Cover photo for William "Bill" Pettit's Obituary
1924 William 2020

William "Bill" Pettit

November 16, 1924 — June 19, 2020

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William “Bill” Pettit, age 95, of Cottage Grove, passed away on June 19, 2020.

Funeral Service 11 AM, Wednesday, June 24, 2020 at Kok Funeral Home, 7676 80 th St S Cottage Grove, MN 55016 with visitation beginning at 9 AM. Burial will be at Union Cemetery. There will be a live stream of Bill's service starting at 11:00 am.  To view the service live, scroll to the bottom of this page and CLICK PLAY to begin.  Please leave a message of support on our Tribute Wall or complete the HeartStrings message form to let the family know you were able to attend the live stream.

He is preceded in death by his brother, Walter David Jr; sister, Mary Jane; nephew, Robert Allen and niece, Alison Lucy.

Bill is survived by his loving wife of 72 years, Shirley; children, David Allen (Nancy) Pettit and Leanne Obernolte; grandchildren, Joylyn, Benjamin, Allyson, Hunter, and Carter; 4 special nieces, Susan, Debra, Julia and Lori. and many great nieces and nephews.

Bill was born on November 16, 1924 to Walter Sr and Julia Pettit. He was the middle child of three between Walter Jr., his role model, and Mary Jane, his fishing buddy and friend.The three lived separated by many miles but were always close at heart. Bill joined his family in Heaven on June 19, 2020.

Bill grew up on Saint Paul’s Eastside. He attended Harrison Elementary, Cleveland Junior High and graduated from Johnson High School on June 18, 1943. Bill and his lifelong best friend Bob Mckenna shared many adventures during those years. They both had great memories including winning the City Football Championship their senior year.

After graduation, Bill joined the Marine corps. He was a radio gunner on an airplane. He did his training in Hawaii. Always a motor head, he thought it was pretty sweet when his pilot would let him fly the plane. Bill was proud to have served his country in Mindanao, Philippines during WWII.

Bill met the love of his life when he returned home. Shirley was the sister of Bob’s wife Bette.The four of them were inseparable. Bill and Shirley were married on July 3, 1948. They made their first home in a small apartment on Maria. They felt like they moved into a castle! Soon after they bought their first home on Sims Ave. Where they made many memories caring for Susan and Debra. Much to Susan’s dismay David joined the family in the spring of 1957. Bill had the unique opportunity of calling Shirley at work to let her know they had a son! February 1,1959 their little family moved into a brand-new home in Cottage Grove, Minnesota. Two weeks later Leanne arrived on the scene. Their family was now complete.

Bill and Shirley raised their children with love, patience, Christian values, and a strong work ethic. The family enjoyed many camping trips around the Midwest and Canada. They also cherished yearly vacations at Ray and Mary Jane’s cabin on Lake Lida.

Bill instilled in David his great love of hunting and fishing. They shared many trips and adventures often with cousins Rob and Danny. Bill loved to play and watch sports. He was an avid Twins and Vikings fan. He also loved anything with a motor. He usually had at least one motorcycle. He took meticulous care of the family cars. His favorite being a 1965 Chrysler New Yorker. Of course, he had a boat for fishing adventures. He always took time out for Dave and Leanne to learn to water ski.

Bill spent his working years at 3M working at various plants and positions. He retired after 38 years of service much to his granddaughter Joylyn’s delight. He frequently saved her from daycare and took her to McDonald's. Bill always wore a cowboy hat and usually cowboy boots.One of her classmates exclaimed, “Your Grandpa is a real-life cowboy!” This was the beginning of Bill being the world’s greatest Grandpa!

Bill was Grandpa to Joylyn, Benjamin, Allyson, Hunter, and Cater. He had a special and unique relationship with each.  Carter and Hunter cherish the blessing of having Bill accompany them on plenty of their travels throughout the years. In Hawaii, he showed his grandson, Carter, the wondrous effects of a headband to help ward off the heat from the volcanoes. In Colorado, he climbed mountains with his son hunting elk. From hunting big game and fishing not-so-big game in the unrelenting frigid weather of Quebec, to being nominated as “Captain Tequila,” snorkeling in Cozumel. He shared countless unforgettable memories with us, for better or for worse. We will always cherish the time spent with him and remember fondly the great adventures he shared with us.

Joy, Ben and Ally will think fondly of the laughter that they got to enjoy as a family around the dinner table. From extravagant holiday feasts to our weekly dinners that while not as elaborate,were just as precious. They learned from a young age to keep an eye on Bill around dessert, ashe was known to try to swipe a bite off of whichever of their plates was closest. Bill was a great help in raising Joy, Ben, and Ally, so when the time came that he needed help with getting cared for they stepped up without any hesitation. They cherish and are thankful for that extra time with Bill.

Bill’s health began to fail in 2007. Shirley worked tirelessly to care for him at home. In 2016 she finally agreed to have some help. Care-A-Parent provided great caregivers until Bill entered Healtheast Hospice in February 2019. Leanne moved home November 2017 to assist where she could. Shirley was able to continue to have Bill at home with the help of caregivers from Brightstar Home Care. Ryan and his coworkers were a great blessing to our life. Healtheast Hospice provided amazing care and support. His nurse Nikki and caregiver Terry quickly became family members. He enjoyed his visits from the music therapist and Chaplin.Mid-August of 2019 Bill lost his ability to walk. Shirley had to finally agree to stop being a caregiver and return to being a wife. Bill was moved to Good Samaritan Society of Inver Grove Heights. There our family expanded yet again, and he received wonderful, loving care from the staff for the remaining ten months of his life.

Bill’s forefathers had been Freemasons and so from a young age he understood that the life of a Free mason was one of faith, dedication, hard work, and charity. He became a Freemason over half a century ago. Over the years he served the lodge, the community, and his family tremendously. He inspired his son David, as well as two of his grandsons, Hunter and Carter, to carry on the Pettit legacy, and live the honorable life of a Freemason

To protect the health and safety of all, services are currently being limited as required by state and local authorities and the CDC. Expressions of sympathy during this time can be left on the condolences page available on the obituary portion on our website. We also encourage you to view the video tribute or complete the HeartStrings online sympathy page with the link below. Check the funeral home website for the latest COVID-19 update or changes to the service schedule.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William "Bill" Pettit, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

9:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Kok Funeral Home - Cottage Grove

7676 80th St S, Cottage Grove, MN 55016

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Kok Funeral Home - Cottage Grove

7676 80th St S, Cottage Grove, MN 55016

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


2505 E. Minnehaha Ave.

, Maplewood, MN 55119

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