Peter David Dewitt, son of Sylvia Cole Dewitt Sawyer and Melvin Dewitt, was born March 22, 1954, in Houston, Mo. He left this world Sept. 3, 2011, with his wife and children at his bedside after a short battle with cancer.
As a small child he lived in Raymondville, Mo., before his family moved to Houston. Pete started first grade at Houston Schools and completed his education there, graduating with the class of 1973. In August 1971, at the Houston Old Settlers Reunion, Pete met his future wife and mother of his children. On June 24, 1972, he was united in marriage to Dorothy Bradshaw and within this union they were blessed with a daughter and two sons. Pete was baptized in 1979 at First Christian Church in Houston, Mo.
Pete worked several years at Duff’s Western Auto before going to work for the Lee Company, where he was employed for more than 20 years. After the Lee Company closed, Pete went to work for IWX Trucking, team driving with his son Trenton for four years. He was working at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., when he suffered a massive stroke in May 2008. It was a long road to recovery but with his determination and strong will to fight, he made it.
Being forced into retirement after this, Pete started another career which is the one he enjoyed the most — spending more time with his seven grandkids and spoiling them rotten, teaching them things and doing things with each one. Teaching David to ride a four-wheeler by himself. Going to Troy’s football games and getting excited when he made a great play. Going for walks with Emma and Ashlyn and helping them put puzzles together or taking Cameron, Hunter and Gabe to the park to play on the swings. All the grandkids knew when they went to Papa’s house there would be plenty of junk food to eat and a bag full to take home with them. Going to school for Grandparent’s Day with each grandchild was an event he always looked forward to. Holiday dinners and birthday parties with the kids were always cherished by him. Everyone will always remember the Christmas gifts of money from Papa. He made it a game to find the clue and to figure out where it was hidden.
Some of Pete’s favorite past times were playing music. He played with the local band “Country Bumpkins” in the mid-70s and later with the Leland Martin Band for many years.
Before he and his family relocated to Lebanon, Mo., from Houston, he enjoyed ginseng hunting with his father-in-law, Lee Bradshaw, and brother-in-law, Harold Hildebrand. They spent many hours in the woods together hunting ginseng and forging a friendship that lasted through the years.
Pete was preceded in death by his mother, Sylvia Sawyer; stepfather, Willie Sawyer; father, Melvin Dewitt; two brothers, Clyde Dewitt and Clise Dewitt; six sisters, Selma Dewitt, Mary Dewitt, Shirley Bradshaw, Katie McGuire, Velma Settles and Joyce Amburn; his father-in-law, Lee Bradshaw; and two brothers-in-law, Gary Bradshaw and Melvin Sawyer.
He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Dorothy Dewitt; one daughter, Christina Dewitt; two sons, Tatem Dewitt and wife, Mandy, and Trenton Dewitt and wife, Tara. He is also survived by (according to Pete), the “best, most wonderful grandchildren in the world, his joy, his happiness and the light of his life,” David and Troy Schwarz, Emma and Ashlyn Dewitt, Cameron, Hunter and Gabe Dewitt, all of Ozark.
He is also survived by two brothers, Clay Dewitt of Houston, Mo., and Jerry Dewitt of Washington, Mo.; four sisters, Becky Sawyer and Janet Bell of Houston, Patsy Drake of Solo, Mo., and Lavonne Dewitt, Licking, Mo.; and his mother-in-law, Geneva Bradshaw of Licking, Mo.
Services were 2 p.m. Wednesday Sept. 7, a First Christian Church of Houston, Mo., with Rodney McCann officiating. Pallbearers were Larry Bradshaw, Wayne Bradshaw, Harold Hildebrand, Parrish Drake, Chance Drake and Rhett Drake. Burial was in Pine Lawn Cemetery with services were under the direction of Evans Funeral Home.
Memorials may be made to The American Cancer Society. Online condolences may be sent to www.evans.com.