John Robert ("Bob") Paddison died peacefully at home surrounded by his family on August 1, 2021, two days after his ninety-eighth birthday. Bob lived most of his life in Savannah and was dedicated to his family and his community. Love and service were his mantra and he lived joyously, loving life and laughter.
Bob Paddison is survived by his beloved wife of 68 years, Phillippa Kandel Paddison; four children, Diana Churchill, Kim Paddison Dockery (Keith), John Robert Paddison Jr. (Nancy), David E. Paddison (Jeanne), and seven cherished grandchildren, Lauren Dockery, Stephen Dockery, John Robert (Jack) Paddison 3rd, Dylan Paddison, Chloe Paddison Eddleman, Caroline Paddison, Mason Paddison; sister-in-law, Joanne Kandel Leaf, and many nieces and nephews that have been an important part of his life.
Bob Paddison was born in Norfolk, VA on July 30, 1923. He moved to Savannah in 1928 where he attended Charles Ellis Elementary and Savannah High School before graduating from Georgia Military Academy. He was attending Georgia Tech when WWII broke out. He enlisted in the United States Air Force and served as a pilot. He landed in Europe the day the war ended and served in Germany for eighteen months aiding in post war recovery. He continued to fly the P-47 with the Georgia Air National Guard in Savannah and Atlanta. Following the war, he received his BS in Business at Emory University and then his MBA from the University of Chicago. He worked for Montgomery Ward in Ohio and Fulton National Bank in Atlanta before returning to work for Savannah Bank and Trust Company in 1959. He retired as bank vice president in 1988.
The day after his retirement from Savannah Bank, Bob started a second career as a volunteer teacher at Derenne Middle School where he ran a photography program for twenty-three years. His years teaching middle school students spanned the transition of developing black and white photography in a dark room to the use of digital computer software. His students were amazed at his whistling ability, and he loved every single student. When he retired from his second career, the library at DeRenne Middle School was named the Bob Paddison Media Center.
From the time he moved back to Savannah in 1959 until well into his nineties, Bob was committed to service in his community. He served on the Savannah Economic Council, the Homeless Authority, the board of the Savannah Public Library, the board of Savannah State College, Inner City United Methodist Mission, and for decades the Board of Wesley Community Center. In October 2019 the Wesley Life Center Building was dedicated to John Robert “Bob” Paddison. In 2017 he and his son, David E. Paddison, were inducted together into the Junior Achievement Savannah Business Hall of Fame. He was recognized by Savannah State College in 2019 as a major supporter. Bob was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church for over 57 years, teaching Sunday School and serving as treasurer and other offices for many years as well making and serving sandwiches at Inner City Night Shelter.
Bob served as Former Mayor Otis Johnson’s campaign treasurer for both terms. He was a champion for equality and spent his life quietly trying to uplift and support others.
His family will forever remember him as “Poppy” and will remember his love of laughter, his love of the creeks and marshes of Savannah, his fishing and crabbing prowess, his skills on the tennis court, his love of music, reading, flying, friends, birding, chocolate, and the peach angel pie that Phillippa always made on his birthday. The family will hold a celebration of life at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in John Robert Paddison’s honor to: Wesley Community Center, Wesley Community Center Inc 1601 Drayton St, Savannah, GA 31401 (https://www.wesleyctrs-savh.org/How-Can-I-Help), Savannah State College Scholarship fund, Savannah State University Advancement 3219 College Street Box 20439 Savannah, Georgia 31404 https://give.savannahstate.edu/giving/where-to-give/presidential-scholarships) or Hospice Savannah Hospice Savannah, Inc. 1352 Eisenhower Drive Savannah, GA 31406 Mailing address: P.O. Box 13190, Savannah, GA, 31416 (https://www.hospicesavannah.org/give-2/donations/).
"What we have enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us." Helen Keller My Deepest Sympathy WCC Former Employee
- Lula Mae Herron, Savannah, GA
My sincere condolences to the family. I had the pleasure of working with Mr. Paddison at DeRenne Middle School. He was always so kind and patient with the young people. May God comfort and keep you as you hold the wonderful memories of Mr. Paddison close to your heart.
- Brenda L Roberts, Savannah, GA - Georgia
Bob, my Blue Angel Friend. Rest in Piece.
- Bert Smith, Savannah, GA
I was one of Mr. Paddison’s photography students at DeRenne many years ago. He was such a kind and enthusiastic educator and I loved learning from him so much I even convinced my parents to purchase darkroom equipment for our home. He lived such a long and meaningful life and I’m grateful for the time spent. Best wishes to his family. Take comfort in the knowledge that he leaves a legacy of kindness and encouragement.
- Jamie K Meshew, Pflugerville, TX
My condolences to the Patterson Family. He was a blessing to adult and youth during the years he was a part of the DeRenne Dolphin Family. May his name and work long be remembered at the B0B PATTERSON LIBRARY at DeRenne Middle School.
