David Allen Pettee was born August 18, 1957, in Huntington, NY. He is a seventh generation Unitarian Universalist, and was educated at Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York (B.S. in Recreation, 1975), Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts (M.S.W., 1983) and Starr King School for the Ministry, Berkeley, California (M. Div., 1988). During his first year in seminary, he walked across America on the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament, which was nominated for the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize. The following year he went to Ukraine as part of a citizen diplomacy exchange.
Since 1993, Pettee has served a hospice ministry with the Sutter Visiting Nurses Association & Hospice in Emeryville, California. In 1994, he was both ordained by the First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco, and commenced an affiliation as a community minister. In 1996, he was one of 36 religious leaders who joined respondents supporting two physician-assisted suicide cases that were heard before the United States Supreme Court. He has been active in the support of community ministry, and serves on the West Regional Sub-Committee on Candidacy. He was the visiting minister in residence at Starr King School in Spring, 2001, and taught a course on the history of community ministry within the Unitarian Universalist tradition, seeding a collection of materials relating to the history of community ministry at Starr King School.
David and his wife Mindy have two daughters, Hannah and Sophie. He is currently working on a biography of John Turner Sargent.