PATTON, Matthew H.
Matthew H. Patton, a devoted husband, father, grandfather, friend, and mentor to generations of attorneys, passed away January 6, 2022, in Dallas, Texas. Matt was born July 20, 1936, in Carroll County, Georgia, the son of M. Henry and Mary Alexander Patton. He graduated from Darlington School in 1954 and from Duke University in 1958 with an A.B. in history, where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and later received Golden Legion recognition for being a member for 50 years. Matt studied at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary before graduating from Emory Law School. Matt spent his entire legal career in Atlanta, Georgia with the law firm of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, which was Kilpatrick, Cody, Rogers, McClatchey & Regenstein when he joined in 1963. From his arrival as an associate to his full retirement in 2018, the firm grew from 20 to more than 600 lawyers. Tremendously talented and widely recognized as a top courtroom advocate, Matt was the lead trial attorney on numerous high-profile matters. As described by a client, Matt was "a force of nature." Among the many clients he served were AT&T, Frito-Lay, Interface, and North American Company for Life and Health Insurance. While at Kilpatrick, he mentored and took great pride in training the next generation of lawyers. Matt held numerous professional offices, serving on the Georgia Bar Association Board of Governors for 36 years, presiding over the State Bar's Younger Lawyers Section, and heading the Georgia Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Matt had a life-long love of animals. While growing up in Georgia, he dreamed of being a rancher and raising Herefords with his loyal dog Brownie by his side. One of his fondest childhood memories, as a member of 4-H, was when his prized Hereford was named a champion at a state fair. While Matt never became a rancher, his pets continued to bring him great joy. A man of strong faith, he had a deep love of his family and his many friends. In addition to being a supremely talented lawyer, Matt excelled as an outdoorsman, a historian, a collector, a politician, a poet, and a philosopher, and even an occasional psychiatrist. Throughout his entire life, he truly was driven to help others reach their full potential and to make the world a better place. A staunch believer in free enterprise, Matt had wide-ranging business interests. He owned or was a partner in several restaurants, an elevator company, ski resorts, horse farms, a waste paper recycling business, and insurance agencies. Matt played key roles in the Georgia Republican Party's emergence in the 1970s and '80s as a significant force in state politics. During his term as chairman of the Georgia Republican Party (1979-81), Republicans won statewide office for the first time in over a century. Previously, Matt had served as Georgia chairman for the 1976 campaign of President Gerald Ford. He was a member of the Republican National Committee and twice was elected a Republican National Convention delegate. Matt's public service included stints on the Georgia Election Board and the Fulton County Board of Elections, as well as membership on several metro-wide bodies focused on children and youth services. In Atlanta, he was a member of Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church where he served on the Board of Deacons and taught Sunday School classes. In Dallas, Matt was a member of Park Cities Baptist Church. He is survived by his beloved wife Penelope Anne Patton; daughters Melanie Patton Morgan (Matthew) and Amanda Patton Williamson (Todd); stepsons Jason Carlton Helms and Justin Christian Helms (Tracy); grandchildren Emma Morgan Melody (John), Rhys (Evan) Morgan, Louisa Morgan, Louise Elizabeth (Liza) Williamson, and Margaret Williamson; step-grandchildren Anastasia Helms, Gabriella Helms, Jackson Helms, Hailey Helms, Jake Helms, and Holden Helms; sister Mary Sarros; and niece Alexa Sarros. A private family service will be held in Dallas at 1:30 PM on Friday, January 14, 2022, at Sparkman Hillcrest Chapel followed by a graveside service at Sparkman Hillcrest Sunset Gardens. There will be a Celebration of Life memorial service at a later date in Atlanta. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Matt Patton's name to JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) at www.jdrf.com, Park Cities Baptist Church at www.pcbc.org/give, Georgia 4-H Foundation at www.georgia4hfoundation.org or SPCA of Texas at www.spca.org. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.Sparkman-Hillcrest.com for the Patton family.