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Oliver Lee Pitts, 1916-2020

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FORT WORTH–Oliver Lee “O.L.” Pitts passed away peacefully at his home on the afternoon of Thursday, March 19, 2020, four days before his 104th birthday. He was the beloved husband of Norma Palumbo Pitts and Berniece Nichols Pitts, who preceded him in death, along with his mother, Maggie Pitts Smith, and sister, Vera Pitts Salvato. FUNERAL: on hold at this time. MEMORIALS: In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in O.L.’s memory be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny’s Place, Memphis, TN 38105,

A longtime Fort Worth businessman and internationally known sailor, Pitts was in the nursing home business for many years. He had also been in the oil business, the real estate business, the construction business and the design business with four architects and an engineer on staff.

He owned Citizens National Bank in Weatherford for many years and for 25 years he owned and operated America’s oldest restaurant and tavern, the legendary White Horse Tavern in Newport, Rhode Island, which he sold in 2006, shortly before turning 90.

“First, I wanted to be a journalist,” he told the Fort Worth Business Press in 2016. “I really did. My first real job was as a cub reporter for the Telegram. Then I went to the Fort Worth Press in the advertising department. I earned $75 to buy my first boat working for the Fort Worth Press,” he said.

For more on O.L: Pitts:

Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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