dorothy_patterson_web.jpgSpecial to South Florida Times

MIAMI — The program was billed as a Mother-Daughter Fashion Show/Luncheon, and it was.

The star of the show, however, in the Long Fellowship Hall at the Church of the Open Door, 6001 N.W. Eighth St. in Liberty City, didn’t have a daughter to walk down the runway with her. In fact, the “Golden Diva” model in the show, 98-year-old Doris Patterson, has outlived her children.

Still, there she was, strutting down the runway, wearing what she called her “vintage” attire and literally stealing the show.

Smoothing her skirt later backstage, Patterson said, “I don't know why they wanted me in this show … young people wouldn't wear these clothes.”

The petite woman who boasts that she is the oldest member of the church still sings alto in the church choir. “They just keep me there to fill the space,” she said, laughing.


In the segment called “church chic,” Patterson wore a black-and-white suit. And true to her upbringing, she wore white gloves (ladies of her era always wore gloves to church)  and a stylish black hat.

 As she modeled her outfit, Patterson paused long enough to remove her gloves and place them in her black purse, giving the audience a wide smile.

Asked to what she attributed her good health and longevity, Patterson quickly replied, "I don't complain. I feel so good, and if I want to do something, I just go on and do whatever I want."


Patterson said her favorite foods are fish and chicken. "Maybe that's why I've lived so long … And I love people. I love everybody."

Later Patterson modeled in the after-five segment. Wearing a black-and-white sequined top and a long, black knit skirt, she was escorted by her nephew Kelson Roberts, the only man in the show.

“I didn't know I was going to be in the show,” Roberts said. “I drove her to the show and left. By the time I got home she was calling me telling me to come back and be her escort. She even told me what to wear,” he said with a laugh. “I got back there as fast as I could.”

Other models included Ayana Clenance, Vonkevia Davis, Debra and Rayonna Manning, Gabrielle and Faith Bishop, Kierstan and Alexis Sapp, Kara and Kathy Smith, Amani and Ameena Shaheed, Lisa and Leah Anderson, Phyllis Carswell, Barbara Gardner, Deja Stephen, and the Herring sisters Raziya, 10, Serenete, 7 and Emperesse, 5.


The event was chaired by Cynthia Clark  and Jackie Clenance, and was sponsored by the church's Circle Two women's organization.

At the close of the event Clark said, "Here at the church we praise God in many ways… this (luncheon) is just one more way to say, 'Lord, we thank you.' "

Photo:  Dorothy Patterson