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Buffalo Bisons celebrate and honor longtime usher Hugh Patterson

Hugh Patterson has been an usher with the Buffalo Bisons for 37 years. The Bisons honored him Tuesday night after he passed away last week.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bisons took time Tuesday night to honor one of their own, Hugh Patterson. 

Hugh Patterson was an usher before the Bisons debuted at Pilot Field in 1988, back when they played at the old Rockpile. 

Patterson passed away on August 25, he was 78. 

"In March, he was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer," said Patterson's daughter Hillary Kelkenberg. "He didn't want anybody to know, he wanted to keep living life and be happy."

Patterson developed a special bond with Bisons fans over the decades he ushered games. 

"He had a passion for baseball, he had a passion for his family, both his real family and his bison family," said Mike Poreda, director of ticket operations for the Buffalo Bisons. "Nothing made him happier than then than helping people and chatting with the fans and just being around the ballpark every day."

It's hard to calculate just how many people Patterson had ushered to their seats along the third baseline over the years. 

Definitely in the 10's of thousands. Maybe 100's of thousands. 

Even after his diagnosis, Patterson continued to usher games. His last was on July 3rd, which is usually one of the biggest games of the year for the Bisons because of the post-game performance by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and firework display. 

"He was hoping that he would make it through the season," Poreda said. "But he took a turn for the worse that in that time after the BPO July 3 event, so he didn't work after that."

The Bisons held a moment of silence for Patterson before the beginning of Tuesday's game against Indianapolis. The Bisons won 2-0. 

For Kelkenberg and her family, it was an emotional tribute to someone who put family above everything else. 

"We've had so many people fans, employees coming up to us giving us hugs sharing stories just really feeling the loss because he had an ability to really see who you are and make you feel valued and important and special and take time to make that connection with you," Kelkenberg said. 

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