Gary Lynn Pettus, our beloved husband, dad, grandpa, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend, passed away on Jan. 20, 2023, in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, at the age of 74. Gary died peacefully after a long battle with Sarcoma, surrounded by his adoring family.
Gary was born on May 23, 1948, in Clinton, Missouri, to Dorman Lee Pettus and Leota Vanderburg Pettus. When Gary was a few weeks old, the family moved to Pittsburg, then a few years later, to Frontenac, where Gary and his older brother, Raymond, and younger sister, Sheila, were raised by their two wonderful parents. All of his life, Gary adored his mom and dad, brother and sister, and all of the close family memories they made together. His traits of honesty, hard work, and kindness, learned by his parents' examples, carried him throughout his life.
Gary enjoyed one of those idyllic, small-town childhoods, playing hours of sandlot baseball with the neighborhood kids, shooting hoops for hours on end with his big brother, Raymond, and fishing with family and friends. Some of Gary's most cherished high school memories were of playing his heart out on the championship "Raiders" basketball and football teams from Frontenac High School. He also loved the fishing and hunting trips he went on with all of his high school buddies. He graduated with the FHS Class of 1966 and had so many good memories of his classmates and stories they shared forever.
Gary attended Kansas State College of Pittsburg (later, Pittsburg State University), majoring in Math, and joined the Army ROTC to serve his country. Upon graduation, he served in South Korea for two years and eventually attained the rank of Captain in the Army. He was a member of the Frontenac American Legion Post 43 for many years.
When he returned from active service, Gary earned a second degree in Accounting and became a CPA. He began at Edward Fox & Co. in Tulsa, Oklahoma, worked for a number of years in Bartlesville, and then moved his tax and financial planning practice to Tulsa, where he worked for many years. It is a tribute to Gary that many of his clients and colleagues became his lifelong friends. For over thirty years, he and a group of those close friends traveled to Eagles Nest, Canada, to spend a week fishing in the crystal-clear northern waters.
The highlight of Gary's life was raising his four children, Blake, Adam, Julia, and Trent. He coached every one of them in soccer, saved to take them on wonderful family vacations each year, and made sure that holidays were magical. He loved to bake sugar cookies with his children and grandchildren every year. On the 4th of July, he went all out on fireworks and often took his children to celebrate with his family in Frontenac, where he was much loved by his nieces and nephews.
Eventually, his children grew up and gave him nine grandchildren to cherish and enjoy: Max, Maddy, Avery, Jace, Ryan, Charly, Mary, Eli, and Anderson. He absolutely loved to tease and joke with them, and they kept him laughing with their cute antics and comments. They were the sunshine of his life.
Gary married his wife, Lori, on Aug. 25, 1997, and they had 25 years together as each other's soulmate and best friend. Lori brought her three children, April, Ryan, and Cody Merrill into this big happy family. They came to adore Gary over the years for his good heart and easy-going nature toward them, treating them just like his own. All of Lori's siblings and their children also adore Gary for his kindness and generosity over the years.
Gary is survived by his wife, Lori; his seven children and spouses; nine grandchildren; brother, Dr. Raymond Pettus (Patty), of Colorado Springs, Colorado; sister, Sheila Hill (Buzz) of Frontenac; and nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and several cousins.
A Celebration of Gary's life will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10, 2023, at the Mason Chapel on the west side of Asbury Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at 6767 S. Mingo Road. The service will also be live-streamed at: asbury6767.online.church. The name "Gary L. Pettus" will appear at the date and time of his service.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Frontenac Education Foundation, 208 S. Cayuga, Frontenac, KS 66763, or https://www.frontenacedfoundation.org/donate.html, which provides educational scholarships for students graduating from Gary's beloved high school.