Ernest J. Pett, Sr., formerly of Elmhurst, passed away recently at the age of 88. Cherished husband of Eleanore “Ellie” Pett, nee Mitchell; beloved father of Nina (Jeff) Tamm, Ernest Jr. “J.R.” (Donna) Pett, Ken (Kim Kielczynski) Pett, former father-in-law of Lori Nixon Pett; loving grandfather of Brianna Tamm, Devon Tamm, Lauren Tamm, Jeffrey (Brenda) Pett, and Lois Pett; dear brother of the late Frank Petkunas, and the late Casimir “Chuck” Petkunas; uncle of many nieces and nephews.

   Ernie was born in Chicago in 1933 to Ludwig and Julia Petkunas. He met Ellie, the love of his life, in 1953 and they married in 1955. He and Ellie started their family the following year and raised three children who blessed them with 5 grandchildren. Ernie and Ellie celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary in February!

   For more than 35 years, Ernie worked at Lions Clubs International headquarters in Oak Brook, where he was the manager of the printing plant. He worked at countless Lions conventions around the world which led him and Ellie to travel to many places such as Japan, Australia, Taiwan, Thailand, Mexico, and Hong Kong, as well as many domestic locations. He was drawn to the service that Lions Clubs provided and became a long-time member and leader of several Lions Clubs from the Elmhurst Evening Club to the club in Donna, Texas. His service to Lions Clubs was recognized when he was honored to receive the Melvin Jones Award which is the highest form of recognition bestowed on Lions and embodies humanitarian ideas consistent with the nature and purpose of Lionism.

   After their children were grown, Ernie and Ellie expanded their horizons with the purchase of a Hi-Lo camping trailer which started a 30-year adventure travelling around the country with the many friends they made in the Hi-Lo Friends Trailer Club. Eventually they found the perfect place to spend the cold winter months. They became snowbirds and traveled every winter to Donna, Tex., in the Rio Grande Valley, where they made many new lifelong friends and enjoyed the activities and warm climate.

    Ernie’s last years were challenged with Alzheimer’s disease and as the disease progressed, he lost the strength to walk which led to many physical difficulties that left him bedridden for the last nine months of his life. Ernie was a gentle giant and everyone that met him instantly liked him. His good heart and kind soul were a blessing to many but especially to his family. While saddened, his family is grateful that his suffering ended and he was called home to his Savior where he was reunited with beloved family and friends that have gone before him.

    Visitation and service have already been held at Knollcrest Funeral Home, Lombard. Interment St. Casimir Catholic Cemetery. Memorials to Alzheimer’s Association are appreciated. Funeral Info: www.knollcrest.net or 630-932-1500.

 

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