon to follow their newer creation, a Kemah Bed and Breakfast, “The Captain’s Quarters.” She was also very interested in her grandchildren’s sports attending as many hockey games as she could. This would not be an accurate account of Mary’s highlights and accomplishments without mentioning her involvement with bridge. From her college years to just recently, Mary played bridge any chance she got. She generally belonged to about 13 bridge clubs at a time playing two to four times a week. She enjoyed the camaraderie as much as the game itself. She longed to be around friends and family and was always ready for social interaction. Mary was such a social individual, we feel the current ‘Social Distancing & Isolation’ mandate must have played a part in her passing. Anything she set her mind to, she saw happen, while never thinking twice about delegating tasks and even employing her children and their friends to help with a party. It was her mastermind creations that got everyone involved. We have no doubt that she is already planning her first soiree’ up in heaven with all of her family and friends that passed before her. Over the years, the comment we heard most on Mary’s character and attributes was that she “Never said a bad thing about anyone.” She will be remembered for her kind and giving spirit and the love of and for her friends. There will be a visitation on Tuesday, May 19th, 1:00 – 3:00 PM at Forest Park East Funeral Home. The following day an interment ceremony, held for the immediate family only, will be at Memorial Oaks Cemetery where Mary’s parents, aunts, and uncles are also laid-to-rest. Please visit Mary’s online Memorial Tribute at where memories and words of comfort and condolences may be shared electronically with the family. As Mary would wish, there are future plans to have a ‘Celebration of Life’ for all who knew and loved Mary. Details to be announced. For a notification on these follow-up details, you may send your email address and/or phone number to . In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Red Cross at

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