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PETTIT, William Thomas "Tom"

PETTIT

Posted By: K.L. Kittleson
Date: 3/11/2017 at 20:26:42

William Thomas "Tom" Pettit

Birth: Apr. 23, 1931 - Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio.

Death: Dec. 22, 1995 - of Hamilton, Bermuda.

Tom Pettit died in December 22, 1995, at the age of 64 years, of complications following surgery for the repair of a ruptured aorta. At the time of his death he was living in Hamilton, Bermuda. Tom Pettit was buried at Saint Columba Catholic Cemetery, Middletown, Newport County, Rhode Island. His gravestone inscription says: "Journalist - Beloved husband of Patricia Barry Pettit"

William Thomas Pettit was born on April 23, 1931, in Cincinnati, Ohio. He grew up in Waterloo, Iowa, and graduated from Waterloo West High School in 1949. He graduated with a bachelor's degree from the Iowa State Teachers College, later the University of Northern Iowa, in 1953, where he wrote for the student newspaper. He received a master's degree in American Studies from the University of Minnesota in 1958. He also received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Northern Iowa in 1988.

He started his broadcasting career with WOI-TV in Ames, Iowa, in 1953. After two years there, he moved to KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and then to WCCO-TV in Minneapolis. Tom was hired in 1959 by WRCV-TV, the NBC affiliate in Philadelphia, and in 1962, moved to the NBC Los Angeles bureau. In 1968 he became chief West Coast correspondent for the National Education Television's Public Broadcast Laboratory. But later in 1968 he rejoined NBC as a Los Angeles correspondent.

He served as an NBC correspondent at the Washington, D.C., bureau from 1975 through 1982. In March 1982, he became Executive Vice President of NBC News in New York. He served in that position until October 1985. He then served as Chief National Affairs correspondent from 1985 until 1989. From 1989 through the summer of 1992, he was an NBC correspondent based in London. He retired in 1995.

As a political journalist, Pettit interviewed every U.S. president, and covered the presidential campaigns and national political conventions of 1960, 1964, 1972, 1976, 1980 and 1988 and the 1992 general election.

Pettit won three Emmy awards, the Peabody Award, the American Medical Association's Medical Journalism Award, and the Polk Memorial Award during his professional career. He interviewed all United States Presidents from Harry Truman through Bill Clinton. He was well-known for his on-the-scene reporting of Lee Harvey Oswald's murder in Dallas, Texas, in 1963.

Tom Pettit and his first wife, Betty T. Pettit, from whom he was divorced in 1989, had four children: Debra, Anne, James, and Robert. Tom Pettit later married Patricia Barry Pettit.

After President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, Pettit was dispatched to Dallas where he served, in effect, as a police reporter. In the famous footage of Lee Harvey Oswald being killed by Jack Ruby in Dallas, Pettit, standing six feet away from the action, and as startled as his viewers, Pettit professionally announced to the world, "He's been shot. He's been shot. Lee Harvey Oswald has been shot."

Pettit was the only reporter broadcasting live from the Dallas, Texas, jail when Lee Harvey Oswald was shot to death by Jack Ruby. In 1988, on the 25th anniversary of the assassination, Mr. Petit recalled standing just six feet away and watching as Ruby opened fire. "It was the only time I've really experienced doing eyewitness reporting while you're live on the air," he said.

As startled as viewers, Pettit professionally announced to the world: "He's been shot. He's been shot. Lee Harvey Oswald has been shot."

Pettit's most famous report came from outside the Dallas City Jail in 1963. There he was leaning up next to an inside wall, wearing a tan trench-coat and awaiting the transfer of Oswald

(the accused assassin of JFK) to the County Sheriff's more secure facility. Although the area was crowded with reporters, the bespectackled Pettit was the only reporter providing live coverage as a handcuffed Oswald was suddenly shot by Jack Ruby.

In 1988, on the 25th anniversary of the assassination, Mr. Petit recalled standing just 6 feet away. He was watching as Ruby opened fire. "It was the only time I've really experienced doing eyewitness reporting while you're live on the air," he said.

Mr. Pettit began his broadcasting career in 1953 as a reporter for WOI-TV in Ames, Iowa. After stops in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Minneapolis, Mn. Pettit joined the NBC affiliate in Philadelphia.

He eventually held an assortment of posts at NBC Television Network, working as a correspondent in Los Angeles, Washington, New York, and London.

He was Executive Vice-President of NBC News between March 1982 and October 1985.

(Credit: Audrey Burtrum-Stanley/ Findagrave)

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Pettit joined NBC in 1959 as a reporter at WRCV-TV in Philadelphia.

From 1962 until 1975, he was based in NBC's Los Angeles bureau, with a brief time off in 1968 to serve as chief West Coast correspondent for the Public Broadcasting Laboratory.

He later worked in the Washington, New York and London bureaus, and for three years was executive vice president of NBC News.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia, and his four children from a previous marriage, Debra, Anne, James and Robert.

(Credit: Findagrave.com)

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William Thomas "Tom" Pettit

Tom Pettit, 64, TV Reporter for NBC

Published: December 23, 1995

Tom Pettit, an award winning television reporter who was the only broadcaster on the scene and on the air when Lee Harvey Oswald was killed in Dallas, died on Friday at Columbia- Presbyterian Medical Center. He was 64 and lived in Hamilton, Bermuda.

A spokesman for NBC News said the cause was complications after surgery to repair a ruptured aorta.

Mr. Pettit, who retired from NBC News earlier this year, won three Emmys, a Peabody Award and the Polk Memorial Award during a career that stretched from the Eisenhower era to the Clinton Administration.

