Merida, Yucatan — Adolfo Patron Luján, who in retirement returned to his native Merida to become a key figure in Yucatan’s cultural life, died Saturday at 93. He is survived by his wife, Margarita Molina Zaldivar de Patron, also of Merida, and several children and grandchildren.
The philanthropist and noted chemist was a major supporter of symphony music and opera, leading him to be the founder of several boards such as the Conservatorio de Las Rosas in Morelia, Michoacán, and the Fundación Pro-Ópera in Mexico City.
Locally he is best remembered as founder and first president of the Board of Trustees of the Yucatan Symphony Orchestra in 2001. He held the position until 2014, when his wife succeeded him.
He was also a promoter of the state system of Youth Orchestras and Choirs, which helped young people develop their talents.
Yucatan’s secretary of culture and arts, Érica Millet Corona, lamented the death of “a great man whose vision changed the cultural life of Yucatan.”
Patron was also remembered for his “great genius and his warm smile,” said Leila Voight, director of La Cupula Cultural Center and a family friend, in a Facebook post today.
Patron was born in Merida on Dec. 19, 1926. He completed his early studies at the Escuela Modelo, but by 1941 his family moved to Mexico City where he completed his high school studies and obtained a degree in chemistry at the National School of Chemical Sciences of the National Autonomous University of Mexico in 1949. He later earned a master’s degree in senior management at the Pan-American Institute of Senior Business Management (IPADE).
He worked from a young age, with his brother Roger, in a company called Resistol Adhesives, founded by his father Rodolfo Patron Tenorio, which produced adhesives from cassava starch. He is credited with its growth in the 1970s when it became one of the largest chemical companies in Mexico. Over the years, the family business partnered with other international companies to form the Industrial Resistol Group, which becoming one of the main and most diversified chemical consortiums in Mexico. What started in 1934 with five employees became, half a century later, a conglomerate of more than 20 companies, listed on the Mexican Stock Exchange, with around 5,000 workers.
He was also a director of other industrial companies such as Crisoba, part of Kimberly Clark. He participated in Nylamid, Ecko, Electroquímica Mexicana, Ponderosa de Chihuahua, Siderúrgica Mexicana and Industrias Lanzagorta. He was also a director of Mexican financial groups such as Banamex, Seguros América, Probursa, Sidek and Situr.
In his duties as a promoter of culture and education in Mexico, he was president of the board of trustees of the Iberoamerican University, which in 1987 awarded him with the Bene Merenti Medal for his work as a benefactor, and later, the Higher Cultural Fund of the Board of Trustees of the same university awarded him the Tlamatini award for his career achievements.
In 2001, he and his wife left Mexico City for Merida, escaping what he saw as an increasingly crowded metropolis packed with aggressive people.
“Where there is art, there are no weapons, because they are not necessary, since reasoned dialogue and the search for the common good are possible,” he said in 2015 when the Anahuac Mayab University presented him with their Leadership Medal.
Interviewed last fall by La Jornada Maya, Patron was asked to share the biggest lesson he learned in life.
“Not being selfish, I think that is it. Take care of others,” he replied. “Giving is delicious.”
With information from Wikipedia, La Jornada Maya