On Christmas Eve, Eve, Franklin's Santa, Pat Petty, got his Christmas miracle. Excitedly awaiting him at the gates of Heaven where his wife of 55 years, Dianne Mahan Petty, granddaughter, Amelia Patton White, mother, Virginia Smithson Petty, in-laws, Millie and Speedy Mahan, and all of his precious Puppies. He is survived by a daughter, Leya Petty White and sister, Mary Petty Pewitt, and her family.
Pat was born in and raised in Franklin, Tennessee and was a proud Franklinite. He attended Franklin schools and graduated from Franklin high school in 1964. In the 10th grade, he met Linda Dianne Mahan. They were married in June of '66 and were blessed to spend the next 55 years together until her passing in 2021.
Pat was a hard worker. As a teen, he worked at Pigg and Peach men's store. He mentioned that this job caused him to want to always dress nicely. After high school, he went to Tennessee Tech, but the allure of young love brought him back home and he got a job at Warren paints. After Dianne graduated in June 1966, they were married. Pat joined the Tennessee National Guard and baby Leya joined the family in 1968.
In May 1969, Pat was hired at MTE. He was a member of IBEW and considered it an honor to represent his fellow workers. While at MTE, he was a lineman, and later became a foreman. During his time at MTE, he helped keep the lights on, and even traveled with work crews to other cities when they had weather disasters such as tornadoes or ice storms. Over the years, Pat's training and expertise helped install the electrical grids to provide energy to many different areas of Williamson County. He also considered himself a mentor to the younger guys who worked for MTE. In January 2008, he retired after 39 years.
Pat was very active in the Franklin community. When Leya was little and showed an interest in sports, he joined the Optimist club. While there, he coached basketball and softball, ultimately becoming the softball commissioner for a few years. When soccer became a sport, in Franklin, he and Jody Jones coached Leya's soccer team. Of course, she was the only girl on the team and definitely held her own. He continued to coach Leya's rec league team and assistant coached 2 of Leya's travel teams that won state championships. One of those teams came in fourth in the southeast region in Tulsa Ok. Pat was a loyal follower of Leya in her sports career at BGA. He and Dianne attended her soccer, basketball, and softball games at home and away. After her graduation, they traveled to Birmingham to watch her play softball at Samford University. As a dad, he was very proud of Leya and her sports accomplishments.
Pat and Dianne also served the Franklin and Williamson County area as lifetime members of the PTA and BGA Wildcat Club. Pat spent countless hours helping with FSSD spaghetti suppers and working to make the BGA Jamboree a success. Pat was a Board member of the RogerShire Neighborhood Association for many years and he and Dianne delighted in hosting their annual Christmas party for many years.
Although Pat was many things, he was born to be Santa Claus. He lucked into the job, one day when the Santa for Dianne's sorority breakfast with Santa could not make it. This started a lifetime Joy for Pat. He was a Franklin icon who drove red convertibles with the license plate SClaus. From 2005 to 2016, he and Dianne attended the Charles W Howard Santa Claus school in Midland Michigan. Over the years, Pat delighted in being Santa at Dianne's school, Moore Elementary, and Leya's school, Franklin High School. He was the Santa for Williamson County Parks and Recreation, the Franklin Christmas parade and tree lighting on the Square, and country music singer George Jones' annual Christmas lights fest. He appeared in Cracker Barrel's Christmas Wish Book, was the on field Santa for the Tennessee Titans and assisted Governor Haslam in lighting the Tennessee state Christmas tree at the Capitol.
During the Christmas season, Pat was very busy being Santa at schools and churches, private parties, and visiting children who were sick, and could not leave the hospital. Many times, Pat would jump in his suit like SantaMan and visit folks at their house or nursing home because they could not make it to see him as Santa. He used to say that you wonder just how many pictures of him were in people's houses around Franklin. He loved it when he was at a restaurant or doing something around town and little kids recognized him as Santa. Being filled with the spirit of Santa was Pat's gift, and he worked tirelessly to share it with others.
Pat Petty's life was a life well lived. He was a loving husband, dedicated father, loyal friend, mentor, and amazing person. For him, Santa wasn't just a character that came out in December, it was truly who he was.
The family would like to express sincere appreciation to dad's healthcare team including Home Health Nurses Melissa Martin and Andrea Baker, Dr. Halford, Dr. Poole, Dr. Fleser, Dr. Milstone, Dr. Wilbeck, Dr. Byrge, Hilary Weiss, Dr. Means, Sean Pontow of Southern Charm, Williamson Medical Center nurses and doctors CCU, 5th and 6th floor, and ER, and the precious folks at NHC Cool Springs.
A Celebration of Life will be held 2:00PM Saturday, December 30, 2023 at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home. Jim Taylor will officiate. Honorary pallbearers will be current and former employees of Middle Tennessee Electric, Cory Pewitt, Ron White and Eric Wilson. Memorials may be made to ARC of Williamson County or Brightstone. Visitation will be 4-7PM Friday and one hour prior to the service at WILLIAMSON MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION SERVICES, 615-794-2289. www.williamsonmemorial.com