The goodbyes begin for Vonachen

By WEEK Producer

June 13, 2013 Updated Dec 13, 2013 at 8:18 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Family, friends and fans said goodbye to Pete Vonachen Thursday night, during the visitation for the long-time chiefs owner.

People started lining up to say farewell to Peoria's Mr. Baseball well ahead of the 3:00 start time. The family contemplated holding the visitation at Dozer Park, but decided to hold it at Northwoods Church in Peoria.

Pete touched a lot of lives in his careers as restaurateur, Peoria Blacktop owner and as patriarch of the Peoria Chiefs. That was his best known role, and he was a man of the people, as shown when he said "The greatest thrill I had was going out there and seeing people have fun", after he purchased the team for a second time in 1993.

Visitation continues here at Northwoods Church until 9:00 Thursday night. Visitation is 11 am to 1 pm tomorrow at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Peoria Heights. The funeral mass begins at 1:00.

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