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Owens Valley Legend Passes On

He called me his little sister; I called him my brother; but we were best friends.

Our beloved friend, fellow desert rat, and Cerro Gordo icon, Mike Patterson passed away on September 24, 2009.

He was only 62 years young.

Moving to Cerro Gordo in 1985 with Owens Valley born Jody Hardin Stewart, they took on together the task of keeping Cerro Gordo alive and well and in a state of restorative reuse.  Bringing out the best in all the volunteers who came from far and wide, the many talents in different fields of expertise, kept this dream alive.  They met people from all over the world in this little mining camp that was the Comstock to the sleepy little Mexican Pueblo of Los Angeles.  Mike & Jody brought the life back into the little camp and put it back on the map by way of magazine and newspaper, short film and documentary.

Mike & Jody's creativity can be seen all over town.  From the beautiful kitchen he built Jody in the Gordon house, the deck outside the General Store & Museum, the restoration of the 1871 American Hotel, to the remaking of a garage into the first chapel/theater ever in Cerro Gordo.  He never got to see this project completed so we, the volunteers have taken up the task ...... we raised the steeple last weekend for and in honor of our friend.

He is survived by his Mother, Jo; his three wonderful sons, Sean, Heath, and Tyler; his 2 brothers Jeff and David and their wives and families; and his sister, Lisa and her husband Dan.  He was proceeded in death by his wife Jody in 2001 and his dad in 2003, and has now been rejoined with them in Heaven.

May they all rest in peace.

You may still visit Cerro Gordo and see an important part of early California history as caretakers are always on site.  Tours are $10.00 per person and will go to keeping the town alive and well.

Editors Note: Our special thanks to Mary G. for her tribute, and to the talented Lara Hartley for the use of her photo of Mike Patterson. Click here for information on the Cerro Gordo Ghost Town.  Click here for the discussion about Mike's passing on our Death Valley Talk forum.