Alumni Spotlight: Lloyd Pettit '44
When heading in or out of town on Interstate 94, it’s hard to miss the Pettit Center, Milwaukee’s largest indoor ice skating facility, adjacent to the Milwaukee County Fairgrounds. What many people may not be aware of, is that the Pettit Center is actually named for Shorewood alumnus Lloyd Pettit, who graduated from Shorewood High School in 1944.
Though Pettit was born in Chicago, his family moved to Shorewood when he was a small child. He was active in basketball during his high school career, serving as a reserve player on the team during his sophomore year, which was the same year that his team won the state title. Upon graduation, Pettit returned to the Chicago area and studied journalism at Northwestern University. During college, Pettit remained active in athletics and participated in basketball, baseball, and football.
As legend has it, Pettit’s college fraternity put on a Homecoming play that included a football game scene, which Pettit narrated. He received so many compliments on his vocal performance, that he turned his focus of study to journalism and broadcasting. After a stint in the Navy, Pettit graduated from Northwestern in 1950 with a degree in radio and television journalism.
Back in Milwaukee, Pettit worked for a year at the WMAW radio station before being hired on at WTMJ as a radio and television announcer. For nearly six years, Pettit announced UW-Wisconsin football and basketball games, conducted interviews before Milwaukee Braves games, and hosted a baseball radio show called “Dugout Doings.” In 1956, Pettit joined WGN Broadcasting in Chicago, where he was praised for his “all-around expertise” in calling everything from baseball and auto races, to dog shows. However, Pettit’s claim to fame came from his true passion for ice hockey. For almost 18 years, Pettit was the “golden-toned” voice of the Chicago Blackhawks, a wildly successful run that awarded him a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1986.
Pettit was also the father of four children with his first wife, Barbara Carlson. Following a divorce from Barbara, Pettit married philanthropist Jane Bradley. In 1976, the Pettits took on ownership of the Milwaukee Admirals hockey team, and could often be found cheering the team on from behind the bench. Lloyd and Jane were also extremely instrumental in the construction of the Bradley Center, which became the home of the Admirals and the National Basketball Association's Milwaukee Bucks, originally opening in October of 1988. Both Lloyd and Jane were elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993.
Lloyd Pettit died of natural causes on November 11, 2003. At the time, he was survived by his four children, a sister, and eight grandchildren.
Tuesday December, 1, 2015
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