Today (4/1/14) was opening day here in Houston,Texas. Many years ago I had the honor of taking Pete Vonachen and Georgie Shadid to an Astro's game, with my son Ryan. Today my son and I returned to Minute Maid Park for opening day ceramonies. As THE BUDWEISER CLYDESDALE HORSES came into Minute Maid Park from right field, it reminded me of the photo that hangs on the wall at THE MILK PAIL in League City,Texas. The photo was taken opening day in PEORIA with Pete and HOF ''Ryno'' Sandberg riding into the stadium on THE BUDWEISER WAGON. I knew Pete was looking down from heaven with his best friend HARRY having a budweiser or two. The old saying ''IF IT PLAYS IN PEORIA IT WILL PLAY IN THE NATION'' came to life, when the two coaches reached out to shake hands. BO PORTER & JOE GIRARDI PLAYED IN PEORIA! This will be the first opening day without PEORIA'S MR.BASEBALL and the last opening day for Pete's good friend Commissioner Bud Selig. Thank you both for the memories. '' KEEP SWINGING'' YOUR FRIEND ALWAYS Jay Ewend
I was in Peoria over the 4th of July and heard about your Dad. My deepest sympathy to you and your Family. I'll keep your Dad, you, & your Family in my prayers.
Opened my copy of Baseball America today and there was a story about "Peoria's Baseball Icon" passing...
Pete had not purchased the baseball team when I sold the Penny Press and moved to Atlanta, but there was no doubt as to his passion for the sport or his friendship with legendary announcer Harry Caray - a frequent guest at Pete's restaurant.
My memories of Pete are of a man devoted to his community who seemed able to do more in one day than most of us in a week... and of a man who truly made a difference. The highest tribute anyone can offer.
I worked for Pete and brother Tom at the restaurant in the 60's. They respected us and treated us well as employees. Later on as a Jaycee, I rode with kids as they operated the old Junction railroad handcar that he'd lent us for Steamboat Days. Lastly was his support for Peoria baseball, where I was happy for the opportunity to talk to him again. You now leave a gap that makes the Grand Canyon seem like a roadside ditch in comparison, Pete!
So sorry to hear about Pete...I worked for him at the Junction 50 years ago...many fond memories of those times.
Danny, Rocky and all Vonachens,
I have great memories of your father as an usher at St. Thomas, playing ball for Peoria Blacktop, and of course the Harry stories. May he rest in peace.
You were a sincerely great man. I met you at my wife's grandfather, George Rump, funeral. You gave the eulogy with grace and love. You also said something I haven't forgotten to this day: as long as you have your faith, family, and friends, you have everything. I saw your son, Rocky, post that in an article and it made me cry. Thank you for the 5 or so minutes I got to know you. May you and George have some more fun now in paradise.
With great respect,
Hi Sorry to here about your dad. The whole Carter family sends our respects to all of you. Send us a note sometime and fill us in on who's doing what. Take care. Rex Carter
Dear Mary, Rocky, Dan, Mark and the whole Vonachen Family,
We just wanted to again express our condolences on the passing of your Dad -- the elder Statesman of the Vonachen Family. He was a terrific man and Community leader and will be missed by MANY who called him their friend! We will particularily miss Pete's Dry sense of humor -- but apparently he left that to Rocky! Keeping Pete in our prayers.
Jim and Katie Owens
Rocky & Vonachen Family,
With Heartfelt Sympathy~
Pete's story will be shared,
He will be remembered,
and others will find inspiration
in the way he lived his life.
It's been a great honor to have had Pete's friendship for 29 yrs. going back to Meinen Field. Pete always made it up to the top bleachers where our group & family always sat. When our grandkids were very young we would bring them along & Pete would always seek them out & give them balls with his autograph which are treasures today. Oh the fun we had!
Opening night this season I brought 2 granddaughters (14 & 19). We stopped to chat with Pete...he commented how they had grown & were beautiful young ladies now...that was Pete. We chatted a bit more & I always let him know how much he was loved! So thankful for that last chat.
We will miss him always~
Love you my friend...
Mikey, Rocky, Greg, Dan, Mark: Our sympathy to you all and your families. Dad now happily reunited with Mom....Johnny/Judy
Mikey, Rocky, Greg, Dan & Mark: Our deepest sympathy to you and your families. Dad's suffering now over and reunited happily with mom.....Johnny/Judy Cramer
You are in our thoughts and prayers. Your dad was a wonderful man.
Matt & Cecilia(Fogerty) Kelly
Of all the people I've known in my life, Pete is one of those few who had a sweet spirit and kind heart. He just put his whole heart right out there. His love for people is unmatched. I will miss you Pete. A ballgame will never be the same, and never will be played that you're not remembered. My sympathies to your family.
Dearest Greg and Kathy (and family)..so so sorry to hear of your loss. I am the daughter of your past neighbors Janie and Tony Dobosz. I spoke with dad for 2 hours this evening (he's 87 now) and he told me that he heard of Pete's passing watching a Cubs game? He remembers your family with great fondness. Thanks for taking care of mom and dad with love! So Sorry for your loss. When time heals, I know he would love a call or visit. Janine Dobosz Rollins
God bless. Mr. Vonachen was one of the good guys.
Rocky & All of Pete's Family- How can anyone know Pete and not love the guy. We will always remember him as the "BEST" !!
To the Family of Pete,
Our thoughts and prayers go out to you all during this difficult time. "Pete" always brought a smile, his infectious enthusiasm for life and great determination when he came to our office. He was a true Legend and we will miss him!
