The Retired United Pilots Association, RUPA, was organized in October 1963 by several pioneer UAL pilots who wanted an opportunity to keep in touch with old friends and get better acquainted with other past UAL pilots. It all started when Dick Petty wrote Bill Kennedy suggesting the retired pilots of UAL form a Social Organization to keep in contact with each other. At the first meeting in October 1963, Bill Kennedy was elected President, Bill Williams VP and Harry Huking Secretary Treasurer. Since the beginning RUPA has had a total of 27 Presidents.
Patterson was born on a sugarcane plantation in Waipahu on Oahu, Hawaii. When Patterson was 13, his widowed mother moved to San Francisco, California, while he remained at Honolulu Military Academy. Not liking the academy, he decided to leave. He persuaded a captain to allow him to work on his ship in exchange for passage to San Francisco.