But his most famous report came from outside the Dallas City Jail in 1963, where he was the only reporter providing live coverage as police led John F. Kennedy's assassin out for transfer to the county jail, and he was shot dead by Jack Ruby.

In 1988, on the 25th anniversary of the assassination, Mr. Petit recalled standing just six feet away and watching as Ruby opened fire. "It was the only time I've really experienced doing eyewitness reporting while you're live on the air," he said.

Tom Pettit Papers

Manuscript Collection: MsC-61

William Thomas Pettit (April 23, 1931-December 22, 1995). Papers, 1949-1995. 25 linear feet.

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Biography--

William Thomas Pettit

William Thomas Pettit was born April 23, 1931, in Cincinnati, Ohio. He grew up in Waterloo, Iowa, and graduated from Waterloo West High School in 1949. He graduated with a bachelor's degree from the Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa) in 1953, where he wrote for the student newspaper, the College Eye. He received a master's degree in American Studies from the University of Minnesota in 1958. He also received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Northern Iowa in 1988.

Tom Pettit began his professional broadcasting career with WOI-TV in Ames, Iowa, in 1953. After two years he moved to KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and then to WCCO-TV in Minneapolis. He joined NBC in 1959 with WRCV-TV in Philadelphia, and, in 1962, moved to the NBC Los Angeles bureau. In 1968 he became chief West Coast correspondent for the National Education Television's Public Broadcast Laboratory. But later in 1968 he rejoined NBC as a Los Angeles correspondent.

He served as an NBC correspondent at the Washington, D. C., bureau from 1975 through 1982. In March 1982, he became Executive Vice President, NBC News, in New York. He served in that position until October 1985. He then served as Chief National Affairs correspondent from 1985 until 1989. From 1989 through the summer of 1992, he was an NBC correspondent based in London. He retired from NBC in 1995.

Tom Pettit won three Emmy awards, the Peabody Award, the American Medical Association's Medical Journalism Award, and the Polk Memorial Award during his professional career. He interviewed all United States Presidents from Harry Truman through Bill Clinton. He was well-known for his on-the-scene reporting of Jack Ruby's murder of Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas, in 1963.

Tom Pettit and his first wife, Betty T. Pettit, from whom he was divorced in 1989, had four children: Debra, Anne, James, and Robert. Tom Pettit later married Patricia Barry Pettit.

Tom Pettit died in December 22, 1995.

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Papers--

Tom Pettit left this collection of papers to the University of Northern Iowa under the terms of his will. The collection arrived at the Rod Library in October 2002.

The collection includes a small amount of biographical and personal material and a large amount of material relating to Mr. Pettit's work as a professional journalist. The most important part of the professional material is an extensive collection of his notebooks, scripts, and videotapes.

University Archivist Gerald L. Peterson processed the papers and prepared this finding aid in 2003-2004.

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William Thomas "Tom" Pettit (born April 23, 1931, Cincinnati, Ohio; died December 22, 1995) was a television news correspondent for NBC from the 1960s through 1995. During most of that period, he filed reports for NBC Nightly News (as well as the preceding Huntley-Brinkley Report) and served numerous times on the panel of Meet the Press. He served as one of NBC's floor reporters at the political conventions in 1972, 1976, and 1980.

Pettit began his broadcasting career in the state of his upbringing, Iowa, in the 1950s before moving on to positions in Minneapolis (at WCCO-TV) and Philadelphia (at the NBC owned-and-operated station, now KYW-TV). His first position with the NBC network was in the network's Los Angeles bureau, where he worked for 13 years, except for a brief tenure with National Educational Television. By 1975, Pettit moved to the Washington, D.C. bureau, where he would cover national affairs until 1982, when he became executive vice president of NBC News under president Reuven Frank. In 1985, he returned to reporting, serving as national affairs correspondent until 1989, when he began a three-year stint in NBC's London office. He continued working as a correspondent until 1995, the year of his death.

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Tom Pettit was HUSBAND to

(#2)WIFE - Patricia Pettit

Tom was divorced in 1989 from

(#1) WIFE - Betty

Four children: Debra, Anne, James, and Robert.

Credit: Gary L. Pettit

Find A Grave Memorial# 69277811

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Tom Pettit; Award-Winning NBC News Correspondent

December 23, 1995 - From Times Staff and Wire Reports

NEW YORK Tom Pettit, award-winning former NBC News correspondent remembered for his exclusive live announcement of the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald in a Dallas jail garage in 1963, died Friday after complications from surgery to repair a ruptured aorta. He was 64.

Pettit, who retired in April, was the recipient of virtually every award in broadcast journalism. During his career he won three Emmys, the Peabody Award and the Polk Memorial Award.

Pettit gained nationwide attention through his on-scene reporting of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas. Later, he was stationed on camera in the basement of a Dallas jail, covering the transfer of Oswald, the accused assassin, to a vehicle when Jack Ruby shot Oswald to death.

A seasoned political journalist, Pettit interviewed every U.S. president beginning with Harry Truman, and covered the presidential campaigns and national political conventions of 1960, 1964, 1972, 1976, 1980 and 1988 and the 1992 general election. The newsman began his broadcasting career in 1953 as a reporter for WOI-TV in Ames, Iowa, and later worked at KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis.

Pettit joined NBC in 1959 as a reporter at WRCV-TV in Philadelphia.

From 1962 until 1975, he was based in NBC's Los Angeles bureau, with a brief time off in 1968 to serve as chief West Coast correspondent for the Public Broadcasting Laboratory.

He later worked in the Washington, New York and London bureaus, and for three years was executive vice president of NBC News.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia, and his four children from a previous marriage, Debra, Anne, James and Robert.

(Credit: Len Granger)


 

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