Kenton Dirk Petrie, age 77, passed away at his Dahlonega home on 6 March 2021. Ken was born on 24 March 1943 in Los Angeles, CA and grew up in Portland, OR, with parents Kenton Winfield Petrie and Ruth Anna Kieft Petrie.
Chief Master Sergeant (E9) Petrie was a decorated United States Air Force veteran who served in both the Vietnam War and Desert Storm and spent a total of 30 years on active duty. During his long career Chief Petrie served in Japan, Korea, Turkey, Vietnam (3 tours), Philippines, and the nuclear clean-up project on Eniwetok Island. He was a member of the Air Force Communications Command Inspector General Team for several years and his wife is fond of saying that between his long tours of duty, temporary tours of duty, and the IG Team he has visited nearly every place on planet Earth where the Air Force maintained communications equipment. In two of his three Vietnam tours Chief Petrie was embedded with Army units as close air support during operations. Chief Petrie was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (4), Joint Service Commendation Medal, AF Commendation Medal (4), National Defense Service Medal (2), Vietnam Service Medal (6), Humanitarian Service Medal, AF Overseas Short Tour Ribbon (5), AF Overseas Long Tour Ribbon (2), Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross (2), and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
Upon retiring from the Air Force in 1991, Ken earned his Bachelor of Nursing Degree at age 55 from Kennesaw State University and spent the next 10 years as a registered nurse, learning to be a kinder, more patient and understanding human being and shedding some of the toughness that came with being in combat and in charge of the work and careers of others. Ken met his wife Betty (Saine) Petrie at Dobbins Air Reserve Base and they were married in 1987. He told folks that he fell in love with North Georgia and Betty, in that order, and was destined to retire there because Betty wouldn’t budge to live anywhere else. He enjoyed the opportunities for hunting and fishing in our beautiful mountains, and reluctantly maintained large swaths of lawn at their Dahlonega home. During his tours of duty in Florida Ken learned to scuba dive and became a certified instructor. He was also handy with a hammer and saw and made several pieces of furniture for their home.
Ken was predeceased by his parents Kenton and Ruth Petrie along with two furry friends, Ali Cat and Harley Cat. He is survived by his wife Betty Petrie, Dahlonega; Daughter Nerina (Rick) Mann, Mableton, GA; Daughter Chandra Petrie, Providence, RI; Brother William (Rose) Petrie, Richland, WA; Sister Joanna (Owen) Rush, Portland, OR; and Sister Donna Petrie, Anchorage, AK.
Burial will take place at the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, GA, on Friday, April 2, 2021 at 1:00 P.M.. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Disabled American Veterans' foundation, or a local charity of your choice, are appreciated.
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