Military Wiki
L. Brooks Patterson
Oakland County County Executive

In office
January 1, 1993 – August 3, 2019
Preceded by Daniel T. Murphy
Succeeded by David Coulter
Personal details
Born Lewis Brooks Patterson
(1939-01-04)January 4, 1939
Loogootee, Indiana, U.S.
Died August 3, 2019(2019-08-03) (aged 80)
Independence Township, Michigan, U.S.
Political party Republican[1]
Spouse(s) Kathy (div.)[1]
Children three
Alma mater University of Detroit (BA), University of Detroit Mercy School of Law (JD)
Profession lawyer

Lewis Brooks Patterson (January 4, 1939 – August 3, 2019) was an American lawyer and politician. He served as County Executive of Oakland County, Michigan in Metro Detroit from 1992 until his death.[2] Patterson became the subject of controversy after making what some considered to be inflammatory remarks about the city of Detroit that were reported in 2014.[2]


Born in Loogootee, Indiana, Patterson graduated from the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy in 1957. He served in the United States Army from 1962 to 1964.[1][3] He received a Bachelor's degree from the University of Detroit, and his Juris Doctor in 1967 from its law school.[4] In 2005, he was Alumnus of the Year at his alma mater.[4]


L. Brooks Patterson opposed the desegregation busing plan related to Detroit Public Schools up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which decided Milliken v. Bradley.[5]

Patterson faced criticism after comments he made about the city of Detroit, widely seen as "controversial" and "negative", were released in an article entitled "Drop Dead, Detroit!".[2] Patterson was quoted as saying, among other things, "What we're going to do is turn Detroit into an Indian reservation, where we herd all the Indians into the city, build a fence around it, and then throw in the blankets and corn".[2]

In 2016, Patterson led a legal challenge to the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Oakland County.[6]

Following 16 years as the Prosecutor of Oakland County, he was elected in 1992 to the office of County Executive.[7] He was re-elected to a sixth term in 2012.[8]

During his years as County Executive, Patterson faced serious health problems, twice undergoing surgery to place stents to control blood flow and, in August 2012, being severely injured as the passenger in a car crash that left him hospitalized for a month and then placed in a medical facility for physical rehabilitation.[7] His driver was paralyzed.[9] While in care in October 2012, Patterson dismissed claims that his injuries left him unfit to serve if reelected.[10] Patterson sometimes used a wheelchair due to the injuries he suffered in the accident. In March 2019 Patterson revealed he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and would not seek re-election the following year.[11]

Personal life[]

In 2007, Patterson lost his son, Brooks Stuart Patterson, in a snowmobile accident and, later that year, lost his twin brother Stephen Patterson.[7] In 2008, he established the Brooksie Way Half Marathon in memory of his son. The event is sponsored by local businesses and draws participants from the Oakland University campus and area residents.[12][13]

Patterson died on August 3, 2019. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier in the year.[1]


  • Binelli, Mark. Detroit City is the Place to Be. Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company (New York). First Edition, 2012. ISBN 978-0-8050-9229-5 (hardback version).


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "L. Brooks Patterson, longtime Oakland County executive, dies at 80". The Detroit News. August 3, 2019. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "L. Brooks Patterson Slams Detroit: 'The Truth Hurts… Tough S***'". CBS. January 21, 2014. Archived from the original on January 25, 2014. Retrieved January 21, 2014. 
  3. Frye, Stephen. "L. Brooks Patterson dead at 80". Retrieved Aug 5, 2019. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "UD Mercy School of Law". Archived from the original on July 25, 2011. Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  5. Binelli, p. 114.
  6. "Patterson says he'll sue to stop refugee resettlement". The Detroit News. September 21, 2016. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "After crash, 'I love you' easier to say for Oakland County's L. Brooks Patterson". Detroit Free Press. October 1, 2012. Archived from the original on October 21, 2012. Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  8. Ramirez, Charles E. (October 2, 2012). "Tests show Patterson, driver had no alcohol, drugs in system before crash, attorney says". The Detroit News. Retrieved October 3, 2012. [dead link]
  9. Williams, Paige (2014-01-20). "Drop Dead, Detroit!" (in en). The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. 
  10. "Oakland Dems question L. Brooks Patterson's ability to serve after crash". Detroit Free Press. October 2, 2012. Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  11. "Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has pancreatic cancer". 
  12. Sokol, Stephanie (October 2, 2012). "Brooksie Way returns to Rochester Hills". The Oakland Post. Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  13. "Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson: I'll be back in a couple of weeks". Detroit Free Press. September 29, 2012. Retrieved October 3, 2012. 

External links[]

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