Brooklyn Boro

Obituary: Marilyn Beverly Hilley Pettit, Ph.D., 1942-2015

December 9, 2015 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Photo courtesy of the Pettit family

Marilyn Beverly Hilley Pettit, Ph.D. (1942-2015) died at Portland, Oregon on November 16th, 2015 of cancer.  She is survived by daughter Rachel Pettit Reich, son-in-law Christopher Guittard Reich, and grandchildren Clayton Guittard Reich and Abigail Lee Reich of Portland, and by sister Evelyn Hilley Reed of Granbury, Texas.

Dr. Pettit was born in Dallas, Texas, the daughter of Wofford Neal Hilley, born in Georgia, and Aldine Lavelle Shipper Hilley, born in Texas.  She attended Memphis State University and the University of Texas at Austin where she graduated with a B.A. in 1964, in which year she married Aubrey Lee (Mike) Pettit, Jr. of Houston, Texas.  The couple lived briefly in Westchester County, afterward in Brooklyn, NY, where she lived from 1970 to 2013.  Mr. Pettit, an attorney, died in 1996.

Dr. Pettit received her Ph.D. in U.S. history from New York University in 1991 and served as an administrator and faculty member at N.Y.U., the University of Maryland at College Park, Maryland, St. Francis College in Queens, NY, Columbia University in the City of New York, and Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.  She taught archival management and U.S. history and was co-author of New York University and the City (1997) and other works.  She was a member of the Steering Committee for Columbia University’s 250th celebration in 2003-2004 and afterward retired from Brooklyn Historical Society in 2007 as Vice President for Collections, in which capacity she oversaw the restoration of the library and archival collections to active research use.  Consulting clients included the New York Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, the Newark Museum, the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI), the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. http://theoldstonehouse.org/battle-of-brooklyn/explore/.  Dr. Pettit was a long-time member of the Board of Directors of the Old Stone House at Brooklyn, the historic house in Washington Park that was the Revolutionary War battle site of the Battle of Brooklyn in August, 1776.  She authored an on-line guide to all sites in Brooklyn/Kings County associated with the Battle of Brooklyn.

Dr. Pettit was a member of the Heights Casino, the Columbia University Club, the Junior League of Brooklyn, the Society of Old Brooklynites, and the Peter Minuit Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and a former member of First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn, NY.  She was named to Who’s Who in American Women in 2008.  

Remembrances and contributions: The Old Stone House, P.O. Box 150613, Brooklyn, NY 11215 or online at www.theoldstonehouse.org .  

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