During World War II, the government took over operation of the airlines, ferrying thousands of GIs to the islands – and proving that large scale air transportation to Hawaiʻi was possible. After the war, William worked diligently to get approval from the Civil Aeronautics Board to obtain permission for a Hawaiʻi route. With CAB approval in 1947, United launched its Hawaiʻi service … but it did so under the direction of a kamaʻāina, who made sure that United’s employees learned about the destination, its culture and language, and the Hawaiʻi tourism industry. United’s Hawaiʻi service prompted the airline to develop strong marketing programs for the state, promoting the islands as “Our Little Corner of the World.” Flight attendants on Hawaiʻi routes wore aloha prints and Hawaiian menu items and tropical drinks were part of the in-flight service.
Although his career took him to great heights, William never forgot his Hawaiʻi roots. He personally funded four year college scholarships to graduates of Waipahu High School. In recognition of his contributions to the Waipahu community, Patterson bridge is named in his honor.