Valdosta Daily Times


January 9, 2014

Don Pettigrew, 65

-- — Don Pettigrew, 65 of Valdosta, Ga., passed away on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014 after a short battle with cancer. He was born on Jan. 15, 1948 to the late Arthur and Helen Pettigrew. He was raised in Moultrie Ga. and graduated from Moultrie High School. He received a bachelors degree in art from Mercer University in Macon Ga. He taught high school art for a year and traveled to Greece with friends and explored Europe. He came back to Moultrie and after marrying, he began his professional career as an artist. For two years, he only used pencil as his medium. When he began using watercolor on his paintings, his career took off. Butler Brown of Hawkinsville, Ga., also an artist, became Don’s mentor and longtime friend.

Don’s wildlife and landscape paintings are included in public and private collections on five continents and from Maine to Hawaii in the United States. Don was a charter member of the exclusive Atlanta-based Watercolor Collective. His awards include the Governor’s Artist of Excellence Award, Winner of the Georgia Wildlife Management Area stamp competition, finalist in the Federal Duck Stamp competition, purchase award in the National Print Competition and over fifty paintings and watercolor awards at regional and national art shows including “Best of Show” awards. He worked with Colson Printing the last several years and became a close friend to Wendy Colson.

Don always loved water and was an accomplished sailor. He was a member of the Valdosta Yacht Club and sailed in many regattas. He won some races and always had a great time. He lived in a cabin on Lake Allatoona at the Atlanta Yacht Club for several years, where he could paint all night and sail during the day. His love of water included going fly fishing in the North Georgia mountains where his parents lived. He also loved deep sea fishing and went as often as he could with Wendy and friends. Anytime he could “wet a hook”, he was happy.

His many talents did not stop with just being a great artist. He could take apart an automobile engine and put it back together. His carpenter skills included building cabinets and furniture that would have made him a good living. But his God-given skills as an artist was his first love and his paintings and prints will be cherished for generations to come. It is rare that people leave a mark on this world after they die, but Don did and his legacy is secure.

The one thing that he didn’t get to experience was learning how to fly an airplane. It was a source of great pride for him that his son Jay, became a pilot. They flew many times together. Sometimes just flying to the beach, having lunch, and flying home.

Don was one of the founding fathers of the Great Hahira Pick-in. Along with Wilby Coleman, another longtime friend, and others, he enjoyed the pick-in and playing the guitar with the band. There was always music at Wilby’s house. On Thanksgiving and Christmas there were many turkeys that were being smoked into the wee hours as they all picked and played their instruments.

His survivors include, son and daughter-in-law, Jay and Heather Pettigrew; grandson, Noah Pettigrew; granddaughters, Sammie Grace and Emery Pettigrew all of Lake Park, Ga.; one brother, Hank Pettigrew of Charlotte, N.C.; and special friends, Dr. John Kendrick, Dr. Mili Hunt, Andy Patterson and Michael Ackerman all from Valdosta Ga.; longtime friend, Jim Kozak from Santa Fe, New Mexico, Claudia Schlottman from St. Simons Island, Ga., Dr. Ed Hiatt of Lake Park, Ga.;  and numerous cousins and friends.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014 in the Valdosta Chapel of Music Funeral Services. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Condolences may be expressed online at — Music Funeral Services of Valdosta

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