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Karl Pattison, 80, was engineering professor at UA



Karl Modjeska Pattison left an impression on folks, partly because of his imposing 6-foot-4-inch frame and partly because of his brilliance in mechanics and engineering.

But more than anything, he was a kind and generous person who worked for 20 years at the University of Arizona as a mechanical engineering professor, said his son, Ralph Pattison.

Mr. Pattison, 80, died Feb. 12.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at the auditorium of the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Building, at the northeast corner of North Mountain Avenue and East Speedway Boulevard on the UA campus.

Mr. Pattison retired in 1990 after suffering a serious head injury in his workshop. Although he remained active, he never returned to the job he loved. His family believes his death was a complication of the injury.

Mr. Pattison’s work at UA included service as an acting department head. Before joining UA, he worked 25 years for Hughes Aircraft Co.

Although born in California, Karl Pattison called Tucson home, the son said. He attended the now-closed University Heights Elementary, Mansfeld Middle School and Tucson High, from which he graduated in 1939.

“Then he kicked around for a while, took some classes at the university and worked at several jobs,” Ralph Pattison said. During World War II, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps so he could become a pilot. He commanded a B-29, flying 37 missions over Japan.

At 25, he married Frances Hamilton and four years later completed his mechanical engineering degree at UA.

He had many interests, but among the things he enjoyed most were hiking, woodworking and sailing, the son said. In 1973, he was named Tucson’s Sailor of the Year by the Tucson Sailing Club.

Mr. Pattison was born in Los Angeles on June 26, 1921, to Marylka and Sidney Pattison, Tucson residents who were visiting Los Angeles.

Marylka Pattison was a well-known artist and piano teacher in Tucson, said Ralph Pattison. “People all over town have her paintings. She did a lot of oil painting and etching.”

Sidney Pattison came to Tucson in 1918 to become chairman of the UA English department, a position he held until his death in 1944.

Besides his son Ralph, Mr. Pattison is survived by two other sons, David Pattison of Reston, Va., and John Pattison of Tucson; three daughters, Miriam Pattison, Marylka Pattison and Ann Pattison, all of Tucson; a sister, Halka Chronic of Sedona; and five grandchildren, all of Tucson.

Remembrances may be made to the Pattison Senior Design Project at UA.

The project allows senior students in the College of Engineering to invent, design and build a unique mechanism that uses several principles of mechanical engineering.

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