Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Peter Stougaard, it is easy to see that he made the most of the days he was given. He was passionate about the people and things he loved, and there was nothing he enjoyed more than sharing his interests with other enthusiasts. Peter was blessed to welcome both children and grandchildren into his life, and some of his favorite memories were made with his friends and loved ones. Although he will be deeply missed, he leaves behind a brilliantly colored mosaic of memories that will be forever cherished.
Every day life during the 1930s was anything but easy as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Jobs were hard to come by and the unemployment rate soared, but a positive side came in the way that cities, communities, and families came together to weather the storms. It was during this challenging time that Roy Andrew and Helen Hayward (Keeler) Stougaard were able to shift their focus to an exciting time in their lives as they were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby as the beauty of spring began to unfold in Detroit, Michigan, in April of 1931. Their wait was finally over when the baby boy they named Peter Allen drew his first breath on April 22nd. He was one of three as he was joined in his family by his sister, Marge, and his brother, Roy Jr. Raised in the Detroit area, Peter’s father was involved in real estate for Packard Motor Corporation while his mother focused her time and attention at home.
In many ways Peter was a young boy who was typical of the youth of this generation. He found fun in simple things like riding his bike. Peter learned to love speed by driving a go-kart, which was something he did as often as he could. He also enjoyed making memories on vacations to New York, Boston, Chicago, and White Lake, Michigan. As a student, Peter attended local schools including Southeastern High School in Detroit where he took part in a couple of plays. After graduating from high school, Peter attended Eastern Michigan University. He also served in the Air Force National Guard for a couple of years, spending two years in Maine.
Life was forever changed for Peter when he met a young college student named Barbara. After dating for about one year, they were married on October 16, 1954, in Seattle, Washington. The newlyweds initially settled in Seattle, but from there they lived in Detroit, Maumee, Ohio, and finally in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Together they had four children, Kris, Curt, Lisa, and Cary. To support his family, Peter spent more than 40 years working in outside sales. Over the years he worked for Minute Maid, Northern Paper Mills, and Sylvania Electric before finally working in pharmaceutical sales for Geneva Generics until retiring. Although his marriage later ended in divorce, Peter was forever grateful for the children they shared.
Throughout his life Peter was a man of many interests who was often busy. He described himself as “car crazy,” and his family and friends would certainly agree. Peter was a member of the Corvette Club for 13 years, and he particularly loved his ’89 Corvette and his ’66 Mustang. Peter was also into auto racing, and during his retirement years he loved traveling to various race tracks. When he read, Peter read auto magazines. He greatly enjoyed the longtime companionship of Susan Zwiers, who accompanied him in the pursuit of many of his interests. Peter also enjoyed sailing, and when it came to music he enjoyed swing and jazz music of the 40s, 50s, and 60s.
With a journey that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Peter Stougaard lived his life to the fullest. He worked hard in everything he did, but he also took the time to have fun in life, too. Peter was passionate about his interests, but nothing was better than sharing these passions with the ones he loved. He will never be forgotten.
Peter Allen Stougaard, age 89 of Grand Rapids, passed away May 7, 2020. He was preceded in death by his parents, Roy and Helen Stougaard, his sister, Marge Grover; brother, Roy Stougaard Jr; and by his longtime friend, Susan Zwiers. Peter is survived by his children, Kris Stougaard, Curt Stougaard, Lisa Trevethan and Cary Stougaard; grandchildren Raechel and Cameron Stougaard; the mother of his children, Barbara Church. A service to remember and celebrate Peter’s life will be held at a later date. To read more about Peter, to share a memory or sign his guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com