Cover photo for Iris Colleen Pettit (Nee O’Conner)'s Obituary
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Iris Colleen Pettit (Nee O’Conner)

Iris Colleen Pettit (nee O’Connor), 91, of Chandler, AZ passed from this world June 15, 2023. She died of complications brought on by congestive heart failure.

Colleen and her twin brother Charles were born June 2, 1932, to parents Bonita V. Heiner and Charles O’Connor, in Pueblo, CO. She was proud of her of her descent from Colorado pioneers and Irish immigrants.  In her later years, she enjoyed traveling with Charles in search of family genealogy history and locations throughout Arizona and Colorado.

Connie served her country and joined the Women’s Air Force during the Korean War.  While assigned to duty in San Antonio, she met and married Jennings Bryan Pettit.  They had three children Virginia, Kathleen, and Robert.  Her marriage lasted 22 years, but was not a happy partnership, so she raised her children single-handedly.  She was a wonderful mother who exemplified solid work ethics, and a clear conviction of the right way to live.  She ran the house with a firm hand and even without fancy cellphones, mother always knew what her kids were doing, who their friends were, and where they were.  She never missed a ball game when her son, Robert, played football, basketball and baseball in high school.  When her daughter, Kathy, was plagued by chronic valley fever meningitis, her hands-on mothering extended to Kathy’s very young son, Andrew. Once more she never missed a parent conference, school event, or ball game, from little league through high school for Andy. Mother, daughter and grandson lived together until Andrew joined the Navy.

She found great satisfaction in her work at Williams Air Force Base, where she was the Executive Assistant to the Base Commander, and the Administrator of the Federal Women’s Program, an early diversity and women’s rights program.  Connie was ever a fighter for justice and inclusion, so she was very active in the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), which is the union that represents civil servants.

Connie is survived by her brother Charles, two of her children, Virginia and Robert, five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.  To quote Shakespeare, she has “shuffled off this mortal coil”, yet she lives in our hearts forever.

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