Sarah Patterson French ’95

Sarah Patterson French of Atlanta, Georgia was a devoted mother, dependable friend, and loving wife. Surrounded by her family who loved her dearly, she passed away on October 23, 2022, at the age of 50 following a short but valiant fight against cancer.

Sarah was born in Memphis, Tennessee to Dr. Russell Horner Patterson III and Mrs. Virginia Patterson McLellan. She graduated from the Hutchison School of Memphis and Davidson College of Davidson, North Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in English. Her love of language, grammar, literature & music, cultivated at both Hutchison and Davidson, was a defining characteristic of her life. Prior to having children, she taught in the Lower School at The Lovett School in Atlanta, served as the Publisher of The Harbus News at Harvard Business School in Boston, and worked as a children’s textbook editor for Harcourt Brace in Orlando. Sarah was a faithful member of Trinity Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, serving as a member of both the session and the most recent pastor nominating committee. She also sang for twenty years in Trinity’s highly regarded chancel choir. Sarah also served on the Board of Visitors to Davidson College.

Sarah’s primary and most loved role was mother to her beautiful and accomplished children, Colin & Virginia. She was devoted to their education both academically & spiritually for nearly 21 years. Her courageous fight against cancer was born from her desire to live to see her children mature into adults, graduate from college and experience the joy of being a grandmother.

Sarah was also a committed and caring sister and friend to many. One of Sarah’s greatest strengths was her ability to make and maintain strong, meaningful friendships. She was known for her great sense of humor and sharp wit. Sarah could accomplish any task, big or small, and others were willing to help in her endeavors because of the respect they had for her.

Sarah met the love of her life, Reid French, at Davidson College in 1992. They were married in 1995 and experienced a wonderful life together for over 27 years. Sarah and Reid’s marriage was so delightful because they had both similar interests and striking differences. Both loved music, theater, children, travel and education. While Sarah’s love of English and literature contrasted with Reid’s passion for business and economics, together they were complete and whole.

Sarah was preceded in death by her mother, Virginia Patterson McLellan. Sarah is survived by her husband R. Reid French, Jr., her children Colin McRee French and Virginia Holmes French, her sisters Katherine Patterson Gieselmann and Mary Russell Patterson Tully, her father Dr. Russell Horner Patterson III, her step-mother Sandy Stillman Patterson, her sister-in-law Tracy French McMillan, and her parents-in-law Russell Reid French and Victoria Holmes French.

A memorial service in honor of Sarah will be held at 2:00 pm on Friday, November 11 at Trinity Presbyterian Church of Atlanta. A reception at the church will follow the service.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial gift in Sarah’s honor. The family requests that contributions be made to Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Office of Gift Records, Emory University, 1762 Clifton Rd. NE, Suite 1400, Atlanta, GA 30322 or Trinity Presbyterian Church, 3003 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta, GA 30327. Gifts online can be made at or Please note your gift in memory of Sarah French.