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Robert J. Pettit 1938-2013

August 20, 2013
Emmetsburg News

RUTHVEN -- A Mass of Christian Burial for Robert J. Pettit was held Monday, Aug. 19, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Spencer. Concelebrants were the Rev. Bill Schreiber and the Rev. Tom Geelan.

Interment was in Riverside Cemetery, Spencer. The Martin-Mattice Funeral Home in Ruthven was in charge of arrangements.

Robert Joseph Pettit, son of Claude J. and Marie B. (Frederick) Pettit, was born Dec. 23, 1938 in Emmetsburg.He attended several area schools including St. Ellen's Catholic School in Emmetsburg, Sacred Heart Catholic and Spencer High schools in Spencer and graduated from Roosevelt High School in Des Moines. He served in the Iowa National Guard and was stationed in San Francisco, CA during his service.

The Pettit family was best known for its musical talents.Bob and his sisters, accompanied on the piano by Marie, toured the Midwest, singing in several area fairs and events, eventually landing in Chicago. From there, the family moved to Los Angeles and began performing regularly on the George Gobel Show as "The Kids Next Door." Their success grew as they recorded albums and performed with both comedic and musical celebrities.

Missing his home state, Bob returned to Iowa and worked as a salesman in several area businesses in Spencer. In 1984 Bob was appointed Ruthven city clerk, and became a friendly community fixture for the next 20 years. He retired in 2004 to spend more time with family and friends and pursue his interests. Bob enjoyed hunting, fishing and golfing and was an avid Iowa Hawkeye and Emmetsburg E-Hawk football fan.

On June 23, 1973, Bob married Kathryn Patrick at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Spencer. The couple had met a year earlier serving as best man and bridesmaid at their mutual friends' wedding. To this union, two children were born, Paul Joseph and Molly Frances.

Bob never strayed from his love of music. He was a member of the band Spectrum 70 and continued to perform on his own around the Iowa Great Lakes area. He also performed in both Emmetsburg and Spencer Community Theater productions. In 2008, he and his sisters were inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Arnolds Park. As an active parishioner at Spencer Sacred Heart Church, Bob participated in the parish choir.

Bob passed away Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013 at Mercy Medical Center in Mason City after a brief illness at the age of 74. He was preceded in death by his parents, Claude and Marie; his sisters, Alice McEvoy Blackstock and Mary Blake.

He is survived by his wife, Kathy, of Ruthven; his children Paul (Rachel) Pettit of Des Moines and Molly (Matthew) Sutton of Flagstaff, AZ; his grandson, Nicholas Pettit; brothers Donald (Mary Ann) Pettit of Reno, NV; Claude Pettit and Thomas Pettit of Emmetsburg; sisters Patricia Crowell of Bullhead City, AZ and Claudia (Larry) Prince of Ruthven, as well as many other relatives and friends.

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