Sadness at the Peters Household

It’s with a very sad heart that I am finally getting around to posting again after a long absence. Only wish I was back because of something wonderful in my life, but it’s quite the contrary.

John F Peters 3-2012
John “Pete” Peters 3-2012

My husband, John “Pete” Peters, passed away on Friday, December 21, 2012 from a lengthy battle with melanoma cancer after a very brief stay at a Veteran’s nursing home in Eveleth, MN.

John was so loving and although he was a quiet and private man, always had a terrific sense of humor and was quick to laugh and have a good time. To give you some insight, there’s a funny story about his nickname, “Pete” and why I call him that.

Photo of Peters Family Reunion 7-2012
Peters Family Reunion Lake City, MN July 2012

When we met over in Oberammergau, Germany, where we were both working on the American Army base in the Officer’s Club, he was a chef and I was a waitress.

John had taken a European discharge from the Army and I was traveling, stopping in Oberammergau to work and make some money to continue on my journey.

John and Cathryn Peters Wedding Day June 23, 1973

John introduced himself to me as “Pete” and for over a year, it stuck. That’s what I thought his name really was, Pete Peters.

It wasn’t until I was sitting around the kitchen table here in the States with his female relatives a few days before the wedding, discussing the plans and talking about this guy named “Pete,” that I finally found out his real name was John.

Everyone had been looking at me kinda funny until his mother piped up and asked, “Just exactly who are you talking about?” Meekly I replied, “Your son of course, the man I am going to marry!”

After they learned why I was talking about “Pete” they laughed and laughed and once again everything was alright with the world. Talk about an embarrassing moment with the new inlaws, not even knowing the name of the guy I was going to marry. Yikes!

John and Cathryn Peters wedding day, cutting the cake
John and Cathryn Peters Wedding Day June 1973

My family and I continued to call John by his nickname Pete forever, because we already had two men named John in our family, my youngest brother and my dad, although he always went by “Jack.”

And then too, John’s family had grandpa John, uncle John and my hubby John, so to avoid confusion, my husband John was always referred to as Pete.

John Peters family photo Lake City, MN 1979
John & Cathryn, Willie & Maggie Peters family photo 1979.

John also loved life and was a big outdoors person, enjoying duck, deer and elk hunting, and fishing, especially deep-sea fishing and loved sailing and riding his Harley.

John Peters Elk Hunt 2009, bagged a big one!
John Peters Elk Hunting in New Mexico 2009
John Peters Harley 2005
John Peters and his Harley 2005

John loved communing with nature by just being outdoors appreciating all God’s gifts, and idolized his two children, their spouses and of course the three grandchildren.

In 2005 he was first diagnosed with melanoma and had his first radical surgery on his neck. Then it reoccurred in 2009 inside his throat near the vocal cords and he had his second surgery, this time in Rochester at the Mayo Clinic.

Fast forward to 2011 when they discovered another tumor between his heart and bronchial tubes, which could not be operated on. Then this year, doctors discovered a 2cm brain tumor and that the cancer had spread to his liver, pancreas, kidneys and bone.

By December 2012 through a CT of the brain, we found out that it had doubled in size to 4.8cm and was pressing on the control area of the brain for the left side of his body. During the last week of his life, he lost movement there.

All during this whole ordeal, people had no idea he was even sick and he kept working in construction and as a journeyman millwright (both very physical occupations), until later this year.

John Peters Millwright 2011
John Peters Millwright Local #1348 Virginia, MN 2011

John was not about to go the conventional treatment route of radiation and chemo like all the doctors wanted him to pursue. This would have left him a very, very painful and horrible quality of life. So he preferred to go the alternative medicine route.

He and I and all the family are convinced that this was the best thing for him to do because his quality of life was excellent and we feel it extended his life an extra three years.

I cared for him here at home myself until the last week of his life when I enrolled him in hospice care. They were wonderful, coming and attending to his needs and providing the medication to make him comfortable.

Then on  Wednesday, the 19th I could no longer get him in and out of bed to use the commode, so we transported him to a Veteran’s nursing home about 45 miles south of our place.

Luckily I had already said my goodbyes and gave him permission to pass over before he went to the nursing home, and our kids and his sister were able to say their goodbyes also.

John-Cathy Xmas card photo 2010
John and Cathryn Peters Christmas card photo 2010

It was very fitting and well thought out timing on his part, to leave this world on Friday, December 21st, the winter solstice AND the “end of the world” on the Mayan calendar, a day none of us will likely ever forget!

So this holiday season has been the pits for me and it’s just now that I’m really able to talk about all this online. The outpouring of condolences has been wonderful, and I’m so very grateful for this close-knit online community, you all have been the saving grace for my sanity and emotional well-being. Thank you all so much.

