Ferne Elizabeth Kitson Patterson, 87, music teacher and author died Friday, May 27, of heart failure at her home in Interlaken, New York. Born in Vernon, NY, May 5, 1918, to Grace Nieman Kitson and Charles William Kitson, she graduated from Vernon Central School in 1935, and matriculated at Syracuse University’s Crouse College School of Music where she studied piano, violin, instrumental, and voice. Mrs. Patterson earned money while in college by singing in a professional performance choir. She graduated from Syracuse University in only three years, in 1938, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music. Mrs. Patterson moved to the Finger Lakes in 1938, when she was hired to teach music education at Interlaken Central School. For the next 60 years she shared her musical talents as a frequent vocalist and piano and organ soloist/accompanist in church, as musician for the Order of the Eastern Star and for other performances in the area. After “retiring” from teaching, she was employed by Hanford’s Hardware and the U.S. Postal Service.
Mrs. Patterson researched and published two books: Route of the Roots, her first book on family history, and Pioneers of Vernon, New York and the Root Family, which describes the early settlement and life in Oneida County and the village of Vernon, and contains genealogy of some of the early settlers including her forebears. Both have been purchased by genealogical libraries and people researching family history.
Other community and civic activities included the Interlaken Reformed Church (member for over 60 years), Order of the Eastern Stars (OES) (member for over 65 years), Daughters of the American Revolution, Garden Club, and the Interlaken Historical Society. Her contributions to the church included singing in the choir, women’s ministries, and serving as president and recording secretary of the Reformed Church Women. She served as matron of the Interlaken Chapter of the OES, historian for the South Seneca chapter of OES and District Deputy of the Ontario, Seneca-Yates District OES. She made life-long friends in her official visitations as District Deputy.
During the East-West Cold War, Ferne traveled to Russia and Yugoslavia with her husband and a group of educators, at the invitation of the U.S.S.R. to study education in the Communist Bloc. She also toured Ireland, the Scandinavian countries, Greece, and Italy, as well as almost all of the fifty states, including Hawaii and Alaska. In addition to travel, Mrs. Patterson’s hobbies were refinishing furniture, making braided rugs, baking, reading, gardening, and studying birds. In her later years, one of her biggest pleasures was caring for her black cocker spaniel “King” who lived up to his name.
Mrs. Patterson was married for 64 years to Maurice Lee (Pat) Patterson who died earlier this year. She is survived by two daughters Muriel Patterson Huttenbach of Atlanta, Georgia and Janet Patterson Vavasour of Scotia, New York, and a son, Reed Kitson Patterson, of Addison, New York. She is also survived by grandchildren: William (Pat) Huttenbach, Eric Huttenbach, M.D., Marisa Lee Huttenbach, Laura Lee Huttenbach of Houston, TX, Carrollton, GA, and Atlanta, GA, respectively, Daniel Vavasour and Kerry Vavasour Beck of Austin, TX, and Fredericksburg, VA respectively, and Cristiane French of Penfield, NY. Great-grandchildren include Steven Huttenbach, Cole and Page Vavasour, and Connor, Chase, and Carly French. A nephew, Howard Eugene Butler, and several grand-nieces and grand-nephews also survive Mrs. Patterson. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a sister Alta Kitson Butler, and a brother Howard Kitson.
Services will be held at the Interlaken Reformed Church, 8315 Main Street, Interlaken on Tuesday, May 31st at 9 a.m. Burial will be in Lakeview Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the Ness-Sibley Funeral Home, 23 South Street, Trumansburg, Monday, May 30th, from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to: the Interlaken Reformed Church, P.O. Box 335, Interlaken, NY 14847, the Interlaken Fire Department, Main Street, Interlaken, NY 14847 or the South Seneca chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, P.O. Box 35, Interlaken, NY 14847.
For additional information please contact the funeral home at 1-888-534-5446.
Page Submitted By: Joseph L. Sibley, Director