Floyd Edgar Petty, Jr. (1935-2009)

Floyd Petty grew up in Primm Springs in Hickman County, Tennessee. He attended college at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. After graduating with a degree in civil engineering he began working with the Tennessee Highway Department. During his 43 year tenure there, he initiated the aerial Survey Division, flying many miles over our state. His greatest discovery was in the early years when he met a young woman named Rachel, who worked in the Planning Department. After a year of dating they joined in marriage. Their vows were honored to love each other for richer or poorer and in sickness and health for what would have been 50 years this November. Their first residence was a duplex near Lipscomb University. Later they moved to a house in Donelson. But in 1965 they decided to move out of town to, what was then, the much less populated area of Hermitage. There they raised three children who can talk for hours about the experiences, trips, wisdom, projects, traditions, and memories their father gave them. Each joined in from their bedrooms to sing with him as he led his “Sunday Morning Sing Alongs” of some of his favorite songs. This was proceeded by his delicious Sunday morning breakfasts of pancakes or French toast. They appreciated being cured of their nagging hiccups by his magic cure or protected by his bravery as he killed spiders, crickets, and even mice. He carried his children miles on his shoulders and read to them at bedtime and later even helped them move their beds from college and post college transitions. They knew they could always count on him. They now appreciate the times he said, “This is going to hurt me more than it does you.” The strength of his fatherhood was embedded in a strong marriage. “He never gave me reason to doubt his commitment to me or to the family,” Rachel explains. In early years when his work often took him away from home, he never failed to call each day and always returned with a gift for her and the children. He also expressed his love verbally every day. He was a man who could say, “I’m sorry.” He was dependable. He and Rachel enjoyed a great marriage. His recent deep love was for his grandchildren Hannah and Nathaniel. They loved their Popsy. His skill to build and love for grandchildren came together in an obvious way when one looks into his backyard. Another commitment tops them all. February 10th of this year he decided to be immersed into Christ for the remission of sins. His family gathered around with deep joy to witness this event. They knew beyond a doubt he was an excellent man, but they longed to see him become God’s man. After several months of a terminal illness, while receiving beautiful care from his family, he peacefully stepped into eternity. Sunday and Monday, literally hundreds upon hundreds came to honor his memory, proving his works do follow him! We bask in the hope that God gives, and say a prayer of thanksgiving for being able to share our life with this good, God-fearing man. As Nate said, “Its going to be alright because Popsy is with Jesus and Jesus is our friend.”