James "Jim" Petty was born September 22, 1931 in Laredo, TX to Pauline Petty and Carl Abramson. He passed away at the age of 89 on April 2, 2021 at Covenant Hospice in Pensacola, Florida.
Jim served in the United States Air Force and was stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas. It was there that he raised his family. Later, he became a contract negotiator in personnel management for the Air Force. While at Sheppard AFB, he attended Midwestern State University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1963.
Guided by a strong faith, a strong work ethic, and a love for his community, Jim lived a life with a perpetual smile and a frequent chuckle in his voice. He was a kind, gentle man with many other gifts - a math educator, a golf instructor, a scoutmaster, a dancer, a joke teller, a gentleman.
He retired in 1986 and moved with his wife Betty to Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. In Florida, Jim became an avid golfer and played until his 80s. Also, he was an active member of the Highsteppers Dance Troupe, performing for over 20 years up and down the Emerald Coast.
Jim was survived by his daughter Debbie Crane and husband Rick; grandchildren Shanda Keating and husband Chris, Laura Flynn and husband Brian, Ryan Petty and wife Breanna, Stacey Rodriguez and husband Jeremy; great grandchildren Claire and Cate Keating, Kassidy Petty, Brady and Laney Cook, Maggie and Meghan Flynn, Cooper and Lyla Rodriguez; nephew John Higdon; stepson Billy Watson and wife Dianne, and their son Zachary and wife Lexi.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Neil, his wife Betty, and his son Randy Petty.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, May 15, 2021 at Davis Watkins Funeral Home, 113 Racetrack Road NE, Fort Walton Beach, FL, 32547. His final resting place will be at Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola.