Born at Watford, Ontario, C. F. Patterson graduated from Ontario Agricultural College with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree, then took his Masterís and Doctorate degrees in Urbana, Illinois.
He came to the Saskatoon campus of the University of Saskatchewan in 1921 as a lecturer in horticulture, under the late Dean Rutherford of the College of Agriculture. In the following year, a department of horticulture was organized, and plans laid for a program of fruit variety testing and fruit breeding.
In his 39 years as head of the horticulture department at the University of Saskatchewan, Dr. Patterson and his staff were responsible for the introduction of more than 30 new varieties of hardy fruits, including apples, pears, plums, cherries, raspberries and strawberries. He was also responsible for an improved potato variety, well adapted to Prairie growing conditions.
In the realm of floriculture, Dr. Pattersonís name became synonymous with a collection of lily varieties in pink, white, rose and other colors, the result of 25 years of patient crossing and selection. Other flower introductions included geraniums and gladioli.
Dr. Patterson was a charter member of the Agricultural Institute of Canada, a Fellow of the American Society for the Advancement of Science, a charter member of Western Canadian Society for Horticulture, and an honorary life member of the Saskatchewan Horticultural Societies Association. It was said at the time of his death on February 20, 1961, that Dr. Pattersonís greatest reward was the knowledge that his long labor brought greater productiveness and more beauty to many a Prairie garden and joy to many a Prairie gardener.