Barbara June Patterson

barbara patterson
She was born on the winter solstice, December 21, 1929, the darkest day of the year, to George Babe Fluhrer and Mary Eleanor Welbon Fluhrer. Then for 93 years, Barbara June brought the light. What was the source of her light? Growing up as the child of traveling entertainers during the Great Depression, Barbara June understood how insecurity could doom us to lives of despair. Soon, she learned that the entertaining, compassionate, forgiving story gave people hope and brought them joy. Our struggles make us stronger. Our imperfections make us whole. Barbara June taught teenagers, that time of life when we are in transition, by embracing and encouraging each student in their process toward self-determination and purpose. No one was allowed to give up, lose focus, or complain of boredom. “Only boring people are bored,” she would admonish. The one human behavior she could not accept and would not abide was unkindness. As much as she loved to teach, direct, and perform as an actor, Barbara June was everyone’s best audience. You could see her leaning forward in her seat with appetite for how each story would unfold. Her own story?: She was sister to Roy and Sally, aunt of eight; found love and contentment with her third husband, Rodney Patterson, who preceded her in death; mother to Wendy, Penny, and Marianne; grandmother to Luke and Eric, great-grandmother to Jayden, Jacob, and Grant. Barbara June Patterson was a teacher, mentor, colleague, muse, confidant, and friend to hundreds who will remember her wit and grit fondly. When asked how she wanted her obituary to read, Barbara June directed, “Just say, ‘I was here. I had a great time. And now . . . I’m gone.’” So here’s the end of the story: Barbara June Patterson died February 21, 2023, in Nashville, Tennessee, with Nashville family at her side, just as the sun was coming up on a new day. Arrangements in the care of Compassion Funeral & Cremation Services, 6949 Charlotte Pike, Suite 104, Nashville, TN 615-857-9955. We proudly remain locally owned & operated.

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Memories Timeline


  1. HPHS hired my husband Tim Conway in 1979 straight out of college.He was so lucky to spend the first 10 years of his career working with Barbara June. She taught him so much about being a teacher. It was an education far above what we could have learned from a book. It was her experience.She loved and supported her students by pushing them to achieve way beyond what they could originally imagine. Barbara June could pull performances out of high school kids that were way beyond their experiences. She had a way of making each one of them feel special, integral, important.Barbara June really was one in a million! ❤️

  2. My deepest sympathies on her passing, but I have a smile on my face knowing how much joy and light she brought to the world. I took several of her classes in high school and have the expression “Stan the Man” etched into my mind. I remember her as flamboyant but not phony, which is a delicate balancing act to pull off. She helped so many students learn about life through the medium of the theater, and I for one learned to appreciate both more as a result. She will be missed but her memory will always be a blessing.

  3. Barbara June had a life-long impact on my family. My brothers and I all took acting lessons from her back in the late 70’s, early 80’s, and it seems we’ve never stopped talking about her since. One of the most quoteable, dynamic, and learned people I’ve had the pleasure to know. Barbara June was also funny without trying- her wit was radiant, as was she. Like moths to a flame, her students encircled her with amazement and awe; a true testament to her effect on the world around her. What a teacher, what a person, what a soul. God speed, Barbara June.

  4. If you’re really lucky, you meet a person like Barbara June once in your life. If you’re really smart, you hold her close, as I’ve done for nearly fifty years. As a director of high school acting students, she urged us to become our fullest selves. “Loud and bell-like,” she would shout to us from the house when we were tentative and mumbling. Loud and bell-like is the legacy she leaves behind in thousands of her students in every corner of the globe. Thank you, Barbara. I love you. That’s all. That’s everything.

