By Kelly Dickey
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — Given his schoolboy grin and love of disc jockeying, it doesn’t take long to figure out why Buddy Patterson is Madison County’s biggest kid.
“I met Dick Clark once, and told him I was Anderson’s oldest teenager,” Patterson said. “He didn’t seem too impressed, but he was really nice.”
Patterson might not have completely convinced the late “American Bandstand” host of his youthful state, but the two had more in common than being young at heart. While the 76-year-old Chesterfield resident may be known for his role as a county councilman, Patterson’s other calling has always been music.
He has rooms full of records in his house, so many that the floor has actually cracked under the weight. He also has two tool sheds full of albums, and he fills up some of his free time as a disc jockey.
Patterson found his passion for music back when he actually was a teenager.
After graduating from high school, Patterson used to put on dances in a parking lot between Main and Meridian streets. He’d also go to dances that were for the 18-and-younger crowd.
“I went there so long I was as old as the chaperones,” he said.
And while he grew up for a bit in order to raise his two sons, he couldn’t stay away from hosting. By the early 1980s, he started throwing dance parties featuring oldies favorites.
“That was before you heard '50s and '60s music on the radio again,” Patterson said. “It had faded away. I like to think I brought it back.”
He also regularly performs with his wife, Joyce Patterson, at nursing homes and throughout the community. It’s an additional – and much different – way he can help people in Madison County.
They have a few nursing homes they visit regularly, all for free. The Pattersons refuse to accept money because they feel they’ll be paid in heaven.
Their faith and need to serve people are intertwined, and knowing he can still bring a positive force into people’s lives through music has helped Patterson deal with retirement.
“I’ve loved serving the community as a councilman,” he said. “I enjoy that so much, but I enjoy making people happy through music.”
Patterson said he always had a hard time talking about himself when he ran for office. He'd rather focus on everyone else.
That might just be who he was destined to be. Joyce said Buddy’s mother was onto something from the get go.
“His mama used to say to me, ‘He has always been my Buddy. Most babies come into this world crying. He came in with a smile on his face, and he never quit smiling,’” she said.
Being Buddy has always been ingrained in Patterson. When he was a young kid, he didn’t even realize his legal name was Franklin, although he did eventually have it legally changed.
It’s partly because he brings out the best in people, his wife said.
His service to Madison County residents makes him happy, which keeps him young.
After Patterson bought a sports car, his wife joked that he was going through a midlife crisis. It’s something he welcomed.
“I’m going to live to be 140,” he said smirking.
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