American Patriotic 10

Harold R. Petty

December 29, 1926 ~ May 14, 2020 (age 93)


Harold Ross Petty, 93, of Idaho Falls, passed away May 14, 2020, at Idaho Falls Community Hospital.

Harold was born December 29, 1926, in Idaho Falls, Idaho, to Ross Weldon Petty and Nancy Jane Wadsworth Petty. He grew up and attended schools in Idaho Falls and graduated from Idaho Falls High School. 

In 1944, he joined the U.S. Merchant Marines, completed basic and advanced Engineering Training at the USMSTS Base in Catalina, California. Upon graduation, he served in the Engineering Department on tankers, hauling high test aviation gasoline for the war effort. Upon his release from the Merchant Marines, he went to work as an engineer at the LDS Hospital in 1947. 

In 1950, he was drafted in the US Army. While on a delay enroute to Korea, he married the love of his life, Rosemarie Whittemore, in 1950. 

He served as a Staff Sergeant in an amphibious attack brigade in Korea. He also saw duty in Okinawa, Japan. He was transferred from active duty to the Ready Reserves in 1952 and received an honorable discharge in August 1956.

In 1954, he went to work at the INL site for GE at the Test Area North Facility as a supervisor of planning and scheduling. He continued to work at the site for the next 32 years for various contractors in various positions of management in maintenance. The last eight years of his career, he was Branch Manager.  He took early retirement in 1986 which gave him time to enjoy his life-long hobby of motorcycling. He bought his 49th motorcycle on his 80th birthday and recently purchased his 50th motorcycle, a Royal Enfield Himalayan. He planned to continue to ride as long as his health would permit.

After his wife retired in 1987, they became “snowbirds,” spending their winters in Sun City, Arizona, where they became passionate ballroom dancers. They found time to compete in ballroom dancing and received many gold medals at the Senior Games.

Harold was an unending source of knowledge for all who were fortunate to know him. He could explain the details because he knew them through and through. Because he cared about the details, Harold has been known to call with questions for the engineering department of the manufacturer of a product he was about to purchase. His daughter, Pam, referred to those calls as “Petty here” as he introduced himself and asked his questions.

Harold and his daughter, Susie, shared their love of motorcycles. He taught her to ride. She was a practiced and skillful rider who understood her machine and followed all the safety rules and precautions Harold practiced himself. Harold and Rosemarie could frequently be seen around Idaho Falls with their dog, all going for a ride in the sidecar.

He is survived by his wife of nearly 70 years, Rosemarie Petty, and their dog, Sissy, of Idaho Falls, ID; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and two daughters, Pamela and Susan.

Private family services will be held at a later date.

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