"Katherine Womeldorf Paterson was born on October 31, 1932, in Tsing-Tsiang pu, China, to Southern Presbyterian missionaries. World War II forced the family to flee China twice to North Carolina.
Educated at King College in Tennessee, the Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Virginia, and Union Theological Seminary in New York, Paterson followed in her parents' footsteps, serving as a missionary to Japan from 1957 to 1961 after a brief stint as a public school teacher in Lovettsville, Virginia. After her marriage to John Paterson on July 14, 1962, Paterson moved with him first to Takoma Park, Maryland, and then to Norfolk, Virginia. They have four children."
THere is more of a biography here:http://www.enotes.com/bridge-terabithia-qn/48994