Una “Lee” Patton died Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, at Bickford Senior Living, St. Charles.
She was born Aug. 17, 1937, to Wayne and Clella Manuel in Effingham.
She graduated from Effingham High School and magna cum laude with a degree in psychology from MacMurray College, Jacksonville.
She devoted her life to loving and supporting her family, advocating for those in need and enhancing and enriching the field of education. Her vocational life began in the fields of social work and special education in Woodstock.
In 1971, she began working for the Illinois State Board of Education in Springfield, cultivating high-quality education for all students in Illinois. She held many positions including assistant director, educational specialist, administrative assistant, assistant executive deputy, assistant to the State Board of Education, deputy superintendent for policy and board relations, director of policy, chief deputy director of policy, and interim director of teaching and leadership. In 1996, she was recognized by the SBE for her care, nurturing, inspiration and extraordinary writing skills. After retiring in 2004, she volunteered at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library and was an oral historian for Lincoln Land Community College. She was an active member of the American Association of University Women.
Retirement allowed her to spend more time outdoors, developing a love for gardening. She beautified the grounds of her neighborhood, Country Place in Springfield. Country Place dedicated a small garden in her honor for coordinating the beautification effort.
She conducted oral histories for the African American Museum and contributed to case studies for court cases concerning the welfare of children. She was an avid shopper, reader and antique/art collector. She enjoyed helping at Patty Doyle Auctions, particularly those offering antique jewelry. She loved cookbooks, and excelled in making reservations.
She was the former wife of James Patton.
She is survived by her son Stephen, Chicago.
She was preceded in death by her parents and a son, Todd.
A graveside service will be held Friday, Nov. 21, at Oakland Cemetery, Woodstock, followed by a celebration of her life at La Petite Creperie. A second celebration of life service will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015, in Springfield at Panther Creek Golf Club. Memorials can be made to be MacMurray College, Jacksonville.