Joanie Pettit 1934-2022

Wednesday, October 26, 2022
Joanie Pettit 1934-2022

Joanie Pettit passed away on Oct. 20, 2022 at the age of 88 in her own home with her loving daughters, Cindy and Peggy, by her side.

Joanie was born May 31, 1934, in Butte to Joe Bartzen and Bessie Freel. She had two sisters, Patty Selzer and Betty Sullivan, that have preceded her in death. When Joanie was six years old, her parents were divorced. They lived on Caledona Street in Butte. The story has it that Joanie was the king of that street. No one messed with her or she would take care of them herself.

Bessie met Mark Clemow, a rancher from Jackson, Montana, while she was employed at the Finley. On June 7, 1947, they were married and Bessie and Joanie moved to the ranch in Jackson. In the year 1954, Mark bought the Bar B Ranch in Wisdom. Mark sent Joanie, her freshman year in high school, to Salt Lake to an all-girls academy. Mark thought that Joanie would become more of a lady than a tomboy. Mark did not know that when Joanie started her sophomore year, that a few months after beginning she called and said “I am through with this school and I am coming home.”

Joanie came back to work on the ranch. That was the place she wanted to be. Joanie always told us about haying with the horses. Her place was on a horse. Joanie was a candidate for the Beaverhead County Rodeo Queen in the early 50s. She loved the ranch and working there. Mark adopted Joanie in the 70s and she became a Clemow. During her time, Joanie would go to the local dances in Jackson and there she met Dale Pettit. Dale proposed to Joanie on their way to the horse races. He told her not here, that they did not have time to stop, and that her ring was in the glove compartment.

Dale and Joan were married Sept. 18, 1954. Dad was manager of the Hairpin Ranch. Three of their five children: Kathy, Mike and Peggy, were born. In June 1959, Dale and Joanie moved to Wisdom to work for Joan’s dad, Mark. There their two remaining children Cindy and Janet were born.

Joanie was the head cook during all the years they lived on the ranch during haying. Everyone knew she was “The Rule of the Cook House,” and knew not to cause problems or they may not eat their next meal there.

For 18 years, Joanie would travel home on Fridays to see Dad and back to Dillon on Sundays to put their five kids through school.

On March 30, 1996 on their return trip from Arizona, where they spent winters together, Dale and Joanie received the news from their kids that their home on the ranch of 37 years had burned to the ground. They then decided it was time to retire from ranching and they bought a home in Dillon. It was a different lifestyle for them, but they seemed to settle in and enjoy their new place. Joanie lived there until her passing.

Joan loved to bowl, create ceramic, painting her house and fences, color and working out in her yard. Of everything, Mom loved her kids, grandkids, and great-grandchildren. A person always knew where they stood with Joanie, she had a very kind heart and loved to give to others.

Joanie is preceded in death by her husband Dale, both her parents and her siblings.

Mom is survived by her kids Kathy Hays, Mike Pettit, Peggy (Bill) Buyan, Cindy Pettit and Janet Paulson; grandchildren JD and Rowdy Hays, Jenny (Jake) Kearns, Hayley Pettit, Marcus and Mike Buyan, Clay and Paige Paulson. She also leaves behind her five great-grandchildren, a special nephew, Chip Camp that called her everyday until the end; and numerous nieces and nephews.

There will be a family memorial for Joanie at the Mountain View Cemetery Wednesday Oct. 26 at 11 a.m., followed by a luncheon for friends and family at the Elks Club in Dillon at 12 p.m.

The family would like to give a special thank you to Hospice, Dr. McIntyre. They would also like to thank Rich Lawson for doing the memorial, Jerri Champlin for doing the luncheon and Joanie’s special neighbors that were always there for her.

Memorials may be given to the Shodair Hospital, 2755 Colonial Drive, Helena, MT 59601 or a charity of the donor’s choice.