ERNEST RODERICK PATTERSON
ERNIE PATTERSON was born near Roscrea, County Tipperary, Ireland, on 25th September 1936 to W.E. “Ted” Patterson and Lucy Patterson.
His family emigrated to Stavely, Alberta, Canada, in August 1948 where he attended Stavely School.
In 1949, the family moved to Claresholm, Alberta where Ernie finished high school and spent most of his working and political life.
After high school, Ernie attended the University of Alberta in Edmonton to receive his first teaching certificate and returned to Claresholm to start a teaching career. His education was completed by receiving a Bachelor of Education and a Master of Education through summer school and evening classes at the University of Lethbridge and the University of Calgary while teaching.
His career in education saw him progress through the administration steps of Assistant Principal, Principal, Deputy Superintendent of Schools and finally Superintendent of Schools for the Willow Creek School Division with the head office in Claresholm. Ernie retired in 1996.
Shortly after starting teaching, Ernie became involved in federal politics by running for the Social Credit Party in the 1962 Federal Election, Macleod Riding, and losing by 1890 votes. This was the start of nine federal and provincial election campaigns and switching from Social Credit to Liberal. In the 1993 Alberta Provincial Election Ernie lost as a Liberal by 612 votes in Pincher Creek/Macleod riding.
In 1964 he also became involved in Municipal politics by being elected Mayor of the Town of Claresholm where he served a total of 33 years as Mayor of Claresholm.
In 2003/2004 he was elected President of the Alberta Municipal Association (AUMA), which represents all cities, towns and villages in Alberta. This also meant that he served as President of the Alberta Municipal Service Corporation, which at that time was providing over one hundred million dollars of services to Alberta municipalities.
In 1990 Ernie became involved in Health Care governance by being elected Chair of the Claresholm and District Hospital Board for six year and worked to create the Claresholm and District Health Foundation and served as Chair from 1998 to 2008.
Ernie was appointed as a Commissioner with the Canada Metric Commission between 1981 and 1984 and appointed a member of the Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission for 2002/2003.
In his capacity as Chair of the Beverage Container Management Board for Alberta from 1996 to 2004, Ernie provided leadership to the start of the recycling of beverage containers for Alberta through the local bottle depot system.
Ernie believes he has been fortunate in receiving recognitions. In August 2004 he was named as one of Alberta’s “50 Most Influential Citizens” by Alberta Venture magazine and specifically identified as one of seven “political power houses” in the province.
In February 2005, he was awarded the Alberta Centennial Medal for outstanding service to the province and on September 25th, 2012, he was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for playing a pivotal role in shaping modern municipal politics in Alberta.
Ernie credits his family in playing an important role in enabling him to be involved in political life.
His first wife, Alice, the mother of his three children died in 1987. She helped greatly in influencing them in their education with Donna becoming a teacher, David a Professional Forester and Edward becoming a doctor.
Ernie notes he has been very fortunate to marry Edna Allwright in 1993. With both having been widowed, they both acknowledge how fortunate they have been to have the support of their children.
Ernie and Edna between them now have five children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.