Harry J Pettit of Middletown, MD passed away at the age of 90 surrounded by his children on June 5th, 2023. The world lost a generous man, loving father/ grandfather/ great-grandfather, consummate businessman, and world traveler.
Harry was born in Philadelphia on October 24, 1932 and raised in West Philly by his parents Robert E Pettit and Jenne (Jane) Pettit (nee Smerdon.) He graduated from West Philadelphia High School and joined the army. He was a veteran of the Korean conflict and (to his surprise) World War II. Harry was a very early adopter of computers with data processing skills that earned him medals for helping improve the army’s efficiency.
After his honorable discharge from the Army, he went on to graduate from Drexel University (starting a family trend that would carry through at least 3 generation.) From Drexel, he went on to work for IBM in sales and marketing and ultimately had global responsibilities working with the world’s telecommunications companies. After 28 years, he “retired” from IBM and took the role of President of Bell Atlantic International where he played a key role in Bell Atlantic’s acquisition of New Zealand Telecom. Never one to really retire, after leaving Bell Atlantic, Harry went on to lead telecommunication consulting and internet related businesses and pursued interests in oil exploration. His work took him around the globe many, many times and he was in the multimillion mile club of just about every major airline.
But for all of his work and travel, at his core, Harry was a dedicated family man. He married Bernice Schmidt in 1959 and together they raised four loving children in Yardley, PA ; Barbara (George) Little, Harry S. (Kathy) Pettit, R. David (Lisa) Pettit, and John (Anne) Pettit. Harry is predeceased by Bernice and survived by his children, his grandchildren - Jessica, R. David Jr, Toby, Katie, Christopher, Beau, Jake, Cali and Jack, and his great-grandchildren - Bentley, Ansa, Eleanor and Hunter. He is also survived by his younger sister Joan.
A memorial service is planned for later this year.