James “Jim” M. Petitto, 86

January 21, 2024

James “Jim” M. Petitto, 86, of Lancaster passed away Sunday, January 21, 2024 at home with his devoted family by his side. He fought a long and courageous 13-year battle with cancer, never losing his faith or positive attitude, a true inspiration for those around him. Born in Pittston, PA he was the son of the late Samuel and Jenny (Collisto) Petitto. He was the loving husband of the late Joanne A. Petitto for 49 years, who passed away in 2014 after a long, courageous fight with cancer. He is survived by his loving companion, Dawn McKinney of Del Ray Beach, FL who was by his side in his remaining years providing joy and happiness. They enjoyed winters in Florida where Jim quickly gained popularity within their Del Ray community and created many special moments with their local Lancaster community.

James opened the Host Farm Resort when he first came to Lancaster from Pittston. Later, he and Joanne owned and operated the former Papa Bear’s Tavern in Manheim and Petitto’s North restaurant in Reading Pa. James served in hospitality for most of his life at several establishments in Lancaster, including the Conestoga Country Club. He was also employed with Way Services and Horizon Healthcare for many years.

James served three years in the United States Air Force, Strategic Air Command, as an Airman flightline operator, earning an Honorable Discharge in 1958.

As a Veteran, he was a lifetime member of the Millersville VFW, Post #7294 where he was very active throughout his 20 years, serving in many board positions (Chaplain for 15 years, trustee roles and aid-de-camp). He built many long-lasting friendships there and this organization was very dear to his heart. Most recently the recipient of the Lewis J.” Harper” Oswald Award, for his dedicated service and loyalty to his country and commitment to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Post 7294.

He was a longtime member of St. Leo the Great Catholic Church, where he dedicated over 20 years serving as an usher, welcoming parishioners to weekend church services.
James was a deeply devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. His smile, sense of humor, warmth and outgoing personality lit up any room he walked in. He especially cherished the important moments he spent with his grandchildren and great grandchildren during holidays, birthdays, and family gatherings.

He is survived by his daughter, Judeann Stipe of Lancaster and a son, Joseph Petitto fiancé of Kristin Whalen of Rockville, MD; three grandchildren, Meagen Hall, wife of Adam, Eric, Caitlin, three great-grandchildren, Ava, Sophia, and Carter.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11AM on Monday, January 29, 2024 at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church, 2427 Marietta Ave, Lancaster, PA 17601. Interment will follow in St. Joseph’s New Catholic Cemetery with military honors. Family and friends will be received from 10-11AM at the church on Monday. In lieu of flowers, contributions in James’s memory may be made to the Millersville VFW, Post #7294, 219 Walnut Hill Rd, Millersville, PA 17551.

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Condolences to the Family

February 11, 2024

What a true Gentleman and just a great man to be around. I will miss you Jim.

February 02, 2024

Petitto family,
So sorry for the loss of your dad.   I will forever remember him.  Since his family  no longer lives in the Pittston area, I have not had much contact with him the past several years  but the family is kept in my heart.
Connie Sciabacucchi Toole

January 31, 2024

He had a beautiful soul, and has left many beautiful memories 💕
Kay & Jim Dommel

January 29, 2024

I worked for Jim at Conestoga Country Club. Best boss I ever had. Sending love and wishing condolences for all of Jim’s beloved family. He was a special Man. One of a kind with a great big personality and a heart to match. 
John Rogers

January 28, 2024

What a Love-ly man…full of Grace, kindness and humor.  As our usher, he always greeted us with warmth, a smile, and often something that made us smile.  He would ask about our sons and when our youngest was home from college Jim would look for him to usher.                  We always looked forwarded to seeing Jim.                                                                     What a special man, and what a Legacy of Love he leaves for all.
With our Love, sympathy and prayers,                                                                                    
Judy and Mike Cosimano

January 24, 2024

We met Jim when we were in Delray Beach the same time he and Dawn were there for winter.
They shared laughter with us and Jim’s memories of his time at the Seneca Depot on Seneca Lake NY
where he did boot camp and how very cold it was. His humor and good nature will always be remembered . We will miss him at Circle Three this winter always.
Jim and Lori Flechsenhaar

January 24, 2024

We were friends with Jimmy and Joanne when they owned Papa Bear’s Tavern. We had many good times there eating cheeseburgers and drinking beer. It was the “Cheers ” of Mt. Hope where everyone knew your name and were always  glad  you came. I can still see Jimmy and Joanne dancing at our wedding. We are sending our prayers and sympathy to the family. We are very fortunate to have  known Jimmy.
Pat Beard Yeager

January 24, 2024

Judeann, our most sincere sympathy on the loss of your beloved Dad.   He was a true fighter and courageous throughout his battle.  We will keep you and your family in our prayers.   
Diana Wolf

January 24, 2024

Remembering all the great times at papa bears rest in peace jim.        Mike Baker

January 24, 2024

I was so lucky to meet and work with Jim for several years. He was an amazing supervisor, his warmth, fairness, and sense of humor has no equal.  I hope the many amazing memories that family and freinds have may bring some comfort and peace.
May his memory be Eternal! 
Stephen English

January 24, 2024

I’ve known Jimmy since the early 1960’s. Our families grew up together and we would visit often. I moved back to Lancaster 13 years ago. Jimmy, our buddy Gabe, and me
would meet for breakfast every month.  Last September was our last breakfast together.
I will miss him greatly and with fond memories of our time in the restaurant and bar
business.  Rest in Peace my dear friend.
Pete Wise

January 24, 2024

What an incredible man Jim was. I first met Jim at Way Delivery Services where we worked together for several years. I’ve never met a person with a more positive and inspirational attitude as Jim had. He was a pleasure to be around and to work with. There is no doubt that Jim will be missed by many who’s lives he touched over the years. God bless and give peace and comfort to Jim’s family. 
Scott Zimmerman

January 23, 2024

Oh J P , we had soo much fun working together a CCC you were the best manager. I’m so glad we stayed friends to the end. I am gonna miss you buddy.💔
Barbara Montgomery

January 23, 2024

I had the pleasure of meeting Jim several times when he visited Joe and Kristen in Maryland. He will be missed by his friends and family 🖤
Al & Emily 

Monday, January 29, 2024
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
St. Leo the Great Catholic Church
2427 Marietta Ave
Lancaster, PA
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Monday, January 29, 2024
11:00 AM
St. Leo the Great Catholic Church
2427 Marietta Ave
Lancaster, PA
Map and Directions

Get Maps and Directions >
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