Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Frank Petta

Frank died yesterday afternoon, March 3rd, at 4:15 PM. May his soul rest in peace.

And now, something from Dr. Thursday.

In Memoriam Frank Petta.
by a recipient of his generosity.

Frank sent me photocopies of the GKC "Our Note-Book" essays from the
last five years of the Illustrated London News, and my mother
read them to me so I could type them into AMBER, as they are in such
poor shape they cannot be scanned.

Thanks, Frank. Please pray for us. Ask my mom about the fun we had doing

--Dr. Thursday, sometimes called the AMBER Collector.

More Petta Wine, Please
by Dr. Thursday

The Midwest[1] gang of G. K. Chesterton,
Who G.K. read, drink beer, and bacon fry,
Who ponder paradox which some still stun,
Have met to thank God rightly[2], mugs to ply
Though we now miss our friend, a G.K. guy,
Who cheered them too, with jokes preserved in brine
And friendship rich; but they heave a sigh:
If only we could get more Petta wine.

This man, Frank Petta, totes no wedding gun[3]
He found (I don't know how or when or why)
An Illustrated London News full run
And reaped the columns written on the fly
So by the Grim Recycler they won't die.
Ignatius pressed the word lodes of Frank's mine,
Then the Midwest drank; still for more they spy:
If only we could get more Petta wine.

Now Frank for eighteen years shared that same sun
Which through old England's fogs did strive to pry
And light Top Meadow where was sown the fun
In essays kept by Frank's observant eye.
At Midwest meetings he is never shy:
Frank, who with a friend[4], still does reap the vine,
So that the G.K. meetings don't go dry:
If only we could get more Petta wine.

Frank, the earth spins on, the years go by,
God says "again"[5] the rising sun does shine;
Your fruitful vines have spread - they reach the sky...
If only we could get more Petta wine.


1. This poem was originally written for Frank's birthday in a time
before the ACS. In the interest of history I have not altered this term.
Then again the ACS meetings are still in the Midwest, so it really did
not need to be altered anyway.
2. See OrthodoxyCW1:268: "We should thank God for beer and
Burgundy by not drinking too much of them."
3. See Autobiography CW16:43 "I stopped on the way [to his
wedding] to drink a glass of milk in one shop and to buy a revolver
with cartridges in another."
4. Ann Stull, whom he married after a LONG courtship.
5. See Orthodoxy CW1:263-4: "It is possible that God says every
morning, 'Do it again' to the sun."
Here is Frank at the very first Chesterton Society meeting, 27 years ago. He's towards the front with an orange shirt. Ann is second from the left, sort of across from Frank. He attended every single one of them for 26 years. We'll miss him this year.


  1. Frank has now joined in eternity the fellow whose image Frank blocked in that picture--Marc Griesbach, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy at Marquette U.

    May they both rest in the Hands of God.

  2. I only met Mr. Petta twice, at the conferences, but when I did get the chance to speak to him I got the sense that he was delighted that so many people were coming together to celebrate Chesterton. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.


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