Vail Daily obituary: Del Patterson, 1932-2012 |

Vail Daily obituary: Del Patterson, 1932-2012

Special to the Daily
Vail, CO Colorado

Delphine Millicent “Del” Patterson was born May 13, 1932, to Peter and Gertrude Kick Ehlers on a farm in Scotts, Mich. She passed away July 23 peacefully after a valiant fight against breast cancer at her home in La Quinta, Calif., with her niece and family by her side.

It was skiing that brought Del to Vail in the early 1990s. Then, falling in love with summers here, she joined a league at the Eagle-Vail Golf Course, made new friends and left standing orders not to bother her on Tuesdays!

Although Del was a woman of many talents and passions, what her friends in Vail remember most was whatever she did, she carried it off with zest and focus. She was a sharp lady with the numbers, took advantage of a real estate opportunity when she saw one, followed the local market and made daily trades in the stock market managing her own portfolio.

Then she would set business aside, meet up with a friend and take a trip to California, to Germany to visit family, take an African safari, cruise to Costa Rica or spend some time in Mexico. Back home in Vail she was a regular at the symphony and opera programs at Bravo.

Her friends would say Del lived life on her own terms and didn’t miss much!

Prior to her first bout with breast cancer, Del began to learn about and practice holistic medicine. She had a box full of natural vitamins, herbs, supplements and remedies. When the diagnosis came, she studied, consulted with qualified practitioners across the USA and set out on a self-directed cure. It worked. She became so expert in that discipline of health that her friends began calling her “Dr. Del” and asking her advice. We all celebrated when, after a length of time, she was declared cancer free. Del enjoyed six years of a happy life following that pronouncement. But then cancer returned; this time she couldn’t defeat it.

Del attended country school in Michigan, where she graduated from Michigan State University with an interior design/home economics degree. In 1975, she received her MBA from Pepperdine University and moved to southern California. She worked as a home economist for the California Gas Co, Van de Kamp’s, Olson Egg Company and Hunt Wesson, eventually opening a culinary school in the mid 70s.

She is survived by family in Michigan and Germany. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Junior Achievement to empower young people to own their economic success:

Written by her friends.

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