RAYNE, La. (KLFY)– John Petitjean, 90, of Rayne lives life to the fullest and then some.
“Everyone says they want to be like me,” Petitjean said. “I said you don’t want to be just like me, maybe as old as me, but not just like me.”
Petitjean said he goes where he wants, does what he wants to do and when he wants to.
“Whatever I need to do, I do it,” he said.
Petitjean and his wife were high school sweethearts and had three children, but two of them passed away. The family is now made up of five grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
These days Petitjean heavily participates in the American Legion. A hammer given to him by his kids says it all.
“I’m more or less the maintenance man in American legion, so to speak,” Petitjean said. “Somebody needs help they can call me; I’ll go fix something up for them. If papa can’t fix it, it can’t be fixed.”
Petitjean’s wife, who was a beautician, passed away 13 years ago. They lived in Texas almost 30 years along with a few other places.
“We lived in Florida for a while transferred to California and lived in California most of my career,” he said.
They would have been married 60 years.
“When she retired, she got back home one afternoon, and I said its time to go back home,” Petitjean said. “I got me a part time job because I can’t stand doing nothing. We loaded the U-Haul truck and here we are.”
Before retiring, Petitjean worked for a major utility company. He’s a veteran of the United States Air Force and served during the Korean Conflict.
“I went in for aircraft engineer mechanics,” he said. “I worked on the old vintage B17, then I worked myself up in rank and became Flight Engineer. We flew for the military B17 drones with nobody in it.”
Petitjean shared a quote from his grandfather that he said he will never forget.
“He said ‘when I die, you can dance on grave. I lived my life, you live yours. Just don’t forget me’,” Petitjean said.