Three sons round out blessings for Dad
Len Petty (second from left) of Northbrook jokes around with his sons (from left) Kyle, Ben and Curt. This June 9 photo was taken at Curt's GBN graduation party. | Karie Angell Luc~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 15, 2012 2:24PM
With his son Curt’s Glenbrook North High School graduation behind him, Father’s Day is ahead for Len Petty of Northbrook.
”I’ve got to pinch myself sometime,” said Petty, a Lake County chief financial officer.
Petty, who has three sons with his wife Maria, a Lake Forest Hospital (labor and delivery) nurse, appreciates Father’s Day, where Maria’s French toast and maybe a cool swim in the backyard pool are family bonding musts.
“I’m just a lucky man and am blessed to have three boys making their own way and I’m just as proud as I can be of every one of them.”
His three sons include Kyle, 24, a North Park University of Chicago pre-med student, Ben, 21, a DePaul University senior in digital media and Curt, 18, a 2012 Glenbrook North High School graduate who will attend the University of Dayton.
Petty coached all three sons in the Northbrook Jr. Spartans football league.
Curt was one of four GBN football captains who championed Collin Wehr, a Northbrook boy undergoing brain cancer treatment.
“Oh, that was just a great thing,” said the proud dad, who cherishes when Curt and his peers escorted Collin onto the field at GBN’s Lutz Stadium last fall.
Collin was honorary captain and coin tosser.
“It’s not about winning or losing football games,” said Len.
“It is about helping other people, that was just one of my favorite memories.
“One day, I will have lots of things to think about when I am in a rocking chair,” Len said, laughing.
Outside, breakfast bar height stools flanked the pool. Stationery recliners buttressed the manly barbecue across from a rhythmic diving board.
For this pool party, the Pettys welcomed 50 guests.
The June 9 weather featured temperatures in the nineties for a backyard dip.
Indoors, Maria cut air-conditioned graduation cake.
“I bring it up all of the time, being the only female in the house,” said Maria. “It is a man haven.
“Their bedrooms smell like a locker room, I mean, like, come on guys…”
Maria poured a glass of milk for a guest, quickly putting the jug back into the fridge as any conscientious mom.
“And now at their ages, it’s feeding them,” Maria said. “It’s crazy.”
Said Curt of his mom: “She’s the glue.
“Yeah,” said Kyle, “She keeps everything flowing.”
Meaning grocery store trips. Four gallons of milk.
And “she went to every one of our games, rain or shine,” said Curt.
Perhaps this is why Len Petty fell in love with Maria. “I don’t know how she does it,” said Len.
“I love her more than myself, I love her more than anything in the world.”
They met in 1974 at Montrose Beach, he said.
“I was a lifeguard and she was a good looking girl on the beach.
“She was in a hot pink bikini, I couldn’t keep my eyes off her. First time we talked, we went for a walk on a pier.
“We lost track of time,” said Len, who then overheard: “’Please report to the beach house,’ because I was late on my break.”
Father’s Day might include a Northbrook round of nine-hole golf at Anetsberger.
All three sons offered a (no longer secret) shout out to their father.
“Dad, thanks for always having my back through the ups and downs of my life, during the hardest decisions I’ve had to make,” said Ben. “And thanks for always being such a genuine person towards everybody.”
Said Kyle, “Thanks for giving me the inspiration to pursue lifelong learning.”
And now Curt: “Dad, before I go to college, I want to thank you for raising me to be a hard working young man.”