  5. To “Ma Greener” Your beautiful spirit, positively, and zest for life shared with those of us at a young and impressionable age, surely, made a difference!!! I will always smile when hearing your name mentioned. Thank you for being you and sharing you with me❤️Ava Gordon Rezak

  6. BJP was an integral part of my existence as a high schooler in the early 80s. She recruited me when I was in Junior High School to be in the high school musical “Gypsy”, and ushered me aside during that experience and told me I was a special talent and an “up and comer”. She mentored me into the world of acting, always so gentle with the easily-bruised adolescent ego. While I decided against making acting a vocation, those experiences are amongst the most profound of my life and color the way I move in the world, and how I experience artistry to this day. I am so happy to know she lived such a full, long, and happy life – she deserved it. Best to her and her family, Dr. Michael Unger (the 2nd Michael Unger who passed through HPHS under her mentorship, not the first who is a first class actor and director to this day – we were both in Gypsy together, confusingly in the program as “Mike Unger” and “Michael Unger”).

  7. Barbara June & I met only briefly at a book club here at our senior facility. Her youthful enthusiasm & vitality for life struck me so wonderfully & I couldn’t wait to meet with her again. I am deeply affected by her loss, but her obituary so accurately portrays her light within.Thank you for sharing her with us. Sincerely, Mary Ann Russell

  8. Dear Penny ,Marianne and Wendy My heart and deepest condolences go out to you and your family today for the loss of your Mother. I hope that God gives you strength and courage in your deep time of grieving .l am sharing a photo I have of me and Penny and your Mom on a London trip many years ago We saw shows every day sometimes twice a day and then stayed with the Greener family out in the country . There was no bathroom just an outhouse and we reluctantly shared a heating pad to stay warm . I went to Guthrie theatre with Mrs Patterson to see plays and she attended my outside Concerts and encouraged me for many years . As I slowly lost touch with her in person my hopes and my dreams always included her even on the day of her Death. Nothing compared to her strength and resolve and magnitude of knowledge . She once gave me a necklace with a large cross and I cherish it forever. Her spirit has always been with me regardless of our distance .In my Heart today I wish her to rest in peace and may God bless you and your family !As so many of my colleagues who were touched by her presence and know this endearment I say Thank you “Mom”

  9. Beautiful, kind, smart and witty. Her soul was painted with gold and her heart was full of love. She will be greatly missed and always remembered. Barbara June, thank you for loving me and my children.

  10. Only God makes stars – BJP Now shes amongst the stars, might even be one. Thanks Barb! Much love to you and your family, Jeremy Sklar

    A Memorial Tree was planted in memory of Barbara June Patterson
  11. BJ Greener, as I always knew her, was a glowing inspiration to me, as an actress, an artist and as a woman. She was so fun, loving, irreverent, extremely talented, dedicated to her students and her daughters, in short, a real woman, a “woman’s woman.” I truly owe her so much, taught me so much about life. She will be sorely missed and fondly remembered. Break a leg up there, Barbara June!

  12. Q: What will you never forget about Barbara? A: Barbara June was one of my residents. I will never forget the day she moved in. The first time I went into her room, she had the most purest smile that just lit up the entire room. Barbara shortly became the person I’d look forward to seeing every day I came into work. She was the spotlight of the entire facility. There was never a day that I could take her for a walk through the garden, stroll the hallway, or even take her to get her hair done without someone stopping to talk to her. She greeted everyone with a smile, a hug, and a kiss on the cheek. She was my diary. She was my best friend. Barbara June would sit and listen, give advice, and just make everything better. When I get old, I want to be just like Barbara June. ~Adriana

  13. In loving memory of an Angel who lived here amongst us on Earth. Barbara June Patterson was my acting teacher, mentor, guide, savior, guardian angel, Life coach, confidante and so much more in the four years spent with her in the drama department at Highland Park High School 1974 to 1978. She’s one of the pivotal people in my life who helped me find my way. I am so blessed delighted thrilled and appreciative to have spent this time with her. That laugh and smile and look that said you can do anything you set your mind to is embedded in my heart mind and soul. I to this day implement everything she taught me. Including the ability to help people recognize and nurture capabilities and potential within themselves to fruition. I drove to Minneapolis where she was living in 2005 to thank her in person for her significant role and impact in my life. She did not look a day older. She was holding court in a restaurant where everyone walked up and said hi to her and we carried on as if we hadn’t missed a day. That last hug from her is embedded in the depth of my being. What I learned from her regarding voice, acting, storytelling, improv, directing, set design, how to nurture talent – and so much more – led me on a path that took me to what I do now. Thank you for your grace. Envisioning your Soul, on any plane of existence, in any form of existence, through all of existence: safe blessed happy loved honored joyful and healthy. Much love – Marc St.Camille a.k.a. Camil M. Zargarpoor

