Madison, WI - John D. Pettinger ("Jack") passed away July 9, 2018 at the age of 79. Born March 21st, 1939, in Chicago IL to John and Marie Pettinger. Jack is survived by his wife of 56 years, Jane, their children; Kathleen, Jerry (Nancy), John (Bridget), Jim (Sari), and his sister Sue Fox. Jack was the proud grandfather to Margaret, Kate, Jack, Jimmy, Sarah, Bridget, Joe, Tommy and Max and great-grandfather to Ryan. Jack dedicated his life to his family and friends and the sport of swimming. Jack was a graduate of Fenwick High School in Chicago, IL and attended the University of Michigan ('57 - '61) where he was part of multiple national championship swim teams. Jack proudly served in the Marine Corps from 1961 - 1963, Semper Fi. Jack resumed his education and began his coaching career at Indiana University ('64-'69) where he worked with the legendary James "Doc" Counsilman. In 1969 he became the head coach at the University of Wisconsin ('69-'93) and concluded his collegiate coaching career as a volunteer coach at the University of Minnesota. The local Madison swim community was the fortunate focus of his energy and commitment, whether it be a public pool for Madison, triathletes or age group swimmers. Services will be held Saturday, July 14th from 11:30 to 2:30 at the Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison WI. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to either:
Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research https://secure.supportuw.org/give/?id=9F1BF639-89BC-4018-856C-3A052D5D8B08
Or Alzheimer Association:
Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
3610 Speedway Road, Madison
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I am so sorry for your loss. Jack was the person that got me started. I swam at the Central YMCA for John Lindley (RIP) that swam for Jack. They got me started helping out with the Badger Dolphins in their glory days. I have been coaching age group in some capacity ever since. My brother and sister swam for him , but he knew I was better off coaching and he was right. Thank You Jack for that big push!! A large group hug to his family. Molly McGuire
Please accept our sincere condolences from all our family. We have some wonderful memories of our times spent with Jack both in Wisconsin and Hawaii. We shall never forget the encouragement he gave to our daughter, who eventually swam in two Olympics.
Sincere condolences to Jane and the family. Jack was a man who,told it like it was and his honesty was appreciated . Jack was supportive to me in my early days coaching at Edgewood.
Also, it was a pleasure to work with John, who is one of the toughest, most dedicated athletes that I encountered in my 30 years of coaching football.
The Pettingers are a wonderful family and Jack will be missed.
Thank you Jack for giving us high school girls a chance to train with the college guys—I remember that whole first summer, we had to go hard on warm-ups just to keep up! You were tough but kind—we loved challenge sets where the prize was breakfast with you & Bob at Mickey’s Dairy Bar. We didn’t love biking from Shorewoid to the Nat during thunderstorms to finish our workouts, but we did it anyway. Thank you for working us hard, treating us with respect and being a great coach. You are already missed! Jennifer Shea Vallo
Dear John, Bridget and family,
So sorry to hear about your loss. You have our deepest condolences. All of you will be in our prayers.
The Noga Family
There are a few people that pass through your life and I feel blessed that Jack was one of mine. He was my first swim coach at age 50 and all of his masters swimmers used to loved to see If we could beat him to the Edgewood door at 5 AM. We loved every minute of practice as you knew Jack's workout would only improve you. Jack loved anyone who loved swimming and paid attention. He trained the young to All Americans and Olympic Champions (Jim Montgomery). Once Jack found out my brother in law Al Hanley was one of his best friends along with the Goggin Boys and Foxes the stores from the West Side of Chicago were endless. Even as dementia gripped his mind we would laugh about some of the antics they pulled in HS and College. When it cam time for Jack to go home he would tell my brother in law "take me to el". We are really going to miss you Jack, your killer workouts, stories and friendship. I feel very lucky to call you a friend
Tom Adams, Fenwick ‘57
I remember Jack at Fenwick High as a man among boys. He was a role model for us less dedicated teen boys. Jack had a vision of what needed to be done and the motivation to work hard at getting it done. Whether it was life guarding, studying or even his weekend janitorial work at school, Jack gave it full attention. It was hard to distract him, when there was a job to be done. What he gave the swimming team, of course, was even more indicative of Jack’s determination to excel. No one beat Fenwick while Jack was there. No school had swimmers so well conditioned, and Jack provided so much of the team leadership. He was not one to cut short on required laps. More famously he took literally Dan O’Brien’s rule for wearing warm clothes and a hat every day. Jack was not going to miss a meet because of a head cold. I will never lose the thrill of seeing the national record setting, free style relay team of Pierce, Puchalski, Pettinger and Petkus. They set standards that endure at Fenwick, and Jack was so much at the heart of this continuing legacy..
Many lost a great coach, mentor and friend on July 10th. Jack coached Sean and talked to him about the choices of colleges he was given...Sean chose Michigan. Jack paved many running routes for me during Sean's swim practices at Shorewood, Edgewood and Middleton. When I asked him how I could improve; he would always say, "Just let it happen". He was a great mentor through many times over the years and taught me to have confidence in the person I was. It was very hard to say goodbye Monday night; although, it was best for Jack, now with peace. July 10th, he shares my mom's (2001) Memorial Day. Two amazing people that I will cherish forever. Jack touched many lives and will be truly missed by people across the country. There will be another bright star in the sky. Thanks for always believing in Sean and I and making me the woman I am today. Hugs forever to you and your wonderful family. Patti Jackson
First of all, my condolences to the Pettinger family. I will be forever grateful to Jack for the support he gave to me as a walk-on at UW. Lessons learned extended far beyond the pool and have helped me in so many aspects of my life. The memories and warm feelings I have from that experience will last a lifetime, and stories form those times now will last through my kids' lifetimes!
We had a very nice tribute time here in Colorado springs last night with Mike and Lisa Unger and Steve & Gerri Rousch. Fun memories, stories, & tremendous respect for a dear friend, coach and mentor who had such a profound impact on us and sooo many others over the years. Thinking back on all the years and events that have transpired since my days swimming for Jack it strikes as just how iconic he was in my life. And, that tough exterior, couldnt hold a candle to the HUGE heart and love he had for all of us. Thank-you Jack!
You became my 2nd dad in Madison. I can only hope to influence and effect the swimmers I coach the way you did. Your legacy lives on in all of the swimmers you coached. You will be missed greatly but honored everyday in my coaching.
Jack Pettinger and Jean Freeman were friends - mutual respect with values that transcended society's struggles.......two great coaches, people, and they are now together. discussing what we should all be doing...... RIP Jack -- your influence lives on....
Jack was a great swimming coach, mentor and friend, but most important, he was a great human being; compassionate, funny and loyal. Having known Jack has made my life richer. I am proud to be his friend. We will all miss him.
Gary Hall Sr.
Jack was the first BSC Head Coach I had during my years with Bloomington Swim Club. He was awesome and scary at the same time. He was nobody’s fool and a teddy bear. My memories of Jack and my other coaches at BSC with Doc Counsilman and IU ties are some of my best memories. We could not see each other for years, and more recently decades, yet we would always go right back to talking about swimming and all the friends we had in common through the years. Jack will be greatly missed!
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