Earl Pettipiece was born May 15, 1889 at Essex, Ontario. He was the son of Matthew Pettipiece, born April 24, 1849 in Ontario of German ancestry and of Barbara Pettipiece, born March 20, 1852, Ontario, of Irish ancestry. By 1897, the family was living in Revelstoke. The 1901 census of Revelstoke showed that he had two sisters, Edith and Lillian and brothers John, Willie, Murray, Leslie and George. An older brother, Richard Parmeter Pettipiece, was already married and living in Revelstoke where he was publisher of the Revelstoke Herald newspaper. Earl was one of the first students to attend the Revelstoke High School when it opened in 1904. He did not graduate, but left school and began working for the CPR. Earl married Emma Gladys McMullen at Collingwood, B.C. on November 14, 1912 and was working as a brakeman for the CPR.
Earl Pettipiece signed his enlistment papers May 30, 1915 at Vernon. His regimental number was 42240. He was one of around 100 men from Revelstoke who joined the 54th Battalion in the spring and summer of 1915. He was 26 years old, married, 5’ 11” tall with black hair and grey eyes. His religious affiliation was Wesleyan (Methodist). A child was born to Earl and Gladys Pettipiece shortly after Earl departed for the front. Brother George joined up with the Railway troops in 1917 and went overseas but was later declared unfit for more duty because of a short leg. Earl’s nephew Clarke Wallace Pettipiece also served with the motorcycle section of the Western University corps.
Earl Pettipiece died on June 3, 1916, one of six Revelstoke men to die on that day during the battle for Mount Sorrel. He was killed by the same shell that killed Judd Eaton, another Revelstoke volunteer. Pettipiece was 27 years old. At the time of his death he was a Private with the 7th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (British Columbia) Regiment. His body was never recovered or identified and his name is memorialized on the Menin Gate (Ypres) Memorial, Belgium. After the war his wife Gladys and their child were living in Vancouver.
A week before the death of Earl Pettipiece, his nephew Firby, son of R.P. and Nellie Pettipiece, died in an accident at Rogers Pass during the construction of the Connaught Tunnel. Firby’s uncle George Pettipiece was operating a steam shovel when it overturned and killed 18 year old Firby. At the time, Firby’s father was living in Vancouver where he published The Federationist, a Socialist newspaper.
The name of Earl Pettipiece is inscribed on the Courthouse and Cenotaph plaques and on the Methodist Church Honor Roll and the YMCA Honor Roll. Earl Pettipiece's mother and at least two brothers are buried in the Mountain View Cemetery at Revelstoke.