Monday, October 24, 2011

Notable Relatives: Mildred Tanner Pettit

Next in the Notable Relatives series is the composer Mildred Tanner Pettit.

Laura Mildred Tanner was a great granddaughter of John Tanner and Elizabeth Beswick Tanner. In 1921 she married William Alfred Pettit, the son of Edwin Pettit and Rebecca Hood Hill Pettit.

Mildred Tanner Pettit's short biography in Our Latter-Day Hymns mentions that she taught school for several years before marrying William Pettit when he finished medical school.

After some time in Salt Lake City, where she served on the Primary General Board and was heavily involved in musical programs for that organization, she and her husband left for Philadelphia. While there she was able to get advanced musical training. After about a year, Will and Mildred moved to Southern California, where they spent the rest of their lives. She was very active in the community, as noted in her obituary, recently added to the memorial site FindAGrave.

Will served as president of the Pasadena Stake. He wrote the book Pettit Peregrinations, which contains a wealth of information about the Edwin and Rebecca Hood Hill Pettit family.

Mildred continued to be very involved in composing church music. Here are some posts about some of her music. ("Christmas Carol") ("The Holy Child") ("Visiting a Primary Meeting, 1933") (Recordings of some of her lesser-known tunes here.)

In a story that's been frequently told, Naomi Randall wrote the words for the children's song "I Am a Child of God," and sent them to Pasadena to have Mildred Pettit write the music.

I will include a post later about a visit with Will and Mildred Pettit written one of my great aunts.

Here is a recording of the song which is known and loved by many members of the Church around the world.

Picture of Mildred Tanner Pettit from Friend, October 1984, p. 14.

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