TROY, Mich. (FOX 2) - The community will say goodbye and honor the life today of L. Brooks Patterson, the man who was the leader of Oakland County for more than 25 years.
His funeral is today at Woodside Bible Church on Rochester Road in Troy. A public visitation begins at 11 a.m. and goes until 1 p.m. Then at 1:30 the funeral will begin, which is also open to the public.
The church was picked because it can hold more than 2,000 people so a big crowd is expected. You can follow along live with the service with the livestream on our website here.
Patterson, a Republican who seemed to revel in confrontation during his decades of leading wealthy Oakland County north of Detroit, died Saturday, Aug. 3. He was 80.
Patterson died at his Independence Township home, months after announcing he had late-stage pancreatic cancer, spokesman Bill Mullan said. He was halfway through a seventh term as county executive, but said in March that he would not seek re-election next year.
Patterson had been Oakland County's chief since 1993 and served as its prosecutor from 1973 to 1988. In 1972, he served as attorney for a group that was opposing a federal judge's order for school busing integration.
The outspoken Republican had a history of verbally sparring with other regional leaders, especially those in Detroit. He apologized last year after saying he'd rather join the Ku Klux Klan than a group of CEOs he had accused of snatching business from Oakland County to benefit Detroit.
Patterson was born in Indiana in 1939 and grew up on Detroit's west side, according to a news release from the county. He earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Detroit and returned to the school to get his law degree after serving in the Army.
At the March news conference, Patterson said his priorities were to beat the cancer, however low the odds, and lead the county until his term ended.
Many are vying after the empty seat right now, and the Oakland County board is currently interviewing finalists.
The Associated Press contributed to this report