Betti Anne V. Patterson, long active in the cultural life of Baltimore, died of cancer Thanksgiving Day at Stella Maris Hospice. She was 80.
Mrs. Patterson, a Cross Keys resident who was known as a staunch supporter of the arts, was for many years associated with the Women's Association of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and was a member of the Baltimore Bibliophiles. She was a volunteer with the Maryland Children's Aid Society, the Woman's Industrial Exchange, and from 1960 to 1980 volunteered in the bookstore at the Bryn Mawr School.
In 1939, Mrs. Patterson married W. Maclean Patterson, a former Sunpapers and Rouse Co. executive who died in 1976. She was also the daughter-in-law of Paul C. Patterson, who from 1919 to 1951 was president of the A. S. Abell Co., publishers of the Sunpapers.
Mrs. Patterson maintained a lively interest in both the works and life of H. L. Mencken, whom she had gotten to know after marrying into the Patterson family.
A member of the Mencken Society for many years, Mrs. Patterson liked to talk about her impressions of the venerable Baltimore newspaperman and author.
"She described Mr. Mencken as a 'very courtly gentleman,' " said a daughter, Bettina Patterson of Westport, Conn. "Mother and Mr. Mencken also shared an interest and delight in practical jokes and were always sending each other things in the mail."
Said Marion Elizabeth Rodgers, author of "Mencken and Sara: A Life in Letters" and a Mencken biography that Oxford University Press is scheduled to publish in 1998, described Mrs. Patterson as "a most gracious, elegant and thoughtful person who helped me both professionally and personally. She very willingly related many Mencken stories for my books."
Interested in Republican politics, she worked on Dwight Eisenhower's presidential campaigns and was active in local campaigns.
Born and raised in the Stoneleigh section of Baltimore County, the former Betti Anne Verleger graduated from Towson High School and Bard Avon, a finishing school. During the late 1920s and early 1930s, Mrs. Patterson danced with the Carol Lynn studios, often performing at the Lyric Theater, and later danced with the American Ballet Company.
A Roland Park resident for many years, Mrs. Patterson was an avid gardener who assisted in the restoration of the formal gardens at the Hampton Mansion, near Towson, the ancestral home of the Ridgely family of Maryland.
An active clubwoman, Mrs. Patterson was a member of the Woman's Hamilton Street Club and the Elkridge Club.
Services are scheduled for 2 p.m today at Memorial Episcopal Church, 1407 Bolton St., Bolton Hill.
She is survived by two other daughters, Amy P. Isaacs of Salisbury and Penelope P. Paxton of Montrose, Colo.; and four grandchildren.
Memorial donations may be made to the Bryn Mawr School, 109 W. Melrose Ave., Baltimore 21210.