William C. Pettis

September 17, 1932 ~ April 11, 2021 (age 88)


Mr. William C. Pettis was born on September 17, 1932. He was the oldest of four children blessed by the union of his parents, the late Mr. TL and Laura Blake Pettis. He and his siblings were raised by their father and stepmother, Arlillion Pettis.

William C. accepted Christ early in life and remained a loyal member of the Toby Tubby M.B. Church until his health failed. He was crowned deacon at the age of 21 and worked in various capacities in the church. He was Deacon Board Chair, Sunday School Superintendent, Lay Leader, Sunday School Teacher, President of the Usher Board, and a member of the Male Chorus.

William C. received his education in Lafayette County, MS, graduating from Oxford Training School. He was a member of Oxford Training School (OTS) Alumni Association. William C. is a former President of the Lafayette County Singing Union, Buford Chapel Community Choir and Stafford Lodge #523. He received a certificate in Biblical studies June 3, 2000 from the Mississippi Baptist Seminary, Jackson, MS.

William C. made history being the first full time African American employee hired in the Furniture Repair Shop at the University of Mississippi. He retired tendering thirty-eight (38) plus dedicated years of work in November 1979. William C. was known to be a superb baseball player. He loved the game of baseball and was known to be an outstanding pitcher who didn’t allow many batters to get a hit.

He married the love of his life, the late Bertha Thompson Pettis and together they gave life to, who some have called the Elite Eight: William Christopher Pettis, Oxford, MS, Carolyn Bell (Columbus), Abbeville, MS, Barbara Docher (Ray), Oxford, MS, Martha Bell (Kenneth), Holly Springs, MS, George Pettis (Lashundra), Memphis, TN, Larry Pettis (Cassandra), Oxford, MS, Betsy Toles (Willie), Ridgeland, MS and Bryant Leon Pettis (Clarressa), Oxford, MS. William C. and Bertha’s legacy continued to grow through thirty-eight (38) grandchildren, fifty-four (54) great grandchildren and eleven (11) great-great grandchildren. He is survived by his one and only baby sister, Birtha L. Westbrook, Detroit, MI. He and his siblings shared a special bond and they were named the Fab Four. He is also survived by three sisters-in-law, Betty Pettis and Bernice Pettis both of Detroit, MI and Marie Thompson, Aurora, IL. William C. leaves to cherish his memories a special friend, Dorothy Johnson, Oxford, MS and a special son, Tim Johnson (Jelicer), Oxford, MS. He is also survived by a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by two brothers Andrew Lee Pettis, Ambrose (Junior) Pettis, two brothers-in-law, Prentiss Thompson and Luster Thompson, a sister-in-law, Ruthie Ivy, and one daughter-in-law, Cynthia Pettis.


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April 16, 2021

12:00 PM to 4:00 PM
L. Hodges Funeral Service
38-F Hwy 334
Oxford, Mississippi 38655

Graveside (Restricted - 75
April 17, 2021

11:00 AM
Buford Cemetery (UM)
County Road 102
Oxford, MS 38655

Video is available for this event

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