Martha Turner "Patty" PATTON ID#1929, b. 16 August 1918, d. 15 November 2008
Married NameHer married name was HAIRSTON. 
Birth*Martha Turner "Patty" PATTON was born on 16 August 1918 in Swannannoa, Buncombe, North Carolina.1 
Marriage*She married Nelson George HAIRSTON, son of Peter Wilson HAIRSTON Jr. and Margaret Elmer GEORGE, on 19 August 1942.2 
Death*Martha Turner "Patty" PATTON died on 15 November 2008 at age 90.1 
Martha Patton Hairston

Martha Hairston of Carolina Meadows, Chapel Hill, died at age 90 on 15 November 2008. She was a devoted wife of 66 years, loving mother of three children, and proud grandmother of five grandchildren. Born Martha Turner Patton on 16 August 1918 at Swannanoa, North Carolina, Patty, the name by which everyone knew her, grew up with her two brothers on a farm managed by her parents. She met her future husband, Nelson George Hairston, at an early age thanks to their mothers who had become fast friends while attending Saint Mary’s School in Raleigh, NC. It was while she herself was attending Saint Mary’s that Patty’s courtship with Nelson began. They married in 1942 and, during the period that Nelson served as a medical officer in the Pacific theater of WWII, Patty worked as a medical technician at a hospital in Asheville, NC. At the end of the war, Patty accompanied Nelson to Evanston, IL, where he completed his Ph.D. at Northwestern University and it was there that their first daughter was born. They moved in 1949 to Ann Arbor, MI, where Nelson took a faculty position at the University of Michigan, and there raised their daughter, a son and second daughter. In 1954, Patty accompanied Nelson to the Philippines where he worked for two years for the World Health Organization while she maintained a welcoming home and schooled their three kids using Calvert School materials shipped from the US. Patty and family returned to Ann Arbor in 1956 and then again in 1960 spent one and a half years in Geneva, Switzerland, where Nelson worked for WHO. It is a testament to Patty’s loving care that her family stayed happy and close-knit through so much travel and changing of homes: each move became an opportunity embraced and fulfilled. After their children had all left home for college and careers, Patty and Nelson moved to Chapel Hill, where he took a position as Kenan Professor at the University of North Carolina. They spent summers at a second home near Cashiers, NC, where Nelson carried out his research on ecology in the Appalachian Mountains and Patty assisted, going on horseback to study sites, setting up camp and helping to collect salamanders in the middle of rainy nights; all of this while in her 60s - amazing. In Chapel Hill, Patty worked with charitable groups, especially Meals on Wheels, and was active at the Chapel of the Cross. In the early 1990s, eight years after Nelson retired, they moved to Carolina Meadows where Patty was instrumental in helping to establish religious services for the residents, many of whom could not easily make the trip into town.

Patty Hairston is survived by her two brothers, Tom and McLeod Patton, daughter, Margaret Hairston Searcy of Miami, Florida, son, Nelson G. Hairston, Jr., of Trumansburg, New York, and five grandchildren. Her daughter, Martha Hairston Weston, died five years ago. Nelson Hairston Sr. died in July of this year. Friends interested in making a donation in Patty Hairston’s memory are asked to contribute to Chapel of the Cross, Chapel Hill, NC.

A memorial service will be held at Carolina Meadows, Chapel Hill, NC at 10:30 am on Monday 8 December 2008. 
Burial*She was buried in Chapel of the Cross Episcopal Churchyard, Chapel Hill, Orange, North Carolina.3,1 


Nelson George HAIRSTON b. 16 Oct 1917, d. 31 Jul 2008

Sources (

  1. [S48] Find A Grave Website with Photo - only listings with photos of grave markers that are contemporary to the deceased individuals death are acceptable for genealogical proof.
  2. [S69] Hairston, Judge Peter W., Descendants of Robert Hairston, 2002, Personal Collection - printed book.
  3. [S257] Obituary attached to this record.
Last Edited10 May 2018