Open main menu

Jerry Lyle Pettis (July 18, 1916 – February 14, 1975) was an American politician and a Congressman from California. He was also a rancher, teacher, aviator, religious leader, and businessman.

Jerry Pettis
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from California
In office
January 3, 1967 – February 14, 1975
Preceded byKenneth W. Dyal (33rd)
Yvonne Brathwaite Burke (37th)
Succeeded byDel M. Clawson (33rd)
Shirley Neil Pettis (37th)
Constituency33rd district (1967–75)
37th district (1975)
Personal details
Jerry Lyle Pettis

(1916-07-18)July 18, 1916
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
DiedFebruary 14, 1975(1975-02-14) (aged 58)
Banning, California, U.S.
Resting placeMontecito Memorial Park
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Shirley Neil Pettis
Alma materPacific Union College
ProfessionRancher, teacher, aviator, religious leader, businessman
Military service
Branch/serviceUS Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg U.S. Army Air Forces
Battles/warsWorld War II

Political careerEdit

In 1966, he was elected as a Republican to the U.S. House of Representatives, and he was re-elected in 1968, 1970, 1972 and 1974. He represented California's 33rd Congressional District until January 1975 and its 37th Congressional District thereafter.

Background and personal lifeEdit

Educated in Arizona and California, he graduated from Pacific Union College in Angwin, California in 1938. He did graduate work at the University of Southern California and the University of Denver in 1939-1941 before becoming a businessman. He served in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II and was a pilot for United Airlines.

He was a Seventh-day Adventist.

Death and legacyEdit

Pettis was killed on February 14, 1975, when the Beechcraft Model V35B Bonanza he was piloting crashed near Cherry Valley, California, after he encountered adverse weather conditions.[1] He is buried at Montecito Memorial Park in Colton, California.[2]

Pettis's wife, Shirley Neil Pettis, replaced him in the House when she won a special election on April 29, 1975.

The Jerry Pettis Memorial Veterans Administration Hospital in Loma Linda, California, was so named in his honor. His congressional papers are located in the Archives & Special Collections at Loma Linda University.

During the 1970s, the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Scholarship was established and is awarded by the American Medical Association Foundation to "students pursuing careers in science communications".[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Famous People Who Died in Aviation Accidents: 1970s
  2. ^ Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  3. ^ "History of the AMA Foundation — 1970s: Expanding Scholarship and Research". American Medical Association.

External linksEdit