Elizabeth Stetson Pettit, 92, died peacefully in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday, May 11. Mrs. Pettit was born in Bedford, N.Y., the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. J. Clifford McChristie, and was a longtime resident of Princeton, N.J. and Chappaquiddick. She lived a full life, impacted many, and will be missed by her family and friends.
Elizabeth, also known as Snookie to her friends, and as “Bizbeth” to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, grew up with a love of horses. She rode her pony, Pet, all over the Bedford countryside and was especially proud of being in charge, at age 12, of a local junior horse show. She also enjoyed riding in equitation classes at Madison Square Garden. Elizabeth was a woman before her time, and her love of physical challenge and adventure expanded as she grew older. As an adult she learned to ski, sail, fly an airplane and drive a four-in-hand. She enjoyed many summers cruising the waters from Chesapeake Bay to Maine, and while closer to home on Chappy, she was a crack crew on a Rhodes 19. In addition to all her physical pursuits, Elizabeth was well known for her photography and was proud of having started with a Kodak Brownie camera. She loved to travel, took photographs wherever she went, and had several shows. Her last exhibit, which she put on at the age of 90, included photographs from South Korea and the Galapagos. She also had a lifelong interest in dogs. She actively bred, raised and showed Irish wolfhounds and Norfolk terriers.
Throughout her life, Elizabeth was active in numerous community and philanthropic organizations. She was dedicated to land preservation in New Jersey through the Delaware and Raritan Greenway, and on Martha’s Vineyard through the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation. She was instrumental in the preservation of the nearly 2,000 acre Seabrook Farm and hundreds of additional acres of productive farmland in Mannington Township, N.J.
Elizabeth attended Miss Hall’s School and Vassar College. She married Basil Wise Stetson in 1940 and they had four children. Mr. Stetson died in 1974. Elizabeth is survived by her husband, William Dutton Pettit, whom she married in 1986, and by her four children, Elizabeth Kratovil of Bridgeton, N.J., Charlotte Stetson of Middlebury, Vt., Basil Stetson and his wife, April Cornell, of Burlington, Vt., and Iola Stetson, of Redmond, Wash., as well as six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Besides Mr. Pettit, Elizabeth is survived by his five children and their spouses, and by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Friends and family are invited to a reception, planned for Friday June 21 at the D & R Greenway in Princeton, N.J., from 4 and 6 p.m. Friends and family are also invited to a service and interment at St. Matthews Church in Bedford, N.Y. at 10:30 a.m. on June 22.
In memory of Elizabeth, the family asks that donations be made to Delaware & Raritan Greenway, One Preservation Place, Princeton, NJ 08540 or to Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, Wakeman Conservation Center, 57 David Avenue, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.