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John R. Patterson, owned Make Waves auto parts company

July 21, 1927 – Feb. 28, 2016

John Richard Patterson, of Clarence, owner and chief executive officer of an auto parts distributing company, died Sunday in Beechwood Continuing Care, Getzville. He was 88.

Born in Buffalo, he was a talented young bass player and drummer. He played with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra as a teenager and performed with bands in local nightclubs. After graduating from Amherst High School, he served in the Marine Corps stateside during World War II, playing in the dance band and marching band on his base.

Returning from service, Mr. Patterson attended the University of Buffalo on the G.I. Bill of Rights, then went into sales. He was a leading salesman for Vita Craft cookware, then became a representative for Radatron, which marketed the first commercial radar detector in the early 1960s. He also worked with a group that developed a robotic lawn mower.

In 1971, he established his own auto parts company, Make Waves Instrument Corp., which sold an extensive line of after-market items, such as tachometers and chrome accessories, for production and racing cars. He traveled extensively in the United States and overseas for his business and retired two years ago. His family continues to operate the company.

He was a past president of the Buffalo Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives and held numerous positions on the vestry at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Clarence.

He and his wife were active in Brookfield Country Club. He enjoyed dancing and often sat in to perform with bands at weddings and social events.

His wife of 55 years, the former June Pellien, died in 2006.

Survivors include three daughters, Jill Cory, Kim Fassel and Pam Hinds; nine grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

A memorial service in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 4275 Harris Hill Road, Clarence, will be arranged.

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