Joel Patterson, 86, led African American Heritage Society in Long Beach – Press Telegram

Joel Jerome Patterson, former president of the African American Heritage Society, which promotes and documents the history, culture and achievements of the Long Beach black community, has died.

Patterson, 86, died of natural causes last week. He had been dealing with a kidney illness for a couple of years, according to his son, Darryl Patterson.

The elder Patterson, who spent 35 years as a technical illustrator for McDonnell Douglas before its merger with Boeing, succeeded the legendary Indira Hale Tucker as the society’s president when Tucker died in 2012.

Tucker and Doris Topsy-Elvord, a former member of the Long Beach City Council and Harbor Commission, founded the Heritage Society in 1997 as a financial support group for the African American Resource Center at the Burnett Neighborhood…

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