Nick Petit

Obituary of Nick Petit

Nicholas (Nick) Alexander Petit, 83, died unexpectedly at home, Thursday, August 27, 2020. Nick was born on April 4, 1937, to the late Aime A. and Corinne G. Petit in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the second of five children. He was educated in the New Bedford public schools and began work at the age of 14 as a counter and stock clerk in the family-owned business, Petit's Pharmacy, following the death of his father in 1949. After graduating from high school in 1955, he entered the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (Buzzards Bay, MA), graduating in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Seamanship and Navigation and a Third Mate's license. From 1958 to 1963 he was employed on various tankers of the American Trading and Production Corporation transporting cargoes in domestic and foreign trade, beginning as Junior Third Mate and rising to Second Mate. He returned to school at Northeastern University (Boston, MA) in 1963 and there completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1965. In August 1965, Nick married Marguerite (Peggy) A. Van Cleft and continued his education in the Master's degree program at Northeastern University, while working as a graduate teaching assistant, and graduated with a Master's of Arts degree in English in 1967. Later that year, he entered the PhD program in English at Southern Illinois University (Carbondale, IL) and for two years took course work and worked as a graduate teaching assistant. In August 1969 Nick was employed as an instructor in English at Kentucky State University (Frankfort, KY) where he was granted tenure in 1975 and promoted to Associate Professor in 1980. From 1983 to 1989 he served in various administrative capacities, as Director of Special Programs in the Community College, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, Acting Dean of Whitney Young College, and as Acting Chairperson of the Division of Literature, Languages, and Philosophy. From 1970 to 1981 he was also advisor to the KSU student newspaper. Throughout his life, Nick was an avid boater, wood worker, farmer, gardener, hiker, and traveler. He was on the Board of Trustees of the Paul Sawyier Public Library, was a member and officer of the Bald Knob Ruritan Club and member of the Frankfort Human Relations Forum, National Council of Teachers of English, Kentucky Council of Teachers of English and the Kentucky Philological Association. Nick enjoyed the camaraderie of friends at both the ROMEO breakfast club, Fontana, NC hiking group, and ICOF. For the past twelve years, he and Peggy have been "snow birds" on St. George Island, Florida. Survivors include Peggy, his wife of 55 years; his daughters Amy Petit Ellis (Christopher) of Fredericksburg, VA, and Sarah Petit Frierson (Jack) of Athens, GA; his grandchildren Henry Petit Frierson, and Willa Smith Frierson; and his siblings Susan Petit Ponte of New Canaan, CT; Robert M. Petit (Jamie) of New York, NY; Lee Loranger (Raymond) of Dartmouth, MA; and Linda Childs of Hyannis, MA. He was loved by many nieces and nephews as well as neighbors and friends. The family plans to hold a private celebration of his life for his many friends in Frankfort and also, at a later date in Massachusetts, a celebration with family. In lieu of flowers, anyone wishing to honor his memory may consider a contribution to: Massachusetts Maritime Academy, 101 Academy Dr, Buzzards Bay, MA 02532; Paul Sawyier Public Library, 319 Wapping St, Frankfort, KY 40601; or the Franklin County Humane Society, 1041 Kentucky Ave, Frankfort, KY 40601.
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