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For 27 years, Michael Patterson wore the badge police department of College Station. His death at the age of 52 after a heart attack still hasn't fully sunk in for those who loved him.
His family arrived en mass to celebrate their loved one's life Saturday. His coworkers greeted them, ready, willing and able to share stories...27 years worth.
"Each of us has a story to tell about Michael, and the way that he touched and changed our lives forever," said Rabbi Peter Tarlow.
They spoke mostly about their assistant chief, but some mentioned his alter ego, a super hero in less-than-super garb, with a more-than-super disposition for love, known simply as Magic Mike.
"Then, like out of a horror movie, this thing is standing in the doorway, with that goofy look on his face," remembered former police chief Edgar Feldman. "I was shocked. I couldn't move, because the next thing I knew, he was in my lap. And then I got this wet, slobbery kiss on my cheek."
"Sometimes, I think that Mike was just too nice to be a policeman," said Mayor Ron Silvia, "but I know he was very, very gentle, but he was also a great professional."
And both junior and once-junior members of the force can attest to that.
"I was nervous and sometimes doubting my abilities, but he was always there to reassure me that things were fine," said Sgt. John Campbell.
"It really hasn't hit a lot of us," said Lt. Mark Langwell. "When we make that first staff meeting, maybe, next week and Mike's not in there in his usual spot, and in general when things come up at work, I think that's when it's going to start hitting us."
Those who knew Michael Patterson would probably say he was a super hero, no matter if he was jumping into laps delivering kisses, or patrolling the streets. What may be the most super: the legacy he's left behind.
"I kept hearing one of my favorite songs written and performed by the Eagles," said Campbell. "This song, titled, 'There's a Hole in the World Tonight.'
"'There is a huge hole in my world tonight, but faith in our Lord will fill the void soon.'"