Renita Collins Patterson was born on February 20, 1962 in Chicago, IL to the late Leon and Gertrude Collins. She was the eldest daughter of five children born to this union, and was preceded in death by her oldest brothers, Kenneth and Ronald.
Renita attended John C. Haines Elementary School and graduated from Dunbar Vocational High School in 1980. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Loyola University Chicago in 1984. She worked in corporate banking for over 15 years until she made the decision to pursue her true passion: teaching. In 2002, she enrolled at National Louis University, and she received her Master of Arts degree in Education in 2004.
During her years of employment as a teacher, Renita mainly taught middle school math. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Renita also readily taught other subjects, including social studies and literature. But her favorite subject to teach, by far, was math. She truly loved teaching and had an infectious passion for learning. She loved all of her students, and her students loved her right back!
Outside the classroom, Renita also honed her teaching skills on her two daughters, Ashlee and Alexandria. She liked to call them her “first students.” In her lessons with them, Renita stressed the importance of faith, love, respect and responsibility. Her most treasured lesson: stay true to yourself.
Renita loved to talk and had an opinion about everything. She listened with a gentle and attentive ear. One of her favorite things to do was to crack jokes, and she never passed up an opportunity to make others smile. Renita loved to laugh. Her laughter was comforting, and you could hear it from a mile away!
Renita loved her family and friends, and her love will live on in the hearts of her daughters, Ashlee (Alan) and Alexandria. Her memory will be cherished by her sister Veronica and her brother Mark, along with a host of treasured family members, friends, and students.