PHOENIX, Ariz. – James Robert Pettus, age 92, died on Tuesday, September 26th, in Phoenix, Arizona.
Mr. Pettus is survived by a wife, Rose Carter Pettus, and two children, Leann Lane and Benjamin Pettus. He also left behind six grandchildren: Jillian Campbell, Adam Lane, Erica Peery, Amy Pettus, Erin Pettus and Benjamin Pettus Jr. Mr. Pettus was also blessed with eleven great-grandchildren: Molly, Abigail, Emily, Lily, Mae, Sawyer, Ruby, Bennett, Shepherd, Hayes and Jackson.
Jim was a veteran of World War II where he earned several Citations and Medals for extraordinary service including the Bronze Star, given for “Extreme Courage and Disregard for His Own Safety” in a combat situation.
Jim grew up in Flat River, Missouri, the son of James Robert Pettus Sr. and Sylvia A. Pettus. He is survived by a sister, Davalee Bohnenkamp and a brother, Wallace Pettus. Jim’s other sister, Helen Ruth Blackwell had previously passed away. After World War II, Jim graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.S. in Geology and married Ruth Pettus nee McNail, who joined the Lord in 2016. After working for a time in St. Louis, Jim spent his career as a geologist for the St. Joe Lead Company in both the Old and New Lead Belts. He was known for his great attention to detail and had mentored many junior geologists. Jim was also an accomplished woodworker and photographer and greatly enjoyed both. Jim retired after 33 years of highly respected work. In retirement Jim continued to pursue woodworking and photography, along with his passion for golf.
Mr. Pettus (Pete to his Army buddies) served for three years in the United States Army Infantry and fought in the European Theatre in front-line combat through France and Germany. Jim was the only man in his squad that wasn’t killed or wounded. The Rainbow Division, with whom he fought, finished the war in Munich, Germany and Liberated the Dachau Concentration Camp, of which Jim was always very proud. His discipline and patriotism never left him and the friendships with those whom he fought was one of his greatest joys. Jim stayed active in Rainbow Division Veterans Organization until his death, maintaining the close friendships of Comrades in Arms and making new friends. Jim served for a time as President of the Rainbow Division Veterans Organization and attended their reunions each year. One of Jim’s final honors was attending the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of Dachau in 2015, where he and four other Liberators were honored at both the American Consulate in Munich and at Commemoration Ceremony at the Camp.
Jim was an active member in the United Methodist Church throughout his life, and has gone home to The Lord.
Visitation services will be held at 10 a.m. on October 14th, at Taylor Avenue Methodist Church in Park Hills, Missouri. The funeral will be held the same day at 1 p.m., also at Taylor Avenue Methodist Church. Jim will be interred at St. Francois Memorial Park. Memorial donations to the “Rainbow Division Veterans Foundation” would be appreciated. www.rainbowvets.org.