Grady L. Patterson, Jr. was born January 13, 1924, in Calhoun Falls, S.C., to parents Grady L. Patterson, Sr. and Claudia McClain Patterson. During World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, earned his pilot’s wings and served in the Pacific Theater of Operations, flying combat missions from Iwo Jima to Japan in a P-51 Mustang fighter.
He received a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of South Carolina in 1950. He held honorary Doctor of Law degrees from USC, Clemson University and The Citadel. He was awarded Doctor of Humanities degrees from the College of Charleston and Lander University.
In 1947, he joined the S.C. Air National Guard as a reserve fighter pilot and rose to the rank of Major General. The S.C. Legislature later promoted him to Lieutenant General. He received the Distinguished Service Medal of the U.S. He served as president of the National Guard Association of S.C. and the S.C. Chapter of the Air Force Association and as treasurer of the National Guard Association of the U.S.
In 1966, Patterson took office as the state treasurer and served in this capacity for 36 years. Some of Patterson’s significant financial reforms included the establishment of a reserve fund to cover budget shortfalls, an annual debt limit, a constitutional amendment to balance the state’s budget, the 1999 School Bond Bill and the Future Scholar college savings program. He was a national expert in the field of tax-free municipal bonds, testifying before Congress and arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Patterson served as president of the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers (NASACT), as chair of the NASACT’s Tax Exempt Bond Committee and on the executive board of the Government Finance Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada. In 1999, he was presented with the NASACT President’s Award. Patterson was awarded the S.C. Association of Counties Distinguished Award in 2000.
Patterson was a member of the S.C. Bar, Richland County Bar Association, America Legion Post No. 6 in Columbia and the Hejaz Shrine Temple of Columbia. He was a member of Shandon Presbyterian Church, where he served as a deacon, an elder and a trustee. He served in leadership roles in various charitable organizations.
Grady L. Patterson, Jr. died on December 7, 2009. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Marjorie F. Patterson; six children, Grady L. Patterson III (daughter-in-law, Sarah Patterson), Steven G. Patterson (daughter-in-law, Katherine Patterson), Lynne P. Trowbridge (son-in-law, Thomas Trowbridge), Laura P. Timmons (son-in-law, John Timmons), Amy P. Shumpert (son-in-law, Gerald Shumpert) and Beth P. Dryden (son-in-law, William Dryden); and 12 grandchildren.