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Willis Pettit


Will Pettit passed away peacefully in his sleep Friday morning, April 26, 2013. He was 77.
A resident of Kansas City since 1960, Pettit’s career was devoted to the field of fashion. Starting as a fashion illustrator at Harzfeld’s and then Macy’s advertising department, he later joined the Jones Store Company. Upon retirement as advertising director for the Jones Store Company, where his responsibilities ranged from creating newspaper advertisements, catalogs and fashion photography set up, he began painting again at the age of 72. He donated a number of his paintings to support local charities.
Will was born March 6, 1936, to George W. and Opal Pettit in Humboldt. He was raised in Iola, where he was educated. He graduated from Wichita East High School and then from Wichita State University in 1958. He was president of his junior class at Wichita State and a member of Pi Alpha Pi fraternity. He loved to travel and especially enjoyed trips with Roger Ward and the Nelson Atkins Society of Fellows, as well as with Beth Ingram and Lisa Sicola guiding the Lyric Opera Guild. Some of his favorite places were Italy, France, Turkey, San Francisco, New York and Chicago. He especially enjoyed a trip to Venice at the Gritti Palace at Christmas 2001 with Scott Lindsay and Marcia Garvin. He traveled to San Miguel de Allende for more than 25 years to relish the artistic community, the food, the pace and the company of friends.
Will was a great cook, who loved to entertain and was a wonderful sought-after dance partner at many balls. There will be fabulous souffles, baked Alaskas and dancing in heaven. Will enjoyed many wonderful dinners and trips with the International Wine and Food Society and trips to New Orleans with Scott and friends, Tom and Connie Black. He attended Russell Patterson’s Buzzards Bay Musicfest every year, then traveled on to Boston, Gloucester, and Essex, Mass., for antiquing. He took many trips to Santa Barbara and Laguna Beach, Calif. He loved planting and caring for flowers and his mint. He fed the birds all winter. In addition, he loved to iron beautiful linens. He found it relaxing and rewarding.
Will was very generous with his time and talents to his many friends. He was a member of the Kansas City Club, Rockhill Club, Carriage Club, Lyric Opera Guild and the Society of Fellows at the Nelson-Atkins Museum. Will is survived by his friend of over 50 years, Scott Lindsay; his sister, Virginia (Pettit) King, Idaho Falls, Idaho; numerous nieces and nephews; and countless friends.
At Will’s request, there was a cremation with no services. Memorial contributions may be sent to the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.


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