Pettet Finds 'Quality Of Life' In His Profession


Like father, like son?

That's how it may seem on the surface. But make no mistake. Teddy Pettet is not a clone of his dad, Ted Pettet.

Yes, the older Ted Pettet was once a coach and teacher at Payson High School just like Teddy Pettet.

And yes, they both taught typing and accounting.

The first Ted Pettet, however, was also the first mayor of the Town of Payson, back in the boomtown days of the early '70s ... whereas, Teddy Pettet has no political ambition whatsoever.

"Oh, no," he replies to the suggestion that he take one more stride within his father's footsteps. "I'm a town employee, so I couldn't run if I wanted to. And I really don't want to."

As anyone who knows him will tell you, this particular Pettet much prefers the sports arena over the political arena. A 10-year employee of the town's Parks and Recreation Department, he is now one of the department's recreation coordinators. And he could not be happier.

"It's a great job," he said with a satisfied grin. "Working with people. Getting to see the kids and the adults go out and participate in sports, exercise, have fun, compete and socialize with their friends. That's what recreation is all about, and it's something I love doing. It's a quality-of-life thing."

Quality of life is important to Pettet. And it is also this 42-year-old's explanation as to why he has remained in the Rim country since the day after he was born when his parents brought him home to Payson from Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix.

"My folks moved here in 1958, about two or three months before I was born," Pettet said. "The only reason I was born in the Valley is that, back then, Payson really didn't have a hospital to speak of."

But it had everything else a young boy could want.

"This was a wonderful place to grow up," he said. "I can remember riding my bike down Main Street in the evening during a weekday, and you were lucky if you saw three cars. You knew all the kids, the teachers, everyone in town. Right behind our house there were Indian ruins which are all gone now, all covered by houses."

After Pettet graduated from PHS, he attempted to take advantage of a baseball scholarship he'd earned from the Valley's Grand Canyon College now known as Grand Canyon University.

"My first semester was pretty shaky," he said. "I had never lived in the big city. In fact, the first time I drove down there, I got lost. I had to call my aunt and uncle, who I was living with, and they had to give me directions to their house."

Now you know why, after a single semester, Pettet transferred to Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher, where he played baseball for a year and took classes for a year and a half. Later, he returned to Grand Canyon to work as a basketball manager "That's the guy who washes the jocks and brings the balls and drives the vans." Pettet earned enough to pay his way through Northern Arizona University, where he took business courses until deciding that what he really wanted to do was to teach.

"It wasn't at all by design that I ended up at Payson High School, teaching the same classes as my dad," Pettet said. "I applied for another teaching position, but got handed the lower freshman-sophomore classes, which just so happened to be the typing classes and an accounting class."

All along, out of his addiction to sports, Pettet continued to umpire for and officiate at local softball and basketball games. So when the opportunity arose to work for the Parks and Recreation Department nearly 10 years ago, Pettet jumped at it.

"Compared to a lot of other places and other towns of this size, our parks and recreation department offers a lot more a nice smorgasbord of a little of everything," he said. "We offer 15 or 16 different leagues in youth sports and adult sports, and we take whoever comes in; unlike some other places, we don't limit the number of teams we'll take or the number of participants.

"I'm a sports nut," Pettet said. "I officiate high-school soccer, football, basketball, wrestling, baseball, fast-pitch softball, slow-pitch softball. I enjoy all those things. It's just kind of natural that I went into this line of work."

And also, perhaps, hereditary.

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