Charles Pewitt

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Charles Seaton "Bud" Pewitt, respected community leader and humanitarian, left this earth at age 81 Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008.

Bud resided in Cape Girardeau at the Missouri Veterans Home.

Bud began his journey in life Sept. 12, 1927, in Belton, Mo. He was the son of Verna and Seaton Pewitt, and baby brother to Bion, Virginia and Lena.

After moving to Linn, Mo., Bud often ventured 20 miles on bicycle to Jefferson City, Mo., to watch airplanes at the airport. He dreamed of becoming a pilot to see the earth from above and travel to other places.

His next home was in Van Buren, Mo., where he graduated from high school. Here he developed a fondness for canoeing and fishing. His first experience with soaring above the ground came when he helped paint the bridge over Current River.

He also developed a love for Sue Standley. They were married at United Methodist Church of Van Buren on Dec. 11, 1949.

Following in his father's footsteps, Bud trained as a funeral director at St. Louis College of Mortuary Sciences. Bud and Sue were also business partners, opening the Pewitt Funeral Home/Monument Company in Ellington, Mo., in 1949, which they managed 50 years.

Bud eagerly served his country in the U.S. Army 18 months in 1952 and 1953, stationed in Korea with the 8th Army under Gen. Maxwell Taylor.

Upon returning, Bud continued his commitment to community. He purchased land for the first perpetual care cemetery in the area, the Ellington Memorial Cemetery. Bud opened an insurance agency, served as Reynolds County coroner 20 years, and operated the ambulance service. A canoe rental business kept river enthusiasts happy. He constructed a granite memorial for Korean War veterans at the county courthouse in Centerville, Mo.

Bud served as president of the Ellington Chamber of Commerce and Reynolds County Fair Board. He was a member of Ellington Order of Eastern Star and Ellington United Methodist Church, 50-year member of Barnesville Masonic Lodge and lifetime member of Veterans of Foreign Wars.

With endless energy, Bud also pursued hobbies. His dream of flying came true; he obtained his commercial pilot's license and bought an airplane. Creating an airstrip in Ellington allowed him to use his plane as an Air Ambulance. Scuba diving in Blue Springs, Mo., he pulled other divers to safety.

Traveling was a summer ritual, and his family laughs over memories of first camping in tents, then camper-shells on truck beds and finally the luxury of recreational vehicles. No one can forget the aroma of freshly brewed coffee at 5 a.m. on vacation. And only Bud could cut an entire watermelon using only a pocketknife.

Bud is survived by his wife, Sue Pewitt of Cape Girardeau. He also leaves behind his sister, Lena Kliethermis, of Jefferson City. Children are Susan Stroder and Dr. Charles Stephen Pewitt of Jackson, and Dr. Julia Kinder of Cape Girardeau. Children-in-law are Lonnie Stroder, Lisa Pewitt, and Mitch Kinder. His grandchildren, who called him "Boppie," are Tim (Karie), Ryan, Alex Stroder, Megan Pewitt, Lindsey, Alexa and Landria Pewitt, and Ella Kinder.

Visitation will be today from 4 to 7 p.m. at McCombs Funeral Home in Cape Girardeau.

The funeral will be at 7.

A military memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at Ellington Memorial Cemetery.

To honor Bud, memorial funds can be sent to The Veterans Memorial in the Ellington Memorial Cemetery or to Down Syndrome Association of St. Louis (contact McCombs for details).

Bud formed many lasting relationships in Ellington, Cape Girardeau and at the Missouri Veterans Home. He would want to thank each person for their friendship and say goodbye with his smile, nod of the head and handshake, giving the advice he lived by: "Always strive to help those less fortunate."

Sympathy messages may be sent and Bud's memorial tribute video may be viewed online at mccombsfuneralhome.com.