Sporting KC mourns death of co-owner Neal Patterson - KCTV5

Sporting KC mourns death of co-owner Neal Patterson

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Lamar Hunt, left, Neal Patterson, center, and Clif Illig hold up a Wizards jersey during a press conference announcing the sale of the Kansas City Wizards at the Overland Park Convention Center, Aug. 31, 2006. (AP Photo/The Kansas City Star, John Sleezer) Lamar Hunt, left, Neal Patterson, center, and Clif Illig hold up a Wizards jersey during a press conference announcing the sale of the Kansas City Wizards at the Overland Park Convention Center, Aug. 31, 2006. (AP Photo/The Kansas City Star, John Sleezer)
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

The sports world joins those in mourning the loss of Neal Patterson, co-founder of Cerner Corporation and co-owner of Sporting Kansas City.

The 67-year-old billionaire died Saturday following complications from cancer.

Patterson revolutionized the way the world accesses medical records as a business man in the startup of Cerner, but he also had an infectious passion for winning.

“He was a driving force in saving a major-league team in our community,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said of Patterson.

Vermes, like many others, knew Patterson as a strong, vibrant man. They fully expected him to beat his cancer.

“He was a brilliant, compassionate, strong fighter, and it’s easy to think cancer is not going to take this person,” said Alan Dietrich, chief operating officer of Sporting KC.

“I was completely taken aback; it came extremely unexpected,” Vermes said.

Before becoming chief operating officer, Dietrich worked with Patterson for 13 years at Cerner.

Dietrich can attest that Patterson’s mantra never changed: determine the goal, work hard to accomplish it and inspire others to demand the best.

“The drive and pursuit of excellence in everything he did and wanting everyone else to have that same pursuit every day,” Dietrich said.

“It’s hard to describe, he just has that presence about him,” said Seth Sinovic of Sporting KC.

Jake Reid, president of Sporting KC, said Patterson was demanding, but fair.

However, there was a fun side to Patterson too, like the time he and Reid met for a drink before a meeting.

“I had a tie on as I always do. He whipped out a knife from his back pocket and cut it off and said, ‘you’re not going to wear a tie in a bar.’ I was extremely terrified but also felt I had made it at that point,” said Reid.

Tuesday night’s Sporting KC game at Children’s Mercy Park will go on as scheduled at 7:30 p.m. because the players say that’s what Patterson would want.

There will be a moment of silence and other ways to honor Patterson and his memory at the game.

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