Amherst Magazine
Lee S. Pattison '43

 

Lee “Pat” Pattison died unexpectedly on December 4, 2007. Intellectually alive and young at heart until the very end, Lee was eighty-seven years old—sixty-one of those years spent with his beloved wife, Louise.

Lee prepared for Amherst at Newton Centre High School and the Rivers Country Day School.  An English history major and member of the squash team, Lee helped finance his education by selling sandwiches to his fellow students studying late. An advocate for civil rights, he and other students led a boycott of a local barber who refused to cut the hair of African-Americans. While at Amherst, Lee developed a close relationship with Professor Alfred Havighurst which lasted until the professor’s death. Lee remembered vividly Dr. Havighurst quivering with grief and rage at the news of the German bombing of the houses of Parliament. Following graduation, Lee briefly taught history at Amherst as an instructor. He completed a masters in history at Harvard.

For the next forty-two years, Lee taught history at the Cincinnati Country Day School in Ohio. Teaching primarily by the Socratic method and relying on primary source documents, Lee challenged students to think for themselves and to respect the valid differences of perspective. His junior year term paper prepared several generations of students for college level research. His love of young people, innovative approach to education, and passion for learning earned him national recognition.

In addition to his teaching, Lee spent every summer working at Camp Wampanoag on Cape Cod, eventually becoming director, until the camp closed in 1969.

Upon retiring in 1989, Lee and Louise settled in Orleans, MA. They traveled widely and enjoyed the change of seasons and visits from family and friends. He particularly enjoyed his friendship with William Babcock ’43.

A loyal Amherst alumnus, Lee maintained an avid and proprietary interest in the College. In recent years, he was thrilled with President Marx’s commitment to training teachers for public education.

—Stewart Pattison

 

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