- Clara Williams , Pooler , GA
I have fond memories of Mr. Paddison when I was a student at DeRenne Middle School, where he taught me the love of photography. That was the first time I had ever really been exposed to photography, and it was such a unique opportunity to learn about how to develop film in a dark room. Mr. Paddison was patient, kind, and caring, and he really was the impetus for my continued love and passion for photography and capturing life's precious moments. I now work for FEMA in Denver, Colorado, and a big part of my job is photography and video, and Mr. Paddison is instrumental in sparking my love for my work today.
- Minh Phan, Denver, CO
Uncle Bob always made me feel as if I had been part of the family from the beginning. His smile and laughter encouraged the same from others, and he exuded warmth, grace, and humility. And that humor and wit! It could be hard to keep up with him. David and I loved him. David will have his own words to share, but he always speaks of the fun and challenge of playing cribbage with Uncle Bob and the jokes, jabs, and laughter that went with it. We love you all. You have a beautiful family. Our hearts and love are with you.
- Dawn Cox Paddison , Covington, Louisiana
A wonderful friend. A life well lived.
- David Whiteis, Hoschton, GA
With special thoughts of sympathy and sincere heartfelt condolences to the family. The sun, the moon, the wind, and the stars will forever be around, reminding you of the love you shared. And the peace he has finally found.
- Shilpi Patel, Herndon, Virginia
I learned photography from Mr. Paddison when I was a kid at DeRenne Middle School. There are basics he taught me then that I still use to this day. Bless him for being so patient with all of us dumb adolescents. I know there are a lot of former students out there who will remember him fondly.
- Bonnie Terrell , Savannah, GA
Sending the Paddison family prayers of peace, consolation and deep admiration for such a special man. You have been blessed beyond measure. May perpetual light shine brightly upon Bob Paddison.
- Kelly Kilpatrick Hunt, Savannah, Georgia
One of my favorite customers at Hester and Zipperer... always enjoying himself. I aspire to be like him. Thanks fir the laughs Bob!!
- Mark Hadden, Savannah, Ga
Mr. Paddison was one of the most generous and caring people I’ve known. I was a teacher at Derenne Middle School for 24 years, and Mr. Paddison was there most of that time. His love of, and talent in, the area of photography were exceptional, but his ability to instill that love in students was truly special. It was obvious to them that he valued them. He even attended special after school functions to support students and faculty. I’m sad that your family will be without his physical presence, but his legacy of a life lived so much in the service and enrichment of others as well as his love of life will continue to be an inspiration to others to do the same. I’m thankful to have known him. Patricia Darrow
- Patricia Darrow, Savannah, GA
You all are in my heart. I am blessed to have known "Diana's Dad".
- Leslie Weichsel, Savannah, Georgia
- Martha S Foxx, Savannah, GA
I only knew Mr. Paddison because Diana shared him with us. His family is his legacy and they all reflect him well. May your love and memories give you comfort in full measure.
- Martha S Foxx, Savannah, GA
Bob was a Southern gentleman who was a role model of patience and kindness. His smile would like up a room. Bob's beliefs and efforts for human rights and equality will abide with those knew him.
- Albert Vinck, East Chatham, NY
Mr. Paddison was just about the kindest man I have ever know . Working with him at DeRenne, I learned so much about photography and life. He will be missed but his spirit lives on in all the lives he impacted, including mine.
- Beth Jones, Savannah, Georgia
I'm so sorry to hear of Bob's passing. Although we have not had any contact in many years, I was privileged to have been with Bob in many different activities and venues extending back into the 1970's. We played tennis at Daffin park with Aaron Buschbaum, enjoyed photography at Cumberland Island, and shared time in many other ways. I have never known a more caring, compassionate, all around good person than Bob.
- Donald Jones, Savannah, GA
Phillipa, I have so many fond memories of volunteering at Oatland Island with you and Bob. After reading his beautiful obituary, I know that he is going to be greatly missed by many people and organizations !! Know that you and your family are in my thought and prayers. Much love, Marion
- Marion U. Cheney, Savannah, Ga
I worked with Bob Paddison for many years at The Savannah Bank & Trust Co. He was a Fine Man & a Good Friend... He did many good things for our community.... We extend our sincere condolences to his Family Dan & Jane Pruitt......
- Dan & Jane Pruitt, Savannah, Ga.
So sorry to hear of his passing. Like many others, I was a student of his at DeRenne (2003). He was such a patient and kind man. He instilled a lifelong passion for photography in me that I continue to this day. He reached out to me to ask about some of my work a few years back and that really shows how much he cared about his students. I hope that one day I can have an impact on the world in the same way he has.
