William "Bill" Petty

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WILLIAM "BILL" PETTY

WEAVERVILLE - passed away peacefully at the age of 77, on the evening of January 17, 2013, at the John F. Keever Solace Center with family by his side. Before relocating to the mountains, Bill and his family resided in Miami and Ft. Myers, FL.

He enjoyed a very special life full of love, excitement and adventure. He was the first Killer Whale trainer on the East Coast and one of the first animal trainers to create a quadruple dolphin jump with each animal doing a different trick simultaneously. He developed a variety of innovative training techniques with sea mammals, working with Sea Lions to Dolphins to Killer Whales in many different events and locales from the NY World's Fair in 1964-65 to the end zone Dolphin tank during the undefeated season of the Miami Dolphins.

While he enjoyed swimming and diving, he also was an avid sailor and loved to race his catamaran throughout the USA and held many titles in his class. He loved his mountains and taking long walks in the woods with his family, especially with his wife and granddaughters. He embraced life to its fullest and taught his family to do the same. Bill was happiest when spending time with his family and watching his granddaughters play a favorite sport, as he was their biggest fan.

William is preceded in death by his father, Edwin Ray Petty; mother, Elsie Roderick Petty; brother, Merrill Petty, infant sister, Doris Raye Petty; sister, Nadine Perschy; brother in law, Pat Hingle and sister-in-law, Alice Hingle.

Surviving are his wife, Jamie Fincher Petty of the home; son, Bo Petty of Florida; daughter, Cindy Hawkins and husband, David, of Weaverville, NC; sisters, Rosamond McIntosh of Orlando, FL; Carolyn and husband, CJ Doane, of Valparaiso, IN; sisters-in-law, Joyce France of Hendersonville, NC, Julia Hussman and husband, Tom, of El Paso, TX; grandchildren, Sabrina Dianne and Leah Samantha Hawkins, who were the apple of his eye, and many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins and special friends.

A private, family service will be held with dear friend and Chaplain, David Ingram, officiating.

The family wishes to extend their heartfelt gratitude to the staff of Mission Hospital, especially 5 Heart; Lynn Irvine, Home Health Nurse; Rick Halford, Physical Therapist, the many doctors, especially Dr.'s Melissa Hicks and Rhoda Brosnan, who worked so hard to find a cure. Their months of care and compassion will never be forgotten.

Condolences can be made online to www.ashevilleareaalternative.com

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Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times on Jan. 24, 2013
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