Celebrated cartoonist and dad

South Western Times
Richard Patterson with one of his recent caricatures.
Camera IconRichard Patterson with one of his recent caricatures. Credit: Zoe Keenan

Bunbury lost a man who, among many things, brought colour to the pages of the South Western Times each week, with the death of Richard Patterson last month, aged 79.

Richard was born in Nedlands in 1940 to Irish parents.

He grew up in Cottesloe with his two sisters, Anne and Elizabeth and attended Cottesloe State School until the age of eight when he went went back to Ireland with his family where he was schooled for a year.

As a young man later attending Christ Church Grammar School he favoured subjects like sport and art.

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After leaving school he worked at Imperial Print and started an apprenticeship in graphic art, but this did not last long as London and the art world was calling.

Richard always had a sense of adventure.

After spending years working in London and hitchhiking the continent he decided to return to WA in 1962.

Upon his return he joined in the activities of the Anglican Youth Fellowship at St Luke’s Church in Mosman Park where he met his future wife, Judy, who he became friends and pen pals with for five years.

In 1963 adventure called again, this time to Rabaul, New Guinea, to undertake a six-month training course and to teach in the territory’s schools.

Richard and Judy continued to correspond via letters and meet up when he returned home each year for Christmas.

In 1968 he talked Judy into getting married and going back to New Guinea with him and they made their first home in Wewak.

Three years later, with baby Susan in their arms, the pair returned to WA and moved to Bunbury where Richard took up a position as arts and crafts instructor at the newly opened Bunbury Rehabilitation Centre (Bunbury Regional Prison).

He worked there for 33 years as a senior officer and during this time was awarded a Commendation from the Minister for Justice for his “professionalism, dedication and service as a peer support officer”.

The couple went on to have two more girls and as the children grew up the Patterson family enjoyed many happy times camping with friends and their families travelling around Australia.

Richard watched his fair share of ballet concerts and netball games and would patiently stand out on the footpath while his girls shopped and played taxi at all hours.

He was extremely proud of his daughters and their families.

Since retiring in 2005, Richard and his wife have enjoyed tag-alongs and weekends away in their little van with the SouWest Getaway Club and several wonderful overseas trips together.

Richard has produced a cartoon each week for the South Western Times for the past 20 years and has done many, many cartoons and caricatures, throughout his life, for significant occasions and other commissions.

Richard was also a life member of the Bunbury Musical Comedy Group and the New Lyric Theatre was his second home.

He spent many happy hours there building sets and painting backdrops and props and looked forward each week to their “Tuesday Gatherings”.

“Richard was the most kind and gentle man,” Judy said.

“He had a life well lived and I am so fortunate to have been a part of it.

“I will miss him.”

Nicolette Barbas

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