Vonachen's sense of humor remembered at visitation

By WEEK Producer

June 13, 2013 Updated Jun 14, 2013 at 10:10 AM CDT

 

PEORIA, Ill. -- A visitation was held this afternoon and evening for Peoria's Pete Vonachen, who died Monday.

His son said Pete loved everybody, and in turn, a lot of people loved Pete. Many of them turned out today to show that love and respect.

The Vonachen family stood in front of a casket, below a huge Chiefs logo, a Cubs logo is off to one side. Above, pictures recalling the life and times of Harold A "Pete" Vonachen dissolve one into the other.

The line of well-wishers, friends, fans and co-workers, stretched into the darkness. Elsewhere there are the artifacts, the mementos of a life well-spent, as a father, restaurateur, construction company owner, and most famously, as the man who brought baseball back to Peoria.

"Passion for the game, passion for life, lived life on his terms," said Mike Quade, former Cubs manager. "I don't know if they're cliches, but these are all true."

"Always a kind word, always a cheerful word and a positive word," said neighbor Phil Salzen. "If I had to describe Pete, I'd say he was the epitome of what a citizen should be."

"At family gatherings, Pete was a hoot," said sister-in-law Mary Slevin. "Every time at family gatherings, my husband would start to say grace, Pete would set off an alarm clock."

"Man, if it were ever true, we're all better off for knowing him," said Quade. "I will think and laugh for years on some of the stuff Pete was involved in."