Ohio State Diving Legend Jim Patterson Passes at 96
Jim Patterson in 1936

April 3, 2012

Rutherford Funeral Home Obituary

COLUMBUS, Ohio – James “Jim” Patterson, Ohio State diving’s first national champion, passed away at the age of 96 Saturday, March 24.

Patterson helped launch one of the most successful diving programs in history. He captured the Big Ten titles on the 1-meter in 1936 and 1937 before capturing the national title in 1937. This diving title brought fame to legendary Ohio State diving coach Mike Peppe. 

Patterson continued a phenomenal career at Ohio State and was named to six All-America teams between 1936 and 1938. He never finished lower than second in any Big Ten or NCAA diving competition. The star was a co-captain on the first National AAU (outdoor and indoor) championship team in 1938. During his career at OSU, he created eight dives that were added to the NCAA rules book and he was inducted into the Ohio State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992.

Peppe also credited Patterson with helping recruit many of his famed divers such as Al Patnik (three-time NCAA Champion) and Miller Anderson (two-time Olympic medal winner and two-time NCAA Champion).

After Patterson left Ohio State, he dove professionally for Billy Rose’s Aquacade and was Director of Diving for the Minneapolis Aquatennial for 13 years. In 1946, he founded Patterson Pools in Columbus and he continued to own the company until 1980. He was responsible for 17 pool patents and was the originator behind the stainless steel pools that are still used today. He is survived by his wife of 72 years, Mary Ruth, two sons and a daughter.

Visitation will be today, April 3, from 4-7 at the Rutherford Funeral Home at Powell, while a funeral service will be Wednesday at the same location.