We are all going to cherish the memories of Pete and celebrate a life that touched so many. Every time a child swings a bat or throws a ball in our community his legacy will live.
On Monday, June 10th, 2013, from the pearly gates of heaven, Saint Peter and Harry Caray stood waiting at the entrance. And in true fashion, you could hear Harry, "It might be... it could be... it is.... My best friend Pete Vonachen! Holy Cow, what took you so long?
With his trademark smile and his quick wit, Pete replied, "I drove here Harry, I drove here."
JUST AN ADDEDUM TO MY PREVIOUS REMARKS OF PETE'S JUNCTION RESTAURANT, HE HAD THE BEST ROQUEFORT SALALD DRESSING I HAVE EVER EATEN, BEFORE OR SINCE; AND I'VE EATEN FROM COAST TO COAST. MY SINCERE CONDOLENCE TO THE FAMILY OF PETE.
To all the Vonachen family, my sincere sympathy on the passing of Pete Vonachen. He certainly got the most out of life to the very end, we should be so fortunate. I will have Pete & Donna and all of you in my thoughts and prayers. "Keep Swinging"
Dear Mikie, Lauren and family, My sympathy is with you at this time. Your father was so loved by many and left a wonderful legacy that will not be forgotten. My prayers are with you all.
My most sincere condolences to the Vonachen family. It was both a privilege and a pleasure to have known your father.RIP Pete.
Dear Vonachen family, we would like to offer our prayers and sympathies for you at this time. Pete was one of the most sincere, funny, witty, generous and endearing men who ever walked on this earth. Despite all of his accomplishments in life, he was very modest and unassuming. He always made others feel welcome and at ease. He was a great friend to our family and we will miss him. He has earned his eternal reward many times over. God bless!
My dear friend, Mikie, & all the Vonachen family..... I hope you find some comfort in knowing what a positive impact your Dad made on so many people.... Hugs to all. As hard as it is to let him go, I know you feel peace knowing he is with your Mother.
With prayer & sympathy- Pattie (DuBois) Weaver
OUr families connected on many levels, including an aunt who was Pete's father's secretary, Through the years my bilbings were in school with the VONACHENS. Peter was never without a SMILE...goodness and generosity. Heaven will greet him with open arms. My prayers and sympathy for your loss.Sr. Catherine Cleary, OSB (Rock Island)
RIP Uncle Pete. I will be forever thankful that you were part of my life. With so many wonderful memories to look back on I will smile often when you are thought of. To Mikie, Rock, Greg, Dan and Mark my deepest sympathies, prayers and love go out to you at this time.
As a newly appointed Fire Chief in 1993 I decided instead of going to the gambling boat with everyone else to take in a Peoria Chiefs game. Small crowd that May night and I was introduced to Mr. Vonachen who asked why I was there? I told him I was a Fire Chief at a conference and loved baseball. He asked me for a business card. A week later I received a Chiefs hat and T-Shirt along with a hand written note that I now was a "Chief" too! . From that day forward a Chiefs fan but more importantly a Pete Vonachen fan. I saw him 2 years ago with my wife at the park and told him that story. I hope you and Harry are sharing a few Buds now. God bless you and may you rest in peace.
Pete will be sorely missed. We truly enjoyed his company and his stories. Our deepest condolences to the Vonachen family. The best compliment that that we can give is that he was one of the "good guys" and a treasured Peoria icon. "Keep Swinging"
Ed & Joanie Papis
He will be missed so much by every person he met in his life. What a honor to be part of his life. Vicki and Gary Baumgarten
What was the one thing that Pete Vonachen and Harry Caray had in common? THEY BOTH HAD MAGIC! :)
To the Vonachen family , sorry for your loss. Your dad,granddad,was a gentleman. I knew the Vonachens because of the Chiefs. Pete saved Peoria in the early eighties . He made you feel special when you were at the ballpark. I am lucky to be a Peoria native. I know your dad is home with your mom. Again from my family, sorry for your loss.
So Sorry to hear of the loss of your Dad/Grandpa he was truely a great person always new who I was when I saw him and that wasn't very often but he is in peace now and I'm sure you will be hearing "Play Ball" in the near future that is what he would want long live the legacy.......
My dad Mickey knew Pete as a grade-schooler & beyond. He's 2 yrs ahead of Pete. I last saw them joking together at a Chiefs Generation Night we took him to yrs ago. May the very best of all memories always be with you.
May the very best of all memories always be with you.
So sorry to hear about the loss of your Dad/Grandpa he was a just a trememdous person and always knew who I was even though I didn't see him often but he is peaceful now and as he would say "the game goes on" RIP Pete....
RIP, My dear friend..Such a pleasure to have known you. You will be missed..
I met Pete when he owned Peoria Blacktop Inc., and I was an Engineer for Peoria County Highway Department. He was a true gentleman, and always wanted high quality results from his employees. It was always a pleasure working with Pete and PBT employees. More recently I always enjoyed our "chats" at the 50s Diner. Wonderful memories last forever....Thank You Pete.
Dear Vonachen Family,
Please accept our deepest sympathy on the passing of Pete. My family and I were fortunate to spend over 15 All-star Breaks with Pete and Donna at my parents home (Joan and Jack Barry)in Lake Geneva. Pete was such an amazing man. He was so kind and as soon as you met him you felt you had known him for years. We consider ourselves blesssed to have know both Pete and Donna. They were so proud of all of you! They shared many loving stories of their family. Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Kathleen Barry Daigler and family
I was very saddened to hear of the loss of your dad. The city of Peoria has a lost a wonderful ambassador, and baseball has lost a great figure. I will miss the time that I spent with Pete while attending