Burle Pettit (’60), 87, a former member and vice chair of the UNT System Board of Regents and editor of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, died May 29 in Lubbock.
He began working for the newspaper in 1960 and climbed the ranks as sports editor, managing editor, executive editor and editor, retiring in 2000. A Boyhood Dream Realized: Half a Century of Texas Culture, One Newspaper Column at a Time is a 2019 collection of his columns, which he continued to write for the paper as editor emeritus. He was known for his gift as a storyteller and his focus on being accurate and objective.
His career in journalism began as editor of the Campus Chat at North Texas, and he stayed loyal to his alma mater. He served on the UNT System Board of Regents from 1995 to 2007, was a lifetime member of the UNT Alumni Association and a member of the UNT Journalism Hall of Fame. He received the Green Glory Award in 1994.
In a 1997 article for the North Texan, Pettit recalled that C.E. “Pop” Shuford, Campus Chat newspaper advisor and founder of the journalism program, would throw his eraser at students who misspelled words or used improper grammar. One time Pettit was the object of Shuford’s irritation, but he inadvertently hit Mike Cochran, future longtime reporter for the Associated Press, instead. “Cochran said to Shuford, ‘I didn’t do anything wrong.’ Shuford said, ‘I would apologize, Mike, but there were many times when I probably should have hit you but I didn’t.’”
Pettit also served in the U.S. Army. He was active in numerous organizations in Lubbock. He is preceded in death by his wife, Clara Frances Pettit (’60).
Visitation is scheduled from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. June 2 at Sanders Funeral Home in Lubbock. The funeral is at 10 a.m. June 3 at First Christian Church in Lubbock, and a special graveside service follows at 2:30 p.m. at Newman Cemetery near the Sylvester community in Fisher County.