- Sean Taylor, Savannah, Ga
I had, on occasion, to teach Sunday School with Bob at the Unitarian Universalist Church. His ability to value, share and connect with young people (even the most bratty ones), was a testement to his kind patience. I admired Bob for his energy and willingness to volunteer and lend a hand where needed. His impact on the church and his community was far-flung. He shared his excitement of going to Yellowstone in the winter with his family while in his 80's. He is an inspiration to look up to!
- Melanie Mills, Savannah, GA
Sincere condolences. As a young employee in banking, I respected Mr. Patterson. He seemed to have earned the respect of everyone. The world needs more Bob Pattersons!
- Sandy Traub, Rincon, GA
Sorry to hear about your Grandfather Caroline !
- The Sheehan Family, Savannah , Ga
As one of Bob's daughter-in-laws, I can echo so many of the sentiments here. He loved his family, his community, the creek, and fishing, boating and just being on the dock, where he always said, "This is heaven on earth." Becoming one of the family but from a northern climate, I quickly saw and have enjoyed this truth for many wonderful years. I learned how to play cribbage because of Bob and loved all the funny and sporting phrases he used when we played. I learned love of community service from him, and what I will always hold dear is how he looked at life from the "glass half full" perspective instead of the "half-empty" one I grew up with from my own father. He was a great grandfather to my boys. His laughter and words, "Accentuate the positive," will always ring in my ears.
- Nancy Paddison, Houston, TX
It was nice working with Mr. Patterson, he will truly be missed.
- Billy Pat Baldwin , Savannah , Georgia
My deepest condolences to the family. I will never forget Mr. Paddison - he sparked an interest in photography in me that persists to this day. He taught me to look at the world in a different way - to find the miraculous in the mundane by just changing your perspective or focus. I'll always be grateful for the time he gave his students at DeRenne.
- Amy Vinson, Andover, MA
Bob was always a sweet & gentle man. He had a good life which he shared with family, friends and community. We are thinking of you all and express our sincere thoughts & sympathy.
- Sharon & Murray Galin, Savannah, GA
Ninety-eight years of exemplary, exuberant life gave Bob lots of opportunities to commit his best to each endeavor and his warmth and kindness to every person. He was no softie, though. He had rigorous ethics and performance standards. He believed in personal accountability and relegation of self to the common good. He sought no acclaim and made those around him the stars. Whether it be in banking, service, teaching, or living in general, Bob brought the genuine one hundred percent best of humanity. He glowed with goodness. It was an honor to know him and to have him know my son at DeRenne in Bob's photography class. Bob gave me a great parenting boost during those middle school years. I am stricken for all the Paddison family and wish each the very best kind of mourning, the kind that illuminates a life performed exquisitely.
- Louisa Abbot, Savannah, GA
Dear Paddison family, we are so sorry to hear about the passing of Bob. We will always remember him. His walks in Magnolia Park and conversations on a huge variety of topics, and his lovely holiday cards with exquisite photography will stay in our memory, as well as having been neighbors with an extraordinary man. Cornelia and Celestino
- Cornelia Stumpf, Glendale, Arizona
We had the pleasure of meeting the dynamic duo of Mr. Paddison and his wife a couple of times. They would visit their son, Robert, and daughter-in-law, Nancy, in Houston, TX and we sometimes would be able to join in. Such great conversation and flow of ideas! We loved hearing what they were up to, and how they viewed all aspects of life. Bob Sr. was always so warm and kind. And of course we heard more wonderful stories of Bob through Robert Jr. Truly a life well lived in service to others. What a blessing he was to all who knew him. Our heartfelt condolences to the family. -John and Judy
- John Foelber and Judy Adams, Houston, TX
Kim, I just heard of your dad’s passing and we send our prayers for comfort and peace at this difficult time to you and all of your family. I saw someone pushing your dad outside in the neighborhood just a couple of weeks ago. I would love to see you so please send me the info on the memorial service when planned.
- Barbara Briscoe Sheehan, Savannah, GA
My condolences to the Paddison family. Bob was such an inspiration to so many. I never knew anyone who could combine such empathy and high expectations to his students at DeRenne. He was an extraordinary human being who lived a full and rich life, a life of joyful service. Requiescat in Pace.
- Vicki Guenther, Savannah, GA
My sister Nancy and I offer our condolences to Bob's family, particularly our classmates Robert and Kim. Our mother passed in November, and we recently had a wonderful service at Connexion Church. Reading Bob's obituary, I can see a wonderful celebration of who your father was, and the meaningful things he did with his life.
- Bruce Purvis, Canton, Georgia
I served with Mr. Paddison on the Wesley Community Center board for over 10 years. He never missed a meeting, and was the most positive, caring, and astute proponent of Wesley’s staff and children I ever met. Even when his hearing was diminished his enthusiasm was still evident. He was truly an example of the best in us. Thank you for sharing him! My deepest condolences to the family.
- Connie Pittman, Richmond Hill, GA
Services under the direction of:
Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel
- A Celebration of Life Will Be held at a later date