Pittman leaves legacy of compassion
By LPR Staff
After decades of steadfast dedication to his family, his business and his community, Lonnie E. Pittman has gone to his “final reward.” Pittman, 81, passed away on Friday, Feb. 3.
Pittman, a life-long resident of Caldwell County, dedicated his life to service of his community and his country, and will be long remembered f
or his kindness, his family said on Tuesday.
“Lonnie had friends all over town,” his wife of 53 years, Lou, recalled. “He was always good to everyone. Any time someone needed something, he helped them.”
As a member of the Austin Scottish Rite and Ben-Hur Shrine, much of Pittman”s philanthropic work was focused on helping children.
“More than once, when a [Lockhart] child needed medical attention, he did whatever he had to do to get them into the Scottish Rite or the Shrine Hospital,” Lou said. “They were always doing something for the children. Once a year, the lodge would take a class from the Lockhart schools to the Shrine Circus, and some of those children, it was the only time they ever got to see a circus.”
He also served local children as the president of Lockhart Little League.
As much dedication as Pittman showed local children in need, he gave the same to his own children.
“They were the light of his life,” Lou said. “Later, his grandchildren were everything to him.”
“Every time I had a game, Mom and Dad were always there,” Pittman”s son Chip said. “I remember one time, we were playing in this deluge and most of the people were hiding under the stands watching through the bleachers. I looked up, and there Mom and Dad were, sitting there in the rain with their umbrellas.”
Pittman”s love for sports did not stop with his children. According to his wife, on his infrequent days off, Pittman could sometimes be found dozing on the sofa, with two different games on television and a third on the radio.
“Otherwise, if he wasn”t in the stores, when he took a day off, he liked to go hunting and fishing,” daughter Nancy Fogle recalled. “He didn”t really take vacations, because his work ethic was like that, but he did like to go hunting and fishing.”
The work ethic Fogle refers to is a concept that Pittman impressed upon his children throughout their lives.
“I remember one time I had a game, and afterward my whole body hurt,” Chip said. “I told him that I didn”t think I could go to school and he said, “Get up, boy! If you can play ball, you can go to school.””
In business, Pittman was nothing if not driven, his family said. He worked in his father”s stores as a youth. After duty called him to serve in the United States Navy during World War II, Pittman returned home and joined his father and brother in another grocery market. Later, he and brother Austin moved to the coast, where they owned and operated grocery stores in Angleton and Lake Jackson.
After three years, the Pittmans returned to Lockhart. Pittman then served as manager of the Lockhart Chamber of Commerce, and later purchased Seeliger”s Ready To Wear from Thelma and Alton Seeliger in 1972.
“That deal was made at a Shrine dance,” Lou chuckled. “At the time, I was working at a feed store as a secretary. But we always worked better as partners than we did separately. So we decided to buy the store.”
Pittman”s eldest daughter, Roxy, worked in the clothing store on the Lockhart Square for several years.
“I worked with Dad for about 20 years,” she said. “Even when he had his heart attack, though, he would call me to remind me what taxes and bills had to be paid.”
“He always had a great mind for numbers,” Lou said. “He could balance a checkbook to the penny, and always had to make sure that the bank”s records matched his.”
According to Roxy, Pittman once objected to a bank statement that differed from his bookkeeping by a matter of pennies.
Pittman finished his business career in 1999, retiring when his illness prevented him from continuing to work.Still, Pittman”s dedication built a legacy upon which his family continues to lean.
“I didn”t know how many people Dad really touched,” Chip said. “But watching and listening to people [since his passing], I can really see what kind of impact he had, and it”s priceless. It”s just priceless.”