Elinor J. Pettit, 89, of Quitman, Georgia, passed away September 15, 2020, in Denver, Colorado. Elinor was born in Valdosta, GA, on June 23, 1931, to Augustus Bennett Jones, Jr. and Rossie Downs Jones. Elinor had two siblings, a twin sister, Jeanette Jones Gallagher, and an older brother, Augustus B. Jones, III. She graduated from Brooks County High School in 1949 and Valdosta State College in 1952 with a B.S. in Chemistry. She met her future husband, William Pettit III, when he was stationed at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia in 1952, and they were married November 27, 1954.
Elinor was an accomplished painter and while raising her 4 children, she held several art shows over the years, mostly exhibiting her signature beach scenes. In 1972, Elinor co-founded Semaphore, a graphic design and advertising business in Columbia, SC, with three dear friends, Frankie Bridges, Mary Arnold Garvin, and Cynthia Gilliam. She also co-founded the Workshop Theatre in Columbia, SC, in 1967, a vibrant community theatre that is still thriving 53 years later.
Elinor moved from Parker, CO, to Brooklyn, NY, in 1985 and was the head graphic designer for Integrated Resources (TIAA CREF), a world financial investment corporation. In 1995, at the age of 63, she received her Masters in Communication Arts from Pratt Institute, with honors, while also teaching there as a professor.
She co-authored several books with designer, professor, and author Steven Heller of the New York Times, including Graphic Design Time Line: A Century of Design Milestones, Newsletters Now: From Classic to New Wave, Design Dialogues, Looking closer: Critical Writings on Graphic Design, and The Art of Newsletters. Elinor was also one of the key researchers for Paul Rand (DESIGN), authored by Steven Heller.
Elinor was predeceased by her parents and two siblings. She is survived by four children: Dr. Stephen (Terry) D. Pettit of Greenville, SC; Rossie Pettit (Douglas) Davan of Aurora, CO; Addison F. Pettit of Brooklyn, NY; and William D. Pettit of Bennett, CO; six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Services will be held at Maxwell-Purvis Funeral Home in Quitman, GA, Friday, September 25, with visitation at 1 p.m. and the service at 2 p.m. Elinor will be buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Quitman.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family asks for donations to be made in honor of Elinor J. Pettit to Workshop Theatre - Columbia, SC or Harvest Hope Food Bank - Columbia, SC. Donations can be made through www.workshoptheatre.com (Workshop Theatre (803) 799-4876) and www.harvesthope.org (Harvest Hope (803) 254-4432, ext. 1145).
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