MILLER, SD – Michael Cliffton “Mike” Pettit, 57, of Miller, passed away peacefully with his daughter by his side on Wednesday, January 1, 2020 at the V.A. Hospital in Sioux Falls.
Funeral service will be 10:30 a.m., Saturday, January 11, 2020 at the First Presbyterian Church, Miller with Rev. Brian Jones officiating. Burial with military honors will follow at Morningside Cemetery, Ree Heights. Visitation will begin at 6:00 p.m. Friday, January 10, 2020 with a 7:00 p.m. prayer service, all at the church.
Mike was born to Jimmy and Colleen (Evans) Pettit in Anaheim, California. He was a middle brother to Paul and Anna. After his father’s sudden passing, Colleen and the kids moved to South Dakota to be closer to family. There, she met and later married Mike’s stepdad, Don Koeck. Mike gained a younger brother, John, from their union.
Growing up, Mike followed Don around the farm until he was old enough to be of help. On November 15, 1979, he and his best friend, Tom Meehan, swore into the Army National Guard together. He proudly served his country until his retirement in March 2005. During his time as a Soldier, Mike earned the following awards: Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (5th Award), National Defense Service Medal (2nd Award), Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device (2nd Award), Army National Guard Recruiter Badge, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with two Campaign Stars, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Overseas Service Ribbon, Army Good Conduct Medal, Overseas Service Bar (2nd Award).
Mike was a bit of a perfectionist and, although he had no formal training, he could be considered an engineer or inventor. He would take something that was broken and make it new again. If he needed something that didn’t exist, he would fabricate a solution. His ingenuity earned him the nickname “MacGyver” and served him well in his 15 years working for the Miller School District and 23 years with the SD Department of Transportation. He was a man of many talents and perfected them all – from restoring old vehicles, to brewing beer, to building rockets and large model train sets, to shooting, and so many more. He shared his love of the Second Amendment, showing off his -gun collection and welcomed all to shoot in the dugout on his acreage.
His greatest talent was being a dad and grandpa, and he was very proud of his family. Mike married Linda Roberts in May 1980 and together had Laura and Alex. In June 1987, he married Ruth Schildknecht and added Michael Harry to complete the family.
Mike will be deeply missed by his children: Laura (Tony) Hanson and Michael H. (Samantha Tonak) Pettit; three grandchildren: Liz, Kadence, and Elijah; his mother, Colleen; siblings: Paul Pettit, Anna (Lee) Nolz, and John Koeck; his beloved border collie, Dolly; and many loving family members and friends.
He was preceded in death by his son, Alex Wayne Pettit; grandparents, Clifton Riley and Maudie Winnie Pettit and Kathleen “Kitty” Ruby Evans; father, Jimmy Wayne Pettit; stepfather, John Donald Koeck; uncle, Butch Evans; aunt, Patsy Jo Evans; and nephew, Gregory Lee Nolz.
Reck Funeral Home of Miller has been entrusted with Mike’s arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to be used towards a future tribute in Mike’s honor.
Reck Funeral Home of Miller has been entrusted with Mike’s arrangements. visit www.familyfuneralhome.net