David Cuddy and Fritz Pettyjohn

David Cuddy was born in Valdez, the older brother of Dan, who was also born there in 1921.  He was killed serving his country in the Second World War.  His little brother Dan also served in the United States Army, reaching the rank of Captain.  He fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and was with the troops who liberated the death camp at Buchenwald.  He named his first born son for his brother.

Fritz Pettyjohn was born on the Frying Pan Ranch in South Dakota in a sod house, the second of nine children.  When his mother died giving birth to her ninth child, he ran away from home.  He was twelve years old.  When the war broke out he was serving in the United States Army, stationed at a base near Cut and Shoot, Texas.  When the 82nd Airborne Division was formed he volunteered for it, and was an original member.  The casualty rate for these men was 90%.  He fought from North Africa to Berlin.  He was at the tip of the spear.  His younger brother, Phillip, named his first born son for him.   That’s me.

These two men had a relationship, and I intend to get to the bottom of it.

David’s nephew and namesake introduced himself to me in the summer of 1975.  Sam Pestinger left his job as an Assistant U. S. Attorney for the District of Alaska to join me in the formation of our law firm, Pettyjohn and Pestinger.  David was a loan officer at the First National Bank of Anchorage, and asked Sam and I to bank with him, and we did.

A little over a year later I needed money to take Babbie and our two little boys to Hawaii for a vacation.  Sam and I were making fairly good money, but I had no cash.  I figured I knew a banker, so I went to see David and explained the situation.  He said he’d give me a business, not a personal, loan for the $3,000 I needed.  I didn’t care what he called it, I just needed a loan.  Over the course of the following year I gradually paid it off, and then I needed to take out another loan for a second Hawaii family vacation.  So David gave me another business loan, and Babbie got the break in Hawaii she needed.  I paid that off too, and may have even asked for a third, though I don’t think so.  I was making pretty decent money by that time.

Those Hawaii vacations helped keep Babbie sane, and I’ve always appreciated what David and his bank did for us.

To this day, I don’t think David has known anything about the relationship between his father and my Uncle Fritz.  It looks to me as though Dan Cuddy told people what he thought they needed to know, and not a lot more.  It’s a smart way to do business.

Not everybody can do it.

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