Obit of the Day: ‘Til Death Did Them Part
Bob and Barbara Pettis had a lot in common. They both attended Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University), they both became teachers, they both loved each other for 62 years, and they both passed away on June 30, 2014
The Pettises died within hours of each other with Barbara dying early that Monday morning while Bob passed that same evening. Their son, Clay Pettis, said, “I don’t believe in coincidences, and I didn’t sit down and tell Dad that Mama was gone. Just knowing them, you wouldn’t be surprised that Dad decided to check out, too.”
The couple, who had spent parts of eight decades together, traveled different paths to finding each other. Mrs. Pettis was known for her being a bright child, having skipped 4th grade and graduating from high school before turning 17. Mr. Pettis ended up at Oklahoma State after serving two years in the U.S. Army near the end of the war - he enlisted immediately after his high school graduation. They met and fell in love.
After college, Mr. Pettis taught agricultral science in the public school system while Mrs. Pettis stayed home raising their three children: Clay, Jim Cole, and Lesley (their “favorite” daughter). After the children were in high school, Mrs. Pettis headed to the classroom, teaching elementary school.
After retirement they remained active in their church, Barbara teaching and playing piano and organ, while Bob served as a deacon and song leader.
Barbara Pettis died on the morning of June 30, 2014 at the age of 82. Bob Pettis died at 8:00 p.m. on June 30, 2014 at the age of 85.
(Bob and Barbara Pettis in the spring of 1951, just months before their wedding on September 1. Courtesy of the Pettis family via NewsOK.com)
Other love stories on Obit of the Day:
Marie and William DeCaro - Married 81 years, both dying in April 2011
Helen and Kenny Felumlee - Married 70 years, died 15 hours apart
Jerome and Diane Pawlak - Died holding hands
When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.
Later, when the nurses were going through his meagre possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.
One nurse took her copy to Melbourne. The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.
And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the Internet.
Cranky Old Man
What do you see nurses? What do you see?
What are you thinking when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice, ‘I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice the things that you do.
And forever is losing a sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse. You’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of ten, with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters who love one another
A young boy of sixteen with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at twenty my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows that I promised to keep.
At twenty-five, now I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide and a secure happy home.
A man of thirty, my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last.
At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me to see I don’t mourn.
At fifty, once more, babies play ‘round my knee,
Again, we know children, my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me. My wife is now dead.
I look at the future. I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing young of their own.
And I think of the years, and the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles. Grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass, A young man still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living life over again.
I think of the years, all too few, gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people. Open and see.
Not a cranky old man.
Look closer .. See.. Me.
Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within. We will all one day be there too!