Michigan officials pay tribute to the late L. Brooks Patterson

The Detroit News

Officials from throughout Michigan are paying tribute to the late L. Brooks Patterson, the longtime Oakland County leader.

Patterson, who served four terms as Oakland County prosecutor and seven terms as Oakland County executive, died at home Saturday morning. He was  80.

In tweets and in statements, officials spoke of Patterson's dedication to the county, his intelligence, and his sense of humor, and said while they may not have always agreed with Patterson, they respected him.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer:

“My family and Brooks Patterson went back a long time. He was one of a kind. A force of nature. I always appreciated his razor-sharp wit and admired his lifetime of service to the people of Oakland County.”

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard:

“Today, is the end of an era in Oakland County. Brooks Patterson was a steadfast leader, who safeguarded Oakland County’s fiscal stability in good times and in bad. ... I knew him as Oakland County Prosecutor while I was a patrol officer and as the executive while I have been the Sheriff. In both roles, I was appreciative of his dedication to public safety and investing in law enforcement advancements for our communities. His ability to make wise financial and policy decisions for the residents of Oakland County will have a lasting impact on all of us for years to come.”

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Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel:

"When I decided I wanted to run for county executive, I went to him to ask him what a county executive would even do and he was receptive to that. ... through his encouragement and our conversation, it had a lot to do with me deciding to run for county executive in Macomb County.

"He and I connected extremely early on and I think as many people realized, we had a really fantastic relationship. And it went beyond the politics and the business of (being county executive)."

Beaumont Health CEO John Fox:

“L. Brooks Patterson had a profound influence on Beaumont Health and our patients throughout his impressive and meaningful career. His support over the years helped us bring advanced medical services to our community, such as proton therapy. He advocated for our mental health hospital. And, his passionate leadership helped launch the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, which will shape the future of medicine for generations to come”

Macomb Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller:

"Nobody ever fought harder for what he believed in than my dear friend L. Brooks Patterson. At his core, he believed that government was about serving the people of the community and he spent a lifetime in public service living up to that ideal. For decades, he set the gold standard for government leadership. Rest in Peace, Brooks, we are going to miss you."

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey:

“Brooks Patterson was larger than life. He did not mince words nor suffer fools.

"Brooks had a vision for Oakland County that made it one of the most prosperous places in the country. ...  Michigan has lost a leader and a visionary, but his legacy will live on.  Those of us who had the opportunity to know Brooks are better off for the experience.”

Michigan Republican Party Chairman Laura Cox:

“In an era when elected officials far too often take the easy way out, Brooks stood firm to his principles and never shied away from a fight. His courage of conviction, wisdom, and sense of humor made even political foes friends, and helped Oakland County to become one of our nation’s best places to live.”

Former Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano:

"There is no doubt that Brooks was a fierce fighter, promoter and protector of Oakland County and its citizens. I have many memories of us going on international trade missions and working on large projects for the region as a whole.  We may have disagreed politically, but I will always remember his sense of humor and his loyal friendship."

Former Lt. Gov. Brian Calley:

"SE Michigan politics — indeed Michigan politics — will never be the same. Oakland County is one of the strongest, most successful, most influential counties in America. Brooks was the leader made that possible."

Stephan W. Currie, executive director of Michigan Association of Counties:

“L. Brooks Patterson was a passionate and innovative leader in county government and will be greatly missed by all in county service. Oakland County is a national leader in county programming and governance, regularly receiving accolades from the National Association of Counties and other organizations. Patterson and his team at Oakland always have been ready to share their expertise and advice with colleagues across Michigan and with us at MAC. ”

Patrick Anderson, CEO of Anderson Economic Group:

“Brooks and I did two petition drives together: a 1992 property tax reform measure that was a forerunner to Proposal A, and the 2006 initiated law that successfully repealed the Single Business Tax.

“He called me one day in the early 2000s and asked us to start counting the tech workers and companies here, because he was incensed that we kept losing out to Silicon Valley. That report led to the creation of Automation Alley. For all that bluster and brickbats, Brooks was repeatedly ahead of his peers.

“In 2010, as the "lost decade" was near its nadir, Oakland County was a bright spot--earning a AAA bond rating when the State could start its fiscal year on time." 

Rich Studley, CEO of Michigan Chamber of Commerce: 

"Rest In Peace Brooks. You will be missed by friends at the Michigan Chamber and across the state. Thank you for your energy, drive & commitment to always move Oakland County and our state forward."

Philip A. Incarnati, president and CEO of McLaren Health Care:

“I was fortunate to be one of the many who counted Brooks Patterson as both a personal friend and a trusted business ally.

“While his physical presence has been lost, his great legacy of stewardship to the communities he served has left an indelible mark that will stand the test of time.”

Sen. Gary Peters:

"I always appreciated L. Brooks Patterson’s commitment to Oakland County and passion for public service."

Daniel J. Loepp, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan :

L. Brooks Patterson stood tall as an iconic leader in Michigan government and politics. He devoted his full energy and focus to ensuring that Oakland County became and continues today as one of the best places to live, work and play in Michigan and our nation.

“He was always both artful and unapologetic in pursuit of this goal and proud to take a stand for the well-being of the communities he represented.”

Sandy K. Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber:

"I was deeply saddened to learn that L. Brooks Patterson has passed. Brooks was an American original, always unabashedly himself. While at times controversial, he devoted his life to public service and amassed a record of success in county government that is unmatched. While Brooks and I frequently disagreed, we always maintained a strong friendship. We shared a lot of laughs together and he will be missed."

Greg McNeilly, president of Michigan Freedom Fund: 

"MI taxpayers & freedom lovers have lost a real champion today with the passage of Oakland Co. Executive L. Brooks Patterson. The passion & fight he brought to issues signaled the clarity in which he saw ways to improve our community. RIP Brooks!"

Sam Riddle, an activist and radio host:

"I always enjoyed being on the battlefield of ideas with you - R.I.P.  #LBrooksPatterson R.I.P."

Viewing and funeral arrangements:

A public viewing will be held Aug. 6 from 1-7 p.m. at the Conference Center of the L. Brooks Patterson Building at 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. Visitors may park in the lot at the Patterson Building. Overflow parking at the Oakland County Circuit Court parking lot with shuttle buses running to and from the Patterson Building is also available.

Visitations periods and the funeral will also be open to the public, both to be held at Woodside Bible Church on 6600 Rochester Road in Troy. Viewings will be held from 3-8 p.m. on Aug. 14 and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Aug. 15. The funeral will begin after the second day of visitation at 1:30 p.m. 

While the funeral is open to the public, a burial with full military honors will be private.