"I knew Dick for about 40 years," Criner said and laughed. "We met in karate class. Dick was the oldest living white belt. He never took a belt test."
The two played together almost every day. Criner said Patton loved music but never took himself too seriously.
One of the last songs Criner said his friend wrote was one called, "You can't be unhappy in a hammock."
"He liked to make people laugh," Criner said. "He liked to have a good time."
That wasn't always easy according to Criner and Snyder.
"He had a lot of health problems," Snyder said.
Patton couldn't work as a pilot after open-heart surgery, Snyder said. He couldn't work as much of anything and was on medical disability. A diabetic who often didn't manage his disease, his health remained shaky for years, not that anybody knew.
In 2009, Snyder and Patton started the Colesmouth Concert Series at the Alban Arts Center. It began as a showcase for local singer/songwriters, though has since expanded to include both regional and occasionally even international acts, like Mediterranean jazz guitarist Marco Pinna, who will appear Saturday.
However, in October 2009, while the series was still new, Snyder said he got a call from Patton, who told him he'd have to do the show without him.
Patton said, "I'm sorry, I can't make it."
Snyder asked him, "What's up?"
Patton was in the hospital for congestive heart failure. He'd been sick for days, refused to see a doctor and eventually, an ambulance had to be called to take him to the hospital.
Snyder said it wasn't just an unwillingness to seek treatment. Patton struggled financially, and even while he was getting assistance, having nothing to contribute embarrassed him. He'd avoid even getting medicine or going to the doctor if he had nothing to give.
"Most people didn't know that, either."
Still, Patton's death last year came as a surprise to Snyder and Criner. While often not feeling very well because of his medication regimen, Patton seemed to be doing OK.
"But his organs were shutting down," Snyder said.
He died Nov. 10, 2012, of congestive heart failure.
Snyder and Criner said the concert is a chance for Patton's friends to pay their respects one more time and honor his contribution to the music community, while helping take some of the burden off the wife and college-age daughter he left behind.
"He helped a lot of people," Snyder said.
Criner added, "He was everybody's friend."
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.