Everyone that came in contact with this gentle soul enjoyed his company and loved him. He will be sorely missed by all he touched. Until we meet again, rest in peace, “Pete.”

John Peters profile Angora, MN 2012
John Peters, Angora, MN June 2012

Thanks to everyone for the wonderful condolence cards, emails and phone calls, you can’t imagine how grateful I am for your friendship and concern in real-time or by cyberspace.

Our first Celebration of Life for John “Pete” Peters took place up here at Mlaker Funeral Home in Cook, MN on Saturday, January 5, 2013 at 2pm, with Reverend Art Dale officiating.

There was also a gathering of family and friends an hour before the service. Military rites were performed accorded by the combined honor guards of the Cook Veteran of Foreign Wars Post #1757 and the Orr American Legion Post #480.

Then following the memorial was a reception/send-off/party at the VFW, as John requested. He was adamant that we celebrate and remember fondly his life here on earth. He had a real lust for life and lived the way he wanted and enjoyed almost every minute to the fullest!


On Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 1 p.m. we held a second memorial in Lake City for his family and friends that couldn’t make it up here.

This Celebration of Life was at the VFW Post #8729 with the Acting Chaplin Howard Horen officiating, with reception/send-off/party following that service also.

Military rites were accorded by the honor guards of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #8729.

Honorary pallbearers were Bruce Barnum, Irv Dick, Matt Russell, Sam Russell (deceased), Rodger Benson, Bob Kirtz (deceased), Don VanSchaick, Dale Larson, Jerry Northrup, Bill Bullard, Jack Kosciolek, Ron Fisher, and Ron Johnson.

Rest in Peace, sweetie, until we meet again…

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18 thoughts on “Sadness at the Peters Household”

  1. Hello, Cathy. My wife and I discovered your web site by chance while researching genealogy for her family a few days ago. We were certainly fascinated with your art initially, then deeply saddened when we read your warm remembrance of Pete. You have provided us a glimpse of what was undoubtedly a wonderful marriage and life with him. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Pete, and your family. Your cheerful smile hasn’t changed a bit and will guide your return to brighter and warmer days. Take care. John & Dana Wheat (PCHS, OKC).

    1. Oh John, thank you so much for the condolences on my husband’s passing and for taking the time to leave the message on my blog! It’s been many, many years since we last saw each other in high school and I’m so happy to hear from you again. I’ve emailed you so we can catch up privately, would love to “meet” your wife and hear about what’s been going on with you two for the last 40 years or so. Hope to hear from you again soon. Cathy

  2. Hello. I’m just happening through on my search for solutions to my chair weaving challenge (working with jean material), and I read this post. A beautiful homage to your partner and friend and co-parent. Please accept my appreciation and condolences -and best wishes to you on your journey forward. Regards, Phoebe

  3. Vicki and Dallas Williamson

    Cathy, We were so very sorry to hear of John’s passing. What a great article/tribute you wrote. Please pass on our sympathies to Maggie and Will. Thinking of you all.

    1. Thanks Dallas and Vicki, there will be a second memorial service in Lake City on the 12th at 1pm at the VFW. Would love to see you there, but understand if it’s not possible. Thanks for your condolences, will pass them on to the kids.

  4. Still thinking about you Cathryn and what a difficult time you must be going through. Thank you for sharing a snippet of his and your life together. Eric and I will be keeping you in our prayers.
    Lynne a.k.a. the basketmaker’s wife

  5. I am so sorry for your loss. You were so blessed with a wonderful
    marriage and husband. I hope you are comforted by good memories.

  6. I am so sorry for your loss….sending hugs and prayers of comfort. Such a wonderful tribute you’ve made to him here. Looking forward to meeting him above!

  7. So sorry to hear this sad news. What a beautiful tribute you wrote for him. Makes me wish I had known him. May time help ease your sorrow.

  8. I know that words are inadequate at a time like this but I wanted you to know how very sorry I am for your loss. The loss of a spouse is a tragic event. We have many men who make up our lives Father, brother, grandfather and son, but the one that we call husband is the one who we attach our heart and live as one
    with the solemn oath that until death do we part.

    It is times like this that our faith is put to the test. We know that we must accept his passing and give thanks for the wonderful life he lived. As sad as it will be, you will always have the memory of him to hold in your heart.

    The Bible reminds us that “Blessed are those that mourn for they shall be comforted.” I pray that this will be especially true for you as you mourn your loss.

    I pray that God will give you the strength to see you through this sad and difficult time. My thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family.

  9. Cathryn, thank you so much for an insight into the life of “Pete”.
    What a delightful young man ! I would have enjoyed knowing him.
    You all have been very, very blessed to have him.
    Much love, Jan

  10. Cathryn, I am so sorry for your loss, which is heavens gain, as I’m sure the angels have been waiting for “Pete” to join them. I’m sure he’s watching over you and his children.
    Love to you

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