  14. A life well lived. Hats off to you Barbara June, at your passing for the many lives you touched. Rest in Peace. Leslie Denbo

  15. Barbara June Patterson I have had the most fun having Her as My favorite client and friend. Love Laurie

    A Memorial Tree was planted in memory of Barbara June Patterson
  16. Our thoughts are with Barbara Junes Nashville family. Love you guys!

    A Memorial Tree was planted in memory of Barbara June Patterson
  17. I knew Barbara June during her years living in Nashville. We met at the beauty shop soon after she arrived. We started having monthly luncheons over which we discussed many topics. Barbara June always amazed me with her stories, intellect, interest in everyone she met and on and on… What a unique qand wonderful lady she was. I couldn’t help but to grow from every opportunity I had to talk/be with her. My heart breaks knowing she isn’t with us anymore. I feel like I lost some enrichment of my life when we lost Barbara June. My love and condolences goes out to Marianne, Penny, Lane, her family, and all who loved Barbara June. Judy Jean Chapman

  18. Barbara has been my closest friend from the first day I met her many years ago. When we were neighbors at the CUMBERLAND ON CHURCH we shared an almost daily ritual of brunch/lunch and a lively discussion of whatever happened to be in the news. She never met a stranger and when we would venture out along the streets of downtown Nashville, it would take us quite some time to make our way back to our residence at the Cumberland because Everyone we passed wanted to talk to Barbara. I met most of the new friends I acquired downtown thru Barbara June. She was never without a smile on her lips and a kind word for a friend. I will miss her like no other person I have ever known! Michael Castle

  19. Barbara June changed my life. She was the spark that set in motion my 30 years of work in theater and performance. She affirmed my belief in the meaningfulness of art and living a creative life. Being a part of the theater at Highland Park High School taught me that living fully engaged and inspired by a thing you feel passionate about is the only way to be! Sending so much love to you Barbara June, as you transform into whatever is beyond. I never thanked you enough for all you did for me! -Clare Dolan

  20. I really loved Barbara June. Every time I would see her at The Woman’s Club, I knew she would bring me joy! What a wonderful lady!

  21. Q: How did you meet Barbara? A: Barbara June and I met at the Woman’s Club of Nashville. Her sparkle was contagious and I felt like I had met a life long friend. She was truly an inspiration.

  22. I met Barbara June and her husband, Rodney, years ago when I was waitressing at the Original Pancake House of Edina (in Minnesota). We called them, The Actress and the Prompter, because while waiting for breakfast to arrive, she’d often go through her lines from a show at the Guthrie Theatre, with Rodney following along, script in hand. All of the servers loved them. And, as her obit testifies, Barbara June brought the light to that suburban cafe, with her warm smile, quit wit and truly caring personality. She always took time to listen to our stories, after we’d rattled off the specials for the day. We loved her stories as well. I remember her telling about her teaching days in Chicago, and of encouraging a troubled boy to audition for a play she was directing, “West Side Story.” That play would be the catalyst for turning that boy’s life around, and of his going on to help thousands of veterans in the world. I think of Barbara June every year when I watch the Memorial Day Concert on PBS, a moving show hosted by that former student of hers, Gary Sinise. Had it not been for Barbara June reaching out to the young future actor, most likely thousands of veterans would not have received the help and support offered by the Gary Sinise Foundation. Thank you, Barbara June, for sharing your light with so many over the years, including this former waitress who’s richer for having known you, even for a brief season. Rest in peace, dear lady. Sincerely, Dawn Schimpp Timbs (I will try to attach a photo I took of Barbara June and Rodney years ago at the pancake house)

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