RENO, NV -- Francis (Fran)?Alfred Pettit, passed away at Reeds Manor in Reno, NV, on Friday, May 16, 2014. He was 98 years old.
Fran was born Dec. 17, 1915 on the Buell farm near Fenton, the second of eight children born to Alfred A. and Elizabeth Kliegl Pettit. His early years were spent on the farm in Iowa and on the farm in Meadowlands, MN. In 1925, his father was shot in the hip while deer hunting and hospitalized for a long period, so the family moved back to Iowa and settled in Emmetsburg. Fran attended school in Emmetsburg and graduated from St. Mary's Academy in 1933.
After graduation, Fran clerked at Freeman's grocery store until 1937, when he left for Reno, NV to see his uncle Nathan (Nick)?and Aunt June Pettite Abelman. His uncle was a well known early gaming figure in Nevada. At first, his uncle didn't want Fran to get into the gaming business, but he relented after Fran was robbed and abducted from the Grand Central service station where he worked. Fran went to work for his uncle Nick first at the Stateline County Club at Lake Tahoe, then at the Riverside Hotel and Casino in Reno.
During World War II, Fran served in the Navy aboard the USS?Heywood APA - 6. His ship was engaged in most of the naval landings in the South Pacific, to include Guadalcanal, Attu, Kiska, Tarawa, Kwajalein, Enewetok, Saipan, Tinian, Leyte Gulf and Lingayen Gulf. After his honorable discharge from the Navy, he returned to Reno.
In 1946, Fran was the first pit boss in the Sky Room of the newly opened Mapes Hotel and Casino. Over the years, Fran worked at most of the clubs in the area, including clubs at Lake Tahoe, The Riverside, Palace Club, Mapes and Harrah's in Reno and the Silver Club in Sparks. He retired in the Fall of 1977.
Fran is survived by his sister Phyllis Fisher of Reno, NV; her son Raymond (Kristen)?Kunz, and family of Austin, TX; his brother, Patrick Pettit of Biloxi, MS; his good friend, Alonzo Kaapana of Reno, NV; his first cousin William Pettite of Fair Oaks,?CA; his nephew, Don (Mary Ann)?Pettit and family; his niece, Vivian (Randy) Sutherland and family, all of Lemmon Valley; and several other beloved nieces, nephews and cousins across the country.
He was preceded in death by his father and mother; four brothers, Cyril, Wil-liam, James and Claude; and his sister, Sister Liam Pettit O.S.F.
A Funeral Mass was celebrated at Our Lady of Snows Catholic Church on Thursday, May 29. Burial followed in the Masonic Memorial Gardens. Arrangements were entrusted to Ross Burke and Knobel Mortuary.
Memorials can be made in Fran's name to Our Lady of Snows Catholic Church on Walker Street.
Thanks to the care givers at Bella Vita Assisted Living, Reeds Manor and St. Mary's Hospice for the loving care Fran received. It was much appreciated.