Peter passed away on August 20, 2021. It happened so fast; it was a shock that hit harder than almost anything in my life. He had been seemingly improving, and I was counting on my friend and brother to recover after his heart attack and episodes of racing heartbeat. But as his wife, Claire, told me, he had already given so much of his heart to his family and friends.
I first met Pete almost 25 years ago in 1997, when we were co-workers at another company in Ohio. I was promoted to supervisor over a wonderful team that included him. Neither of us was from Ohio; we had both lived in several states growing up, and it was wonderful to meet someone with whom I could so easily relate. Pete's sense of humor, temperament, demeanor, ethics, and values matched mine, so we became friends instantly.
We both valued our team very highly. We worked together with them to become the most productive group in our department by encouraging an environment for our team built on friendship, cooperation, trust, and shared goals. Pete and I firmly believed that promoting high morale results in happy and productive team members, benefiting them, us, and our customers. We never wavered from those values and carried them with us to all of our subsequent jobs and ultimately to our own company.
I have not met a harder worker than Pete. I was always amazed at not only his staggering productivity but his ability to be so calm and easygoing in his demeanor at the same time. He had the work rate of a Type A personality, yet he was always kind and a calming, friendly influence.
I had the honor of meeting and becoming friends with Pete's wife and children, and we often spent time visiting, cooking out, and camping. When I decided to move from Ohio to take another job, I struggled with that decision; I knew that finding a friend like Pete is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and it was hard to imagine not being able to see him and his family whenever I wanted. But I was blessed to remain close friends with Pete despite any geographical distance.
Not long after I left that company, Pete naturally became a manager there. Later, he suggested hiring me as a remote, part-time contractor when the company needed help meeting deadlines, and eventually, I was working almost full time and received company benefits. This was an unusual arrangement for the company, and I know Pete must have worked hard to convince them to do it-- just another instance of his friendship. He made me head of what I believe was the department's largest project, and I am still grateful for the faith he put in me. We worked together to turn that project around from what had been a poor beginning into a success, winning awards and gaining company-wide recognition.
When I traveled to Ohio to get onsite orientation for this remote position, it was the first time I had been back to the company in almost 10 years. The difference in morale from when I had worked there previously was palpable; Pete's wonderful influence as a manager was enormous-- his encouragement of cooperation and friendliness had succeeded. People were actually smiling and getting along; I had never seen such a change like that. Pete's influence was criminally undervalued by upper management.
We were both surprised to have been included in the company's decision to lay off dozens of employees in 2009. However, it turned out to be an ultimately positive experience, because Pete and I were somewhat forced to finally carry out what we had previously thought of as a silly dream: creating our own company in which we could decide its values and operating procedures. It was Pete's idea to go through with it, and I thought he was crazy. But thanks to Pete, our company, Library Cataloging Solutions (LCS), has been a resounding success, still going strong over 11 years later today.
Because Pete was so highly respected, we had a wonderful pool of professional catalogers who knew him and were happy to join us. This was invaluable to our success, and I am so grateful to Pete for his gift of introducing me to all these great people so that I could have the privilege of working with and getting to know them.
We gradually earned more and more projects with prestigious libraries,
and we were both able to work full time exclusively with LCS. It makes my heart so happy that Pete and I were both able to relocate to where we wanted to be; I set up office in Tennessee, in the city in which I had grown up, and Pete moved to Maine, where the majority of his family lives. Family was paramount to Pete, and he seemed truly happy and content. Seeing him with his grandchildren and knowing that he could see them whenever he wanted, and hearing stories of how the children at his daughter's daycare loved him, fills me with gratitude.
Pete, you are one of a kind. I am blessed to have been your friend all these years, and it has been an honor to be a partner in business with you. It is testament to your integrity, loyalty, and friendship that we remained not only business partners, but brothers through decades of difficult times that would have caused most friends and business partners to part. I will be forever grateful for your wonderful influence on me. You are a man who always stuck to his values and kept his integrity. I miss you, my brother.