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Thomas Petty


1944 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Thomas Petty Obituary
August 4, 1944 - July 16, 2017 YUKON Thomas Estel Petty, of Yukon, was born on Aug. 4, 1944, to Estel and Judith Brookhart Petty in Oklahoma City and died on July 16, 2017, in Oklahoma City. He attended Millard Fillmore Elementary School and U.S. Grant High School from which he graduated in 1962. Tom graduated from OU with a degree in business administration in 1966. He then received his draft notice, enlisted in the U.S. Army, and, in Jan. of 1967, was sworn in. He completed Airborne Parachute Training and Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in Jan. 1968. Tom was sent to Vietnam, and on Jan. 1, 1969, he began serving as Platoon Leader of B Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry, 11th Brigade, Americal Division. One month later, he was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant. Tom served as Platoon Leader until he assumed command of B Company in July and later, E Company, where he served until completion of his time in Vietnam. For his service in Vietnam, Tom was awarded two Bronze Stars for Valor, a Bronze Star for Merit, three Purple Hearts, the Vietnam Service Medal with 4 Bronze Stars, a Combat Infantryman's Badge, a Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm and a Valorous Unit Citation Badge. In his book, "What Deepest Remains," Loran Randles, one of Tom's medics in Vietnam, wrote, "To Lt. Thomas Petty, ? the good man who led us and gave us a better chance of making it." and, "Lt. Tom Petty was a great leader. He was bright, charismatic, funny, tough and projected a sort of fearlessness." Tom was all of that, and more, to those who knew and loved him. Tom was married to Fatima Louise "Tima" Bilbrey on June 8, 1972, in Winston-Salem, NC until her death in 2010. Tom was proud to be a native Oklahoman and was a treasure trove of information about the state gleaned from "The Chronicles of Oklahoma" which he received as a Lifetime Member of the Oklahoma Historical Society. He was a voracious reader and collector of non-fiction books, mostly relating to war and history. For a number of years, he was a letter carrier for the USPS in Oklahoma City and was a member of the NALC Branch 458. He was a member of the Hill 4-11 Association, a group of men with whom he formed close bonds while serving in Vietnam. Until his illness, he had been a regular member of a Vietnam veterans group at the Vet Center in OKC. He was a member of the NRA, had been a member of the Sportsman's Club and loved hunting a wide variety of birds and game. He was preceded in death by his parents and a number of beloved hunting dogs. He is survived by his sisters, Ellen Petty Gilbert (Paul), of Allen, TX; and Mary Alice Petty Wallis (John), of Sacramento, CA; his nephew, Ryan Gilbert (Deet), of Charlotte, NC; his niece, Emily Gilbert Myhre (Nick), and his grandnephew and grandniece, Luke and Rachel Myhre, all of Allen, TX; and numerous Petty and Brookhart cousins. His cremains will be inurned at Arlington National Cemetery. A Come & Go Celebration in his honor will be held Saturday, Aug. 5, from 11 to 1 p.m. at Gaillardia Country Club, 5300 Gaillardia Blvd., OKC. The family requests memorial gifts be made to the Leslie J. Stottle Memorial Scholarship Fund, payable to: Hill 4-11 Association, 630 Woodside Dr, Kent, OH 44240-26664; or to the Letter Carriers Scholarship Fund, 221 S Eagle Ln, Oklahoma City, OK 73128.
Published in The Oklahoman from July 23 to Aug. 4, 2017
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