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Pettijohn retired from the Ft. Lauderdale News and Sun-Sentinel in 1982 after 30 years of service to the News, Gore Newspaper Co. and later the News/Sun Sentinel Company.
He earned a reputation as a tough editor with an unerring instinct for quality and an expectation of commitment and dedication from his reporters and editors. Yet he was equally well-known as a warm, humorous, caring gentleman who was truly interested in the well-being of his fellow man.
Pettijohn was deeply committed to his community, civic organizations, charitable activities and higher education.