Francene Dawn Patterson of the Tuscarora Nation, passed away on Thursday, September 17, 2020, in Niagara Falls Memorial Center. She was born in Niagara Falls, NY on October 27, 1952, the daughter of the late Oliver and Beatrice [Patterson] Best.
She was the White Bear Clan Mother for many years where she learned the Tuscarora Language from her elders.
She attended Arizona State to study linguistics. Francene was granted permission from the Tuscarora Chiefs’ Council to record the Tuscarora Language into a uniform, written form. She worked with Dr. Blair Rudes to develop the Tuscarora dictionary. The comprehensive dictionary was the first of Iroquoian languages to be published and other languages followed. Francene presented the dictionary at an Endangered World Language Conference in Dublin, Ireland.
She also translated the first Tuscarora version of the Thanksgiving Address for the students at the Tuscarora Indain School under the guidance of the Howard Hill.
After years of research and studying, she received her bachelor’s degree from Empire State College in Linguistics with a concentration in Tuscarora Language.
Francene was a member of the Tuscarora Baptist Church where she taught Sunday School for a number of years as well as helping with the AWANA programs.
Her hobbies included traveling, sewing, canning, and picking berries. Francene was also instrumental in reviving the Iroquois Indian Band and held an office since the 1980s. Additionally, she was involved in helping with the Tuscarora National Picnic, Temperance Society and the New Year’s Feast.
Francene is survived by her husband of 46 years Neil V. Patterson, his children Jodi, Belinda and Neil (Sarah) Patterson, Jr., five grandchildren Aidan, Alexander, Annabella, Leah and Okwaho, a sister Marianne (David) Winquist, also many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.
Her family will be present on Saturday from 2-4 & 7-9 PM at the RHONEY FUNERAL HOME, 5893 Hoover Road, Sanborn, NY.
Funeral services will be held on Sunday at 2:00 PM at the Tuscarora Baptist Church with the Rev. Walter Printup, Jr. officiating.
Interment in Mt. Hope Cemetery on the Tuscarora Nation.
Due to current regulations, facial coverings and social distancing are required.
To send flowers to Francene's family, please visit our floral store.