Donald Robert 'Don' Petit


On Jan. 4, 2013, at Mercy Medical Center, surrounded by his family, Donald Robert "Don" Petit left this world behind and joined those waiting for him on the other side.

Donald was born in Marlow, Okla. to Robert Louisa and Jessie Lauretta Petit. He was the oldest boy of eleven children. In 1957, Don moved to Colorado with his family. In January of 1966, at the age of 18, Don joined the Navy during the height of the Vietnam War. He proudly served on the USS Ranger CVA-61 aircraft carrier. He later came home and married Vonda Elliot of Cortez. While their union did not last, he was blessed with the birth of his only child, a daughter, Crystal. Don worked for many years as a butcher for City Market. Later he continued his craft for many years with his best friend, Ed Switzer of Cortez. He was a longtime volunteer of the Dolores Fire Department, as well as a lifetime member of the VFW. Don was a huge part of his community. He was an ingrained part of many lives, and loved by most everyone he met.

Donald was a true family man, an avid outdoorsman, and a phenomenal cook. No one was a stranger to him, and he was always surrounded by a crowd. His smile could light up anyone's day, and his bear hugs were legendary. Don was a stubborn one, though you'd never get him to admit it. He knew what he believed in, and he stood up for those beliefs. He loved to "politic," and none would be surprised if he playfully called those with a differing opinion a "communist." Don was a patriot, fiercely proud of his country as well as forever dedicated to his family.

He was a best friend to many, and known as "Uncle Don" by most. His daughter, Crystal, and two grandchildren, Dianna and Trevor were the love of his life. His pride and devotion to them had no limits, and he had no problem letting them know how much they meant to him.

Don is survived by his only daughter, Crystal Croke of Dolores, and her husband Gary; his two grandchildren, Dianna Lee Croke and Trevor Robert Croke; his siblings, Sue Driver (Bob) of Dove Creek, Pam Petit of Durango, Frida Kay Wentz (Dewayne) of Washington, Fred Petit (Karen) of Pleasant View, Dwight Petit (Cindy) of New York; and his brothers of the heart, Ed Switzer (Maxine) of Cortez, and Steve Decker (Diane) of Arizona. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews who loved their Uncle Don so much.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Robert L. and Jessie Petit; his sisters, Esther Louderback, Katherine Lewis, Maxine Waller (Don), Bobbie Anne Halley; and his baby brother, Gary Wayne Petit.

The memorial service took place on Thursday, Jan. 10, at 2 p.m. at the Dolores Fire Department. A potluck followed. All were welcome.

Don will be missed greatly by all who knew him. He was a big man, with an even bigger heart.

Services are under the direction of Ertel Funeral Home. For further information or to send condolences, log on to and click on the obituary section.