Dr. Benjamin Aby Petty
April 15, 1921 to October 10, 2018
Dr. Petty was born April 15, 1921 to Maurice F. Petty and Myrtle Aby Petty in New Orleans, LA. Dr. Petty graduated from McMain High School in New Orleans and graduated with Honors from Tulane University with a BA in English, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He married Mary Ent Pearce, who was an Honors Graduate of Sophie Newcomb College.
Dr. Petty graduated from Emory University with Honors with a Masters of Divinity and was ordained as a Methodist minister. While he was attending Emory, he was the minister to several rural churches in Georgia. Dr. Petty also attended Boston University where he earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy. While living in Boston, Dr. Petty pastored two churches and lived in the basement of one of the churches with his wife and newborn son.
After completing his studies in Boston, he returned to New Orleans as Associate Pastor at Rayne Memorial Methodist Church on St. Charles Avenue. In 1953, Dr. Petty was hired by Southern Methodist University to teach in the Religion Department. Over the years, he taught Religion, Philosophy, Nature of Man, Ethics, and in the Masters of Liberal Arts program. He taught for 58 years at SMU, teaching his last class and retiring at age 91. He also taught a Sunday School Class at University Park United Methodist Church for over 50 years.
Dr. Petty was the longest serving professor at SMU. He was Chairman Emeritus of the Philosophy Department and was honored to lead Commencement for many years. He served as Secretary - Treasurer for the American Association of University Professors, and served as President of that organization for 25 years. He served as Secretary - Treasurer and President of Phi Beta Kappa. Dr. Petty also served on the SMU Pre-Med Recommendation Committee for 33 years.
Dr. Petty is survived by a son, Benjamin P. Petty and his wife, Carolyn; a daughter, Ann Petty; 6 grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren.
A memorial Service was held on November 7, 2018, at University Park United Methodist Church.
Dr. Petty will be remembered for his dedication to his faith, his family, and to educating and preparing generations of ministers.