Of all of the things Patricia Barton did well, which included throwing fabulous parties, she excelled in the role of the doting grandmother. As her 15 grandchildren came into the world, she welcomed each with equal parts love and enthusiasm, her family said.
“Hostess, friend, chef, cook, all of those words describe my mother,” said her son Lee Barton, of Huntsville. “But the word that came to describe her best is grandma.”
Among the granddaughters, the tea parties their grandmother threw are legendary, her son said. Mrs. Barton let the girls get all dressed up in her clothes, jewelry and hats for the parties.
“Some of the granddaughters were wondering were the box of costume jewelry is because there are specific pieces that hold special memories for all of them,” he said.
Patricia Hollis Barton, of Atlanta, died Jan. 7 from complications of bone cancer. She was 73. The funeral was held Thursday at Roswell Funeral Home, which was also in charge of arrangements. Mrs. Barton was buried at Myrtle Hill Cemetery in Hogansville.
Born in LaGrange, Mrs. Barton was married to Jerry Barton for 53 years, before he died in January 2011. Mr. Barton worked for Genuine Parts in Atlanta and Mrs. Barton played the role of “the first lady of a big businessman,” said her son Bill Barton, of Atlanta.
“That’s when she really learned to entertain,” he said. “She was known for the parties she threw.”
The couple primarily raised their four sons in Atlanta, but they also lived in New Orleans, Freemont, Calif., and Louisville, Ky. It was while they were in Kentucky Mrs. Barton was bitten by the derby party bug. When they moved back to Atlanta, she brought derby parties with her.
“The hats, the food, the banners, she had it all,” Lee Barton said. “One year there was even a thoroughbred horse and a jockey in the back yard, and guests could get their picture made with the horse and jockey.”
Mrs. Barton’s parties were so well known that the year she didn’t have one, “a few people showed up at the house by accident,” Mr. Barton said, with a laugh.
The ease with which she could put together a large party always amazed her daughter-in-law.
“Most people are sweating bullets trying to get ready, wondering if the people will like the food, wondering if the house looks just right, but not her,” said Sally Barton, Lee’s wife. “She could do it like it was nothing, and she taught me how to be confident when throwing parties and how to be comfortable inviting large numbers of people into my home.”
Mrs. Barton is survived by two additional sons, Hollis Barton of Atlanta, Stuart Barton of Atlanta; 15 grandchildren and one great-grandson.