See also

Family of Lewis Laurence PITTS and Audrey Eileen WHEELER

Husband: Lewis Laurence PITTS (1912-1999)
Wife: Audrey Eileen WHEELER (1910-2000)
Children: Stephen L. PITTS (1942-1997)
Marriage Q2 1940 Crediton , Devon, England

Husband: Lewis Laurence PITTS

Name: Lewis Laurence PITTS1
Sex: Male
Father: Nicholas Samuel PITTS (1884-1948)
Mother: Emma Kathleen WRIGHT (1878-1954)
Birth 2 Jul 1912 Crediton Registration District, Devon, England
Occupation Holiday Park Manager
Occupation 1939 (age 26-27) Motor Driver; Crediton , Devon, England
Flat, 57 East Street.
Laurie was described as incapacitated. He was living in a flat with Nyda Whielden. Nyda's unmarried sister Nora was also there, and bride to be Audrey Wheeler
Death Oct 1999 (age 87) Exeter, Devon, England

Wife: Audrey Eileen WHEELER

Name: Audrey Eileen WHEELER1
Sex: Female
Father: Henry WHEELER (1878-1952)
Mother: Bertha MADGE (1884-1943)
Birth 13 Jun 1910 Exmouth, Devon, England2,3
Baptism 17 Jul 1910 (age 0) Crediton , Devon, England
Census 2 Apr 1911 (age 1) Exeter, Devon, England4
1 Mount Cottages, Longbrook Street, Exeter
Occupation 1939 (age 28-29) Cafe Waitress; Crediton , Devon, England
Flat, 57 East Street.
Audrey was living with her married sister Nyda Whielden, unmarried sister Nora Wheeler, and husband to be Laurence Pitts
Death Apr 2000 (age 89)

Child 1: Stephen L. PITTS

Name: Stephen L. PITTS1
Sex: Male
Spouse 1: PRIVATE ( - )
Spouse 2: PRIVATE ( - )
Birth 25 Aug 1942 Crediton , Devon, England
Death 17 Feb 1997 (age 54)
Cause: Suicide
Eulogy given by Steve 's friend John Owen at Steve's funeral



Steven Laurence Pitts known to all his friends, associates and even to those who had never met him but merely heard of his legendary exploits, as Steve.

Steve was born in Crediton in 1942, the son of Laurie and Audrey Pitts. He moved to Exmouth in 1952 with his sister Myra when his father became the manager of the Sandy Bay Caravan Park and lived with his parents in a house called the Upper Deck.

He was educated first at Littleham School and then Exmouth Grammar School, leaving as soon as possible!

Whilst he was highly intelligent, academic studies were not his forte but he excelled at cricket.

On leaving school he was articled to Whitton & Laing, the Chartered Surveyors in Queen Street, Exeter but again studying was not to his liking and he left when his articles finished to earn money and get on with life.

It was Christmas time 1959 or 1960 that I first met him in the Queens Hotel in Exeter where he was with other revellers who were wearing party hats but Steve had the trimmings from the Christmas cake on his head. Before catching the train home he managed to fall down an embankment, ending up in the Catacombs.

He worked variously for three firms of Estate Agents bettering himself each time and finally becoming the Branch Manager of a multi office practice in East Devon, namely Purnell, Daniel and Morell (now long gone).

He always wanted to be self employed and this he managed to achieve, setting up his business in Market Street, Exmouth. He had a style of advertising which was based on Gerald Brooks, the Home Counties Estate Agents, which was explicit and controversial but Steve always popularised the style. A small link house would be described as suitable for dwarfs, an overgrown garden would be described as suitable for Kalahari Bush Men and the broken down thatched cottage could be purchased for 3,000 Matabele Gumbo Beads!!

He was so successful that he managed to move to a prime site in Rolle Street, buying the freehold. There his windows were fitted out with an enormous range of properties. He once had a photograph of the Parthenon described as “ideally situated 3,500 miles from the Exmouth sea front and in need of considerable repair”.

During this time he was supported by his daughter Emma, his wife Jennie and twin sons Rupert and Shamus. He was then living in Littleham Road but his love of the country pursuits led him to buy his beloved Marley Hayes, an imposing gentleman’s mid-war residence standing in 14 acres of garden, paddock and woodlands.

Prior to an earlier collapse in the property market he really showed his entrepreneurial skills. Having sold his Estate Agency business he started first by buying Seabrook House in Countess Wear and obtaining planning permission for 14 day patients from Exminster Hospital and running this for several years with a manager. This he sold and purchased, with his friend Brian, the Castle Hotel at Bradninch and ran it successfully as a Pub and Eating House for several years.

After selling this business he leased a vacant shop in Topsham and started the Bookmakers business of S P Racing, again with the aid of a manager. Selling this he purchased a franchise to create instant cobbled paths, drives and decorative surroundings.

