Douglas Patterson, 76, of Napa, CA, passed quickly on the night of June 24, after a brief battle with a recurring cancer. Even in illness, his spirit of humor, courage and enthusiasm for all things was displayed by the man known in the Air Force during his distinguished 23-year career there as “The Kid”. In the Vietnam War, he flew over 350 combat sorties and was awarded the Bronze Star. His Pentagon tours included high level positions, and groundbreaking work incorporating women into the Air Force.
Doug’s passions over the years included: his collections of agates, arrowheads, coins, wine labels, Indian baskets; vintage cars; history; wine . . . He graduated in 1965 with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of California Berkeley, and later received an MBA from S. Illinois University.
He loved the adventure of travel, having visited the Silk Road in Afghanistan, Machu Picchu in Peru, the plains of Africa and the beaches of Cyprus, and recently finally made the voyage to Easter Island, a lifelong dream.
A descendant of pioneer Napa Valley settlers Anton & Caterina Nichelini, Doug recently served as the V.P. of the Nichelini Family Winery. He was also President and Historian of the A. Nichelini Family. During his tenure, the historic Napa Valley winery entered a successful new era of award-winning production and industry recognition. He was an active member of the Napa Valley Vintners, and a proud cellar master of the International Wine and Food Society.
Between the Air Force and his work for the winery, Doug held executive positions at software, healthcare and scientific research startups, and was a Senior V.P. for NASDAQ in New York City. The President of the company once said Doug Patterson was the most trustworthy man he had ever worked with. Truly, all who knew Doug recognized his integrity, sense of honor and selflessness in all things.
Doug recently celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary with his wife and childhood sweetheart Kay Patterson; he is also survived by his daughters Rebecca Patterson and Brenda Patterson, his grandson David I. Patterson Babic, his sister Diane Patterson, and countless Nichelini cousins.
The immediate family will hold a small private ceremony and will announce a larger public memorial celebration in the Fall; donations in Douglas A. Patterson’s name should be made to the Napa County Historical Society (http://napahistory.org), or the Nichelini Family Remembrance Fund (c/o Leona Marini, Nichelini Family Remembrance Fund Chair, 1344 Skyview Drive, Burlingame, CA 94010).