James E. "Pete" Peters passed away on April 18, 2023 at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, CA.
Pete started it all on May 20,1944 in El Paso, Texas, the son of a stationed military father, Raymond, and his mother, Moneta (Smith). The vast majority of his young life was spent in Michigan, where his family and the Midwest itself raised a very Midwestern man - kind, practical, and unwaveringly concerned with the well-being of others.
From a young age, Pete was a profound athlete. He excelled at many sports, and though he was humble, kept the newspaper clippings and trophies to prove it. During his collegiate years playing basketball at Kalamazoo College in Michigan, he became the 2nd leading scorer in school history. He still remains among the school's all-time leading scorers, despite decades of longer schedules and the advent of the three-point line. He continued to play competitive basketball into his thirties in a state league. His other loves were tennis, which he played with skill and dedication for many years, as well as fanatical fishing with his family and friends in the waters of Canada.
Once competitive athletics were in the rearview mirror, Pete became an avid runner, clocking six miles a day in the hilly terrain of West Dundee, IL, where he and his wife, Trish, raised their son, T.J. Time plus wear and tear eventually turned him into an avid walker, where he truly hit his stride. Whether it was in IL or at his home in Palm Desert, CA, Pete used the outlet of walking not only for exercise, but as a source of meeting new people and making new friends, who he always managed to invite home to dinner. He also developed the quirky habit of hunting for errant golf balls that golfers abandoned after a bad shot. He could spot a golf ball like an eagle spots unsuspecting prey. And he kept them. Multiple dresser drawers housed not clothing, but Titleists. Pete did not golf.
Pete had an impressive professional career selling training materials to major corporations across the country. He provided well for his family and was a savvy investor, with a keen and altruistic interest in medical research and advancement. It is both cruel and ironic that he was taken from us by a very sudden, very aggressive cancer.
Pete is survived by his wife of 40 years, Patricia (Flanagan), his son T.J., and his soon-to-be daughter-in-law Rachel Portele, as well as his loving sister Beverly (David) Oviatt of Galesburg, MI., nephew Greg (Mindy) Oviatt, niece Beth Wilson and their children. He will also be missed by his Flanagan in-laws, extending to the Cate, Moran, and DeTineo families of Indiana and Chicago.
Pete was whip-smart, a devious fibber, and a trickster. He relished one-on-one conversations and a good Manhattan. He was a loving and adoring husband and father who was loved and adored back. Beyond his loved ones, he leaves behind an empty glass, the doors of new friends he had yet to knock on while walking, and many a room that would be made more interesting by his honest, thoughtful, and sometimes invasive questions. We will miss him forever.