By Bob Allen
Wesley M. (Pat) Pattillo, a long-time communications and development executive for both Baptist and ecumenical organizations, died Dec. 22 after a six-month battle with leukemia.
Pattillo, 75, retired in 2011 after 10 years as associate general secretary of the National Council of Churches USA, an ecumenical ministry of 37 Christian denominations with offices in New York City and Washington, D.C.
Before that he served for more than 30 years in leadership roles with three prominent Baptist educational institutions.
He was vice president for development and director of public relations at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., from 1965 until 1986.
He moved to Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., serving as vice president for university relations from 1986 until 1994.
From 1996 until 2001 he worked for Hong Kong Baptist University in Kowloon, China, as director of North American programs.
Pattillo is survived by his wife of 48 years, Zelma Mullins Pattillo of Birmingham, Ala., an ordained Baptist minister and retired hospice chaplain, and two children.
Six months ago Pattillo was diagnosed with T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia, a rare and aggressive form of cancer generally resistant to chemotherapy. According to an article in a Baylor University medical journal, T-PLL represents less than 2 percent of leukemia cases, primarily affecting older adults.
A memorial service celebrating Pattillo’s life is scheduled at 11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 9, at Baptist Church of the Covenant in Birmingham, Ala.