It is with great
regret and sorrow that we must notify you of the death of our classmate, John
Petty, on 29 September in Atlanta, GA, after a long and courageous battle with
John is survived by
his wife, Beryl; his son John and his wife Tracy; his daughter Page and her
husband Jim; and grandchildren Thad, Reagan and Claire.
The family will
receive friends at 12:00 PM on Saturday, 8 October, at the Patterson Spring Hill
Chapel Funeral Home, 1020 Spring Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30309.
Funeral services will
be held at 1:00 PM on Saturday, 8 October, at the Patterson Spring Hill Chapel
Funeral Home. Burial will be at West Point at a date to be determined.
In lieu of flowers,
donations in John's memory may be made to the following organizations:
Veterans Empowerment Organization of Georgia, Inc., 386 Lanier
Street NW, Suite A-6,
Atlanta, GA 30318
Hospice Atlanta, 1244
Park Vista Drive,
Atlanta, GA 30319
Condolences may be
sent to John's wife, Beryl at 1554 Country Squire Court, Decatur, GA 30033.
Well done, John. Be
thou at peace.
Class Memorial Pages\M-2 John Petty.pdf
John was a fine man and a great friend and I
will miss him. Please accept my deepest sympathy on your loss.
John R. Petty '61
John R. Petty '61 succumbed to the ravages of gastric cancer at
1930 hours on 29 September 2011 after an extremely long,
courageous battle that began in 2004.
A memorial service to celebrate John's life will be conducted on
Saturday, 8 October at 1300 hours,
at the H.M. Patterson Funeral Home; corner of 10th and Spring Street,
A greeting reception will begin at
preceding the memorial service.
John will be buried at West Point in a family ceremony in the
immediate future. In the spring of 2012, after a memorial stone is
erected, a public ceremony will be conducted on a date to be
John was an active member of the West Point Society of Atlanta for
more than 25 years. He served on the Board of Governors for many
years and as President of the Society. When not on the Board, he was
still active on committees and projects. Among his many
accomplishments, he created the original job networking group in the
early 1990's and the WPSA monthly Luncheon Program shortly
thereafter. John was one of the driving forces behind establishing
the West Point Charitable Enterprises Association. He was presented
the Society's Distinguished Graduate Award in 2006; principally for
years of outstanding service to society through his selfless
management at the Atlanta Enterprise Center assisting the homeless and
jobless to find a new, successful life.
John: Your work is done; your course on Earth is run. WELL DONE! Be
thou at peace.
Point Society of Atlanta
John brought a wry sense of southern
humor to M-2 in 1957.He worked hard to try and understand us yankees.What a
great friend. He would do anything for any of us at his own speed. His career
was marked with many successes in government and the private sector. We will
miss him. Well done John.
Bill Tobin '61 M-2
Taps Memorial Article:
John R. Petty 1961
Cullum No. 23802-1961 | September
29, 2011 | Died in Atlanta, GA
Cremated. Interred in West Point Cemetery, NY
John Rife Petty entered West Point from Gainesville, GA, earning him the
endearing reputation as “Rebel Representative” within the company. He was a
true gentleman in every respect, never missing an opportunity to extend a
helping hand or an encouraging word to friends in need. His work with the
Protestant Chapel, both as a member of the Chapel Choir and as a Sunday School
teacher, was the hallmark of his strong Christian belief and a forecast of the
outstanding career that was ahead of him.
Upon graduation, John got his Jump Wings and Ranger Tab
and joined the 101st Airborne. In October 1962, while serving with the 101st
Airborne, First Lieutenant Petty led a detachment of soldiers who helped
support the integration of the University of Mississippi. Just weeks later, in
middle of the night, John stood ready in southern Florida to parachute into
Cuba if needed during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
John left the Army in 1964 to earn an M.A. in
international relations from the University of Tennessee and pursue a career
in government service, joining the Central Intelligence Agency in 1966. Over a
15-year career with the CIA, John trained anti-communist forces in Laos from
1968 to 1973, served at the American Embassy in Singapore from 1975 to 1977,
and served at various domestic assignments.
In 1982 John took on the life-changing position of
executive director of the Atlanta Enterprise Center (AEC), a dream struggling
for money, personnel and leadership. The AEC became John’s raison d’etre, his
very life soul and passion for existence. The AEC’s mission is to collect the
homeless, the unemployed, “urban campers,” and get them off the streets, under
a roof and hopefully employed. The only money it had was begged or granted to
it by charitable organizations. John labored with this passion for 16 years,
applying business experience, enthusiasm, leadership and, most importantly,
his special brand of dedication to the organization.
More than once, John didn’t draw salary to preserve cash
flow. He wrote 20 to 30 grant requests per year, not all successful. But John
had become a champion grant writer and never hesitated to offer his help to
other social services organizations in Atlanta, GA. One aspect of the AEC’s
success under John’s leadership was cost per successful client. During the
period 1999–2004, the AEC turned out a successful client for about $1,600. The
national average is $4,000. Also, during this same period, the AEC turned out
a total of 1,500 success stories.
John served as a past president and member of the board
of the West Point Society of Atlanta and was awarded its Most Distinguished
Graduate Award in 2006, principally for years of outstanding service through
his leadership in the AEC.
John was also a key figure in the creation of the West
Point Charitable Enterprises of Atlanta or WPCEA, the 501(c)3 organization now
known as the John R. Petty Sr. Foundation. Each year the John R. Petty Sr.
Award is presented to recognize individuals within the society who represent
the very best of those who support the society and the John R. Petty Sr.
Foundation, all in honor of John Petty, whose name is synonymous with so many
aspects of the West Point Society of Atlanta.
In early September 2011, as one of his last professional
efforts before passing, he reached out to the Veterans Empowerment
Organization of Georgia (VEO), an organization attempting to develop a
holistic approach to helping veterans in need. In the 2003–08 timeframe,
Atlanta was facing a significant challenge, unable to assist homeless and
helpless veterans who were on the street, missing proper identification,
lacking basic needs of food and shelter but unable to connect effectively with
the VA. It was to this need that the VEO was created in 2008. John became
involved in 2011, helping the executive director of VEO to write a grant
request to Home Depot for $250,000 to build a facility for temporary veteran
housing. John developed the request without pay while undergoing treatment for
cancer. John died just after the grant was awarded. The VEO organization has
grown, succeeding beyond its own expectations, and is now being funded by some
of the most prestigious organizations in Atlanta. To this day, the executive
director and his VEO organization attribute much of its success to the
selfless contributions of John Petty.
A remark by a friend captures John’s spirit of
perseverance: “He was a marvel of patience bordering on stubbornness; optimism
without bound and an obvious love for the downtrodden that Christ would have
Found among John’s personal notes written during his last
few days battling cancer is the following statement: “My goal for the rest of
my life is to serve my fellow human kind and to make a difference in as many
lives as possible.” To the very end, John sought to serve others, and, even in
these last days, John brought joy to his family and friends, making a
difference in their lives to the very last.
John R. Petty succumbed to the ravages of gastric cancer
on September 29, 2011 after an extremely long, courageous battle that began in
John Petty truly had a life “well lived.” It was a life
that brought honor to himself, to his beloved family, to his alma mater, West
Point, and to his Lord.
In one statement of condolence a friend wrote: What a
sweet and dedicated man; seeking no personal aggrandizement but following the
highest ethics in living his life in service to others. He will be missed by
— Family, Friends and Classmates