Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — BEULAH — Jay S. Pettitt Jr., 87, of Beulah, died peacefully at his home on Crystal Lake on July 9, 2013. He was born to the late Jay S. Pettitt Sr. and Florence (Newman) Pettitt on Jan. 6, 1926, in Detroit.
Jay graduated from Redford High School in 1943, served in the U.S. Army during World War II and received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Michigan in 1951.
He married the love of his life, Ruth Elizabeth (Voigt) Pettitt in 1947, and they raised their family in Redford Township before moving “Up North” in 1988.
Jay worked at Albert Kahn Associates from 1951 to 1988. He held many positions, including vice president, director of architecture, and was a principal of the firm. One of his most notable accomplishments was overseeing the replacement of the University of Michigan Hospital.
He was active in the Michigan Society of Architects, serving as its president in 1967. He was also recognized as a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects (FAIA).
Jay was the fourth generation of Pettitts to live in or near Benzonia. His great-grandfather, the Rev. John Pettitt (1799-1879) came to Benzonia with his family in 1867 when it was still wilderness. The family has been involved with the economic, religious, political and educational development of Benzie County for over 150 years with Jay carrying on the family tradition of serving the community through work with the Crystal Lake and Watershed Association and the Benzie Area Historical Museum. In 1990 he was appointed to the Benzie County Building Authority where he was involved in the expansion of the Government Center, Benzie County Jail and the restoration of the Point Betsie Lighthouse. From 1993 to 1996 Jay was the deputy supervisor and then supervisor for Benzonia Township. Most recently he was overseeing the design and replacement of The Maples, Benzie County Medical Care Facility. Jay was delighted to participate in the ground breaking ceremony on June 14, 2013.
Through the years Jay enjoyed many weekends sailing and downhill skiing with his family. He was an avid Michigan football fan and attended all home games for many years.
Jay was preceded in death by his wife of 46 years, Ruth; and his siblings, E. Newman Pettitt, Phyllis Pettitt and Elizabeth (Biz) Gazlay.
He is survived by his children, J. Stuart Pettitt (Debbie), Laura Pettitt (Bob), Lynn Pettitt (Mike) and Carol Friendly (Ian); seven wonderful grandchildren; and his adorable great-granddaughter.
The family extends its thanks to the many friends and caregivers who supported Jay during his recent illness.
A memorial service will be held on Aug. 5, 2013, at 11 a.m., at the First Congregational Church U.C.C. of Benzonia.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Benzie County Animal Shelter, the Michigan Architectural Foundation or The Maples.
The Bennett-Barz Funeral Home in Beulah is in charge of arrangements.