Thinking the property market was about to revive he sold the cobbled business and moved back into the Estate Agency business, setting up again in Rolle Street close to where he had been many years before.

Regrettably, as we all know, the property market did not revive and for the first time he closed the doors on a business which had not been a success.

Everyone will have their own memories of Steve. For my part, I have spent many hours in his company and never been bored – embarrassed yes – bored never!

His great loves were country pursuits, horse racing, sea and river fishing and hunting – although I do not think he was interested in the final result, it was a way to meet the country characters he loved with their dialects, particularly Exmoor and Dartmoor.

We often used to laugh about the Saturday afternoon when we were out with the Stoke Hill Beagles when a follower asked “av ee seede the air? Yeah hers quat down in the arish” which translated means “have you seen the hare? Yes it is resting in the stubble”.

At an Industrial Tribunal the defence counsel asked a witness where he was at the time of the accident to be informed that he was “crookied down in the linhay”. The local Clerk explained that he was kneeling down in a nearby barn.

One of the most enjoyable days that I spent with Steve was when we went to Ascot to see his horse, Lady Sweetapples, run. I am not a racing man but the atmosphere and being in the owners’ enclosure and in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen and the Queen Mother, was truly memorable.

Another time he took the late W/Cdr Pat Sutton and myself to the Badminton Horse Trials. There we spent the day at a portable dining table eating and drinking in the car park, and then came home. I did not see Badminton House nor a horse jump. When I, unwisely, pointed out that we could have done the same thing on Woodbury Common, I was rebuked in no uncertain terms for not having a sense of the occasion!

Latterly, as the Sunday morning gatherers will know, he became quite a wine buff. He would phone me most Sunday mornings at about 10am to say he was “drawing corks at 11:00 and come on over”. Regrettably I usually declined.

One of his later pursuits was to paint water colours of local scenes and these were very good and he sold many of them through various sources.

He was a great character in his own right and certainly coined the phrases “Old Bean” and “Slurp” long before Floyd on TV.

He used to love to read the obituaries in the Daily Telegraph and, whilst this may sound morbid, they are more about life than death and this reiterates his love for the characters in life. It was only last week that he lent me a book “A Celebration of Eccentric Lives” and in it are several paragraphs underlined, mainly of colourful aristocrats whose idiosyncrasies in life illustrates that P G Woodhouse’s characters were not as fantastic as some would believe. I think his favourite was the 3rd Lord Moynihan whose listed interests in Who’s Who were Professional Negotiator, international diplomatic courier, currency manipulator and an authority on Rock and Roll – What he was, of course, was a bongo drummer, brothel keeper, drug smuggler and police informer.

Everyone will have their own particular experiences, memories and anecdotes some of which will be best remembered outside these precincts.

It has been said that he wanted to live his life to the full and when he could not do this, he did not want his life.

I will close with the following lines:-

He stood on the outside looking in
And all he saw was trouble and sin
Arguing, grumbling, jealousy and greed
And he turned his back
For he felt no need – of these

He stood on the inside looking out
From there he saw what life was about
Forgiveness, kindness, contentment, love
And so he turned his face
For he felt great need – of these

John L Owen
27th February 1997

Child 2: PRIVATE

Sex: Female
Spouse: PRIVATE ( - )

Note on Husband: Lewis Laurence PITTS

Laurie was in the Royal Engineers during the war. In 1949 Laurie and Audrey were living with Emma Kathleen at 13 East Street, Crediton. They continued to live with Gran at 13 East Street in the early Fifties, which was to become my home for 10 or 11 years from about 1953

Note on Wife: Audrey Eileen WHEELER

At the time of Audrey's birth her family are living at 1 Mount Cottages, Longbrook Street, Exeter

In 1939 Audrey is living with the family at 5 Courtis Gardens


1"Nick Heard". This GEDCOM is predominantly the work of Nick Heard, but it incorporates the collaborated work of many other family historians. You are welcome to use the information herein but please acknowledge the source. Every effort has been made to ensure the data is accurate, but any use you make of it is entirely at your own risk. (c) Nick Heard 2009
2"GRO Certified Birth". Exeter 5b 61. Cit. Date: "sep Q 1910".
3"GRO Birth Certificate".
4"Census 1911 Exeter,Devon, England RG14/12670 RG78/728 RD271 SD1 ED2 SN251 (Audrey Wheeler)".
Text From Source: Name Related Cond Age Occupation Birth Place
Henry Wheeler Head Mar 34 Railway Porter L&SW Rly Sidbury, Devon, England
Bertha Wheeler Wife Mar 26 Crediton , Devon, England
Winifred Gladys Wheeler Dau Unm 2 Exeter,Devon, England
Audrey Eileen Wheeler Dau Unm 1 Exmouth, Devon, England
RG14/12670 RG78/728 RD271 SD1 ED2 SN251. Cit. Date: 2 April 1911. Assessment: Secondary evidence.