Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Captain for All Ages

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Captain Pete Peteprin was born 100 years ago today on October 29, 1910 in Caro, Michigan. And so his purpose began. Captain Pete feels strongly that it is essential to live a purposeful life and he knew that his purpose was to lead. He believes in Christianity and that he is here to love and help other people when he can. “There are 5 words that are very important to me: Christian love, hope, courage, faith and wisdom of selection.”

He grew up in a lumber family amidst the strong personalities of his father and grandfather. His mother was very loving and provided not only a strong educational foundation, but prophetically enough, a make believe captain uniform when he was just 8! Her death, when he was only 11 years old, was the single most difficult thing in his life. A pastor mentored Pete, solidifying his strong faith and giving him the courage to pick himself up and persevere. He knew he had something to offer when he was asked to be the Captain of his high school football team. He went to Michigan State on an athletic and academic scholarship, completing 2 years before voluntarily enlisting in the Navy in 1931. He re-enlisted again in 1935, honorably serving in the US Navy for 41 years, retiring in 1972. Before retiring he completed his BA and MBA in Business Administration from the Univ. of Michigan. In 1938 he met and married a wonderful woman and research nurse named Emily Hoffman. They wed in the Valley Forge Chapel and shared 60 years together before her passing. They have a terrific son and daughter, four grandchildren and a great grandson.

Captain Pete’s military career is historic. He believes in liberty and that a person or country must be willing to sacrifice and even die for the right to that liberty. Pete was willing and is a Pearl Harbor survivor, returning to battleship row on the USS Helm, a destroyer that shot down 2 Japanese planes and remained afloat with 3 holes blown in her side. His attitude is remarkable and humbling. “It’s an interesting thing. When you are in the war, you just think about winning the war. If I’m killed it was meant to be, if not, wonderful!” Wonderful indeed! Pete has sailed the world, served NATO in Paris, France from 1959 to 1964, recruited European engineers for the space program, evacuated 747 French Foreign Legion and Colonial troops with chest wounds out of Indo China, served in Washington, DC…the list is endless.

As remarkable and as endless is Pete’s love, wisdom and generosity of spirit. He enjoys working out, heart-felt conversations and lunch with friends. His most recently accomplished goal was that all of his grand kids graduated from college. And, Pete is lucky in love! He and his delightful wife Louise have been married for 11 years and his goal is to make her as happy as he can. Captain Pete looks forward to each day with contagious optimism and to eternity with inspiring devotion and love. Happy Birthday, Captain Pete and God bless you always!

- Mary Hill

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