Florene Pattain, mother of seven and longtime St. Paul resident, was the recipient of Arline V. Winfield Special Mother Award before a packed room at the 43rd Annual Winfield Awards Banquet at the International St. Paul Riverfront Hotel earlier this month.
The award, named in honor of Major League Baseball Hall of Famer David M. Winfield’s mother has been presented at the banquet for the past 25 years. As mentioned in last week’s column, the annual event honors 10 St. Paul student-athletes who successfully achieve in athletics, academics and community service.
As her story was read to the audience, it quickly became clear that Pattain was most deserving of the award.
Born in Jefferson, Texas (Marion County), Pattain settled in the Twin Cities during the 1950s, embarking on a 38-year career in health care in which she helped countless others.
All of Pattain’s seven children (five boys, two girls) were born and raised in St. Paul and have blossomed into valuable contributors to the community in the fields of healthcare, insurance, community service, coaching, mentoring, and education.
Pattain’s sons also flourished as student-athletes in high school. Each of them were participants in the Minnesota State High School Boys Basketball tournament. Charles Pattain led Mechanic Arts to a runner-up finish in 1975. Kevin Pattain, who went onto to a Hall of Fame career as a football and basketball player at Concordia University-St. Paul, helped lead St. Paul Central to a runner-up finish in 1979.
Twin brothers Derrell and Terrell Pattain represented St. Paul Central in 1982; and Marlon McCoy led St. Agnes to the Class A Boys basketball championship in 1994.
Florene Pattain had no idea she was receiving the award, as it was kept a secret until her story was being presented at the banquet.
“We told her that they were honoring us for playing in the state tournament,” said Florine’s youngest, Marlon. “She never misses anything that we are involved in,” he said grinning.
“I was completely surprised,” Pattain said with a smile. “My children really got me on this one!”
Derrell Pattain is still amazed at how his mother, now 79 years old, continues to be the rock and matriarch of their loving family.
“I don’t know how she did it,” he said. “She was, and still is, our biggest role model,” he continued in a voice of admiration. “We won’t be able to do enough to honor her for what she has accomplished as a mother, grandmother, and pillar in the community. She’s the best.”
Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald is a contributing columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.