James Keith Pettit

February 19, 1940July 7, 2018
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Big Jim was born in Amma ,West Virginia. On July 7th we lost our dad, husband, grandpa, great grandpa, brother, uncle and friend. Dad had many things he collected but he was most proud of his family. His big gentle heart loved friends, racing, animals, playing cards and of course food. He loved fried potatoes, homemade biscuits, beans and carrot cake. If you ever got a big teddy bear hug from him it was one you wouldn’t forget. He was baptized at 7 in the creek with his brothers. He did many things growing up. He would work for any neighbors and sold peaches door to door. That is how he met the love of his life Patricia Ashley at 16. That started a life that lasted 52 years, until her passing in 2010. After graduation he joined the army which took him to South Carolina, Kansas, Germany, Australia, Korea and then to Fort Ord. His squad was ranked #1 out of 40,000 Infantry troups. Jim owned and operated many businesses over the years. He worked as a car salesman and a Seaside reserve police officer. Jim opened army surplus stores, Christmas tree lots, car lot and auto dismantling yard. He loved Thelma and Louise and coat of many colors which he said he could watch over and over. Dad you also have a coat of many colors. You knew everyday how much you were loved and we knew too! For your journey home your whole family was around you loving you, loving each other, telling stories, laughing and crying together, playing music and singing to you. You were such a strong man and fighter. We played ride out your storm, turn to Jesus for your last song. Jim was a huge race fan and supporter of many racers and race teams. He helped several hundred over the years since 1975. He was proud to have son Jim Pettit II, son in law John and grandsons Billy and J.J. as racers and winners of several hundred races. He was most proud of sons NASCAR Southwest championship, being voted top 25 of all time in 2006 NASCAR weekly racing. He was proud of being able to help others in racing ventures, wanting nothing in return and when racers and others came to the wrecking yard needing parts or entire car he would not charge them. Helping them race and with life was his payment. Special thanks to Jimmy and Veronica for their loving care for the last three years while living with them. Melissa Haney there aren’t enough words to thank you for all that you did for grandpa in the last few years especially the last 6 months. Our entire family is very thankful and proud to have you. Dad says Oreos like milk too! We will eat those when we meet again. Jim is survived by daughters Liz Nelson (Bill), Tammy Keldsen (John), son James (Veronica). Grandchildren Johnny Keldsen (Kayla), Billy Nelson (Marissa), Melissa Haney (James), Chris Nelson, Ashley Nunes(Rob). 10 great grand children (one on the way). Brothers,Charles Pettit ,Roger Pettit (Sandy), Jerry Pettit (Joan), Ronnie Pettit (Jeanie). Jim is preceded in death by wife Patricia Pettit and his parents Clyde and Freda Pettit. Viewing will be held on Monday July 16th 4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. at Bayside Community Mortuary, 1610 Noche Buena Street, Seaside. A Celebration of Life will be held on Tuesday July 17, 2018 at 11:30 a.m. at Greater Victory Temple, 1620 Broadway Avenue, Seaside. Burial will take place on Wednesday July 18, 2018 at San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery, in Santa Nella at 1:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Animal Friends Rescue Project, PG. Animal Health, Salinas, or your local SPCA.


  • Visitation Monday, July 16, 2018
  • Celebration of Life Tuesday, July 17, 2018
  • Burial Wednesday, July 18, 2018

James Keith Pettit

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Liz Nelson

July 16, 2018

Daddy we have lost the brightest light in our world! I will hold you dear and close to my heart forever. The memories are endless. Thank you for giving me a wonderful life.
I love you

Liz Nelson, Royal Oaks, California

Larry Keaton

July 15, 2018

Jim was a friend of mine growing up in Amma. Wv. I remember his selling peaches door to door. My mother often bought from him. RIP Jimbo! :-(

Jim Burns

July 14, 2018

I knew "Big" Jim for nearly 40 years. I have so many great memories from our years of racing at Watsonville and San Jose. I will never forget our wonderful trip to Nashville in 1984 for the NASCAR Winston Racing Series banquet at the Opryland Hotel. It was Jim who got me into smoking cigars. He served his country, was a great husband to his beloved Pat and a wonderful father to Liz, Tammy and Jim. He ran a successful business for many years and sponsored many many drivers. Thank you for your years of friendship Jim. I do not say goodbye, but until we see each other again !

Lisa Dodd

July 13, 2018

Thank You for all the laughter you brought to my Pai Gow table, we had such a Blast and laughed so hard that tears was rolling down our cheeks! This is one memory i will hold tight in my heart! Your seat is now Reserved until we meet again!