Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pete Peightal 1938-2007

I'm going to share some of the stories that I have written for the Spokesman-Review for the benefit of those that didn't catch the print version:

Sons of the Pioneers are leaving us these days. No, not the Country singers. We are talking about the old guard residents that logged, mined, built roads, created the infrastructure that we enjoy today. Rough around the edges doesn’t even start to describe these folks. Today, we are going to talk about such a man that passed away recently.

A party was held recently, at the Vista Bay Marina where his Daughter, Debbie works. Most folks in these circumstances would hold a wake, or memorial service. Pete wouldn’t have stood still for that. He would have wanted one last great party where the last person standing would hoist a toast to his memory, just before crawling out the door. We didn’t stay long enough to determine if the outcome was such, but a packed house of “Who’s Who” of Bayview and surrounding area filled the room with stories, pictures, scrapbooks.

Pete was a hard worker, a hard drinker and in his younger days, a hard scrapper. He never backed off from a challenge, whether physical, or a neighbor in need. Pete Peightal gave, then gave some more. When the old Bayview School house was torn down because the foundation was judged to be unstable, he labored for days to take that stubborn building to the ground. Like Pete, the school house was tough too. When gravel was needed for the new Community Center rising in it’s place, Pete donated it from the gravel pit that he operated. When any neighborhood project needed some help, he was there.

Some of the stories that were alleged Saturday were highly entertaining. One was about a septic system that he had installed out on Cape Horn. The owner supposedly refused to pay for the job. Rather than placing a lien on the property, he just climbed back up on his backhoe, drove out to the site and proceeded to destroy all that he had built. He wasn’t much for lawyers. He took the direct approach.

When Vista Bay Marina Docks caught fire and burned to the water in 1977, Pete was out there rebuilding them. Then there was the time that Pete was backing a boat and trailer down the boat launch in Bayview. About halfway down, the hitch broke, causing the boat and trailer to go sailing perfectly down to the water, ending up perfectly moored a foot from the dock. His friend, Pat Dow, was heard to remark that it was the best he’d ever done.

The only sadness we saw at Vista Bay that day, was Pete’s Blue Heeler, Bart, walking up to everyone as they mingled, looking for the master that hadn’t come home yet. You see, Pete’s Daughter, Debbie, couldn’t get the dog to stay home. She was all he had left and he followed her around slavishly, not letting her out of his sight.

In another sad note, we reported a story about three surviving ladies that had operated the Athol Fire Department in the ‘60s. That story was published June 21 with a picture of Joreen Bohn and Marie Allen, fire engine driver, age 93. Marie died July 11. The picture and story can be found in my blog, posted June 15. She was quite a gal ...

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