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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Principal Edward Petitt - Lost and Found

Last Wednesday's Blog dealt with a box of old New Gretna PTA records that Kemp Wetmore dropped off at the Bass River Community Library a short while back. I reproduced a 1966-67 PTA Program Booklet and asked if the names of Teachers, students, or parents brought back any old school memories.

John Allen wrote the following comment, asking if I had any information on "Teddy" Petit who became principal of the New Gretna School.


Your blogs are great. They put life into the past of New Gretna for me. When I graduated from Pleasantville H.S. in the 60's, I had a summer job with W.R. Fisher and Son delivering frozen food to restaurants in South Jersey. I worked with "Teddy" Petit, who, was later a Principal in New Gretna. Any information or memories of him in your stash?

Thanks for the education and entertainment.

John Allen

I responded that I had no information on "Teddy" Petit and "had no recollection of ever hearing about him." Well, it seems that I spoke too soon. I did have some information on Principal Petitt after all. I just hadn't uncovered it.

Yesterday, I dug a little deeper into Kemp Wetmore's PTA box of goodies and came up with a few more PTA booklets from the late 1960's and the early 1970's. Two, in the late 1960's mentioned Edward Petitt as both the sixth grade teacher and the principal of the school. Back then, when times were simpler and government regulations didn't choke a horse, the principal could multitask, handling both a classroom and the needed administrative duties. It was a win-win situation, keeping the principal more in touch with the students and saving the tax payers a bit of money.

The newly found booklets revealed that Edward Petitt, spelled with two "t's", was the principal and sixth grade teacher at the New Gretna School for a short two school years: 1968-69 and 1969-70. I reproduced a few pages from those booklets below to document Principal Petitt's presence. The 1967-68 and the 1970-71 school year booklets had no mention of him. Elaine Allen, who was the Bass River Board of Education Secretary at the time, tells me that Ed Petitt left New Gretna to become the principal in Chatsworth, the Piney capital of the world.

While I was not living in New Gretna when Principal Petitt ran the New Gretna School, I recognize, in the pages below, many names of people who were to become cherished friends and welcomed acquaintances. They include Lila Cramer, who helped during many elections as we both worked the polls at the New Gretna fire house; Phyllis Briggs who is a regular Blog reader and contributor; Betty West, Claire Allen, and Millie Potter whom I see at weekly New Gretna Presbyterian Church prayer meetings; Kathleen Gray who shared many of her old memories of New Gretna with me in her later years; Naomi Maurer who I always enjoy visiting; Pat Steinhauer, a geneology buddy; Almira Steele, a sorely missed friend and fellow "Bass River Gazette" columist and mother of my Men's Breakfast buddy, Rickie "White Shoes" Steele; and Grace Forgach who is presently a teacher's aide at the New Gretna School. The memories are bitter-sweet as some of these friends are no longer with us.

The 1968-69 School Year

The 1969-70 School Year

I'm wondering if looking through the above pages may have jogged the memories of others out in the Blog-O-Sphere who might now recall Principal "Teddy" Petitt, either as their sixth grade teacher or school principal. If so, let's hear from you.

Pete S


  1. I am sending some photos from the 1963 Pleasantville High School yearbook.

    I also think that Noreen had him for a course.

    Mike Allen and I were in the same mechanical drawing class back then.

    Take care,

    John Allen

  2. I just emailed you. Ted Petitt is my wonderful father!

    Lisa Mullarkey

  3. I had Mr. Petitt for US History I in my junior year at Pleasantville High School. He was still teaching at Pleasantville in 1967, his picture is in my yearbook. He was very nice, I hope he gave me an A or B, then I'd think he was really nice!


  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Hi,

    How odd is it that I googled my brother's name (to find exact job title for someone) and came to your entry about my dad! He's alive and well in Margate, NJ. Did someone need info?


    Lisa Mullarkey


    Would you please ask you dad to jot down a few memories of his days at the New Gretna School, so that I could post them on the Blog. Also, does he have any old New Gretna related photos? Any comments and photos would be appreciated!

    Pete S