Richard "Dick" Blagdon Pettit died in his home on April 9, 1981 in Ojai, California. He was 57.

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Mr. Pettit was born on December 20, 1923 in Seattle, WA to parents Francis and Elsie Pettit. His childhood years were split between Seattle and Vancouver, BC until he joined the army, playing the trombone in the army band.

Dick joined right after Pearl Harbor, with what he thought was the understanding that he’d be in the band for the duration, but in true army fashion, he was only in the band for a few months before they changed his assignment to the Signal Corps, where he drove logging trucks and strung telephone wire in New Guinea. (He even slipped and fell off a telephone pole once, driving the spike of one boot through his big toe on the other boot when he landed.)

After the war, he continued to play trombone with the Ike Carpenter Jazz Band from 1945-1946, where he met his future bride, Lee Diane, the lead singer in the band. The two were married on April 20, 1946 in Niles, CA and had two children, Elsie Pettit and Lisa Morgan.

Once the dance halls closed, he apprenticed for four years to become a music engraver, a process that is now a lost art, but the only way sheet music was done then. Tools and dies were used to stamp in notes and lyrics, then plates were made of tin/antimony alloy and the notes were printed on the sheets using a star press. A collection of his music engravings currently resides at the University of California - Berkeley.

While raising his children, Dick lived all over the Los Angeles valley. He later settled in Ojai, CA to live and work until he passed away in 1981 from a brain aneurysm.

Dick was a patient and gentle soul. He loved to read and was an incredibly talented musician, playing a variety of instruments including the trombone, recorder, tuba and guitar.

He is survived by his daughters Elsie Pettit (Salt Lake City) and Lisa (Keith) Morgan (Champaign, IL), and granddaughter Lisa (Josh) DeRosa (Salt Lake City).

Life Story Info

Post Date

Sep 11, 2018

Personal Info

Born

Seattle, Washington, United States

Died

Ojai, California, United States

Cause of Death

Stroke

Age

57

Occupation

Arts & Entertainment

Military Affiliation

  • Army

Veteran

  • World War II

Worked For

  • Self-Employed Music Engraver
  • Trombonist in the Ike Carpenter Jazz Band

Education

  • High School
    University High School, Los Angeles, CA
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