Bixby Knolls parade to honor WWII Vet’s 100th Birthday

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Courtesy BKBIA // Patterson Family

Philip Patterson, a WWII veteran will be celebrating his 100th birthday this Friday, June 19.

The Bixby Knolls community has been invited to participate in a parade for a local World War II veteran’s 100th birthday.

Philip Patterson turns 100 years old on June 19, and his family wanted to celebrate while protecting his health during the pandemic.

Philip Patterson, a WWII veteran will be celebrating his 100th birthday this Friday, June 17. (Courtesy BKBIA // Patterson Family)

They knew a traditional celebration was out of the question given the current health orders. His granddaughter, Marika Patterson, originally used the Bixby Knolls Community page on Facebook to invite the community to participate in a parade to commemorate the day, where she received a huge response.

Participants should line up on 45th Street, west of Cherry Ave., at 12:30 p.m. Community members are encouraged to play music by Glenn Miller as they drive by, and to decorate their vehicles with flags, balloons and happy birthday signs.

The Patterson family also encourages the community to send birthday cards, addressed to Philip Patterson, c/o BKBIA, 4321 Atlantic Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90807.

Philip Wellington Patterson Jr. was born on June 19, 1920 in Phoenix, Arizona and grew up in Kansas. He was drafted in 1942, commissioned a 2nd LT Army Engineer, training in the California Desert. Because Philip’s younger brother Charles was already in an active war zone in the South Pacific onboard the USS St. Louis, Philip’s orders were changed from deploying to D-Day to staying stateside. Philip’s last year of service was as an officer with an Army Brig Unit in central California.

Patterson settled in Long Beach in 1944 after being discharged. There he met his wife Betty, who was a teacher at Lakewood High School. They have been married for 62 years.

Philip played basketball until he was 40. He also bowled in the Richfield league (usually at Java Lanes) and he took up golf after retirement. He also attended numerous ball games of his three sons (Craig, Jay and Philip III), when he was not on at work.

After retirement, he delivered meals via Meals on Wheels. He did this for 20 years, and would even be elected President of the Long Beach chapter. He was one of the original people who started Long Beach Meals on Wheels.

Patterson loves food, music, travel, people, film, and more. He loves eating chicken and seafood, especially at what was formerly Khoury’s, now a Ballast Point. His favorite musician is Glenn Miller. Phil and Betty traveled extensively around the world – often taking student groups to Spain and Italy. They also traveled a lot to China. His favorite people were his family and his workmates, who are all gone now. He loves cashews, however, when he and his brother were youngsters, they went to a family friend’s house and there was a bowl of cashews set out. They were told to “help themselves” and when these depression-era youngsters were done the bowl was empty. And they had stomach aches the rest of the day.