Navajo Nation Mourns Passing of Code Talker David Patterson

Navajo Code Talker David Patterson

Published October 9, 2017

WINDOW ROCK – President Russell Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez mourn the loss of Navajo Code Talker David Patterson, Sr. who passed away on Sunday, Oct. 8 from pneumonia and complications from subdural hematoma.

“It’s a sad day on the Navajo Nation when we lose a national treasure like we did in losing Navajo Nation Code Talker David Patterson, Sr.,” President Begaye said. “Beyond his service in protecting our freedom, he was a beloved husband, father and grandfather. The Office of the President and Vice President extends our condolences to his family during this time of mourning.”

Patterson was 94 years old when he passed away in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

In July 2013, Patterson represented Indian country at Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game in New York.

See Mr. Patterson represent the Navajo Code Talkers at 2014 Major League Baseball All Star in New York:


He was Táchii’nii born for Kinłichii’nii. His maternal grandfathers were Bit’ahnii and his paternal grandfathers were Naakaii Dine’é.

Patterson served in the Marine Corps from 1943 to 1945, when he was honorably discharged. Patterson was the recipient of the Silver Congressional Medal of Honor.

Although Patterson didn’t talk much about his service, his son, Pat Patterson, said his father was proud of being a Navajo Code Talker.

“He attended as many Code Talker events as he could,” he said. “It was only when his health started to decline that he didn’t attend as many.”

Patterson is preceded in death by his wife Marion Patterson and his daughter Karen Joe. He is survived by his children David Patterson, Jr., Marcus Patterson, Sandy Johnson, Michael Patterson, Pat Patterson, and Calvert Lee (adopted).

As an elder, Patterson had a wealth of experience and wisdom said Vice President Jonathan Nez.

“The Navajo Nation salutes the service of our great warrior, Code Talker David Patterson, Sr., for his courage in protecting our lands,” said Vice President Nez. “Whenever the Nation loses an elder, we lose a perspective of history that provides insight into our own lives. Our elders hold great wisdom and traditional perspectives. We need to continue to embrace intergenerational teaching and connections.”

Funeral services will take place at Christ The King Catholic Church in Shiprock, N.M., with date yet to be determined. Desert View Funeral Home is handling funeral arrangements. Patterson will be buried on the Military side of the Shiprock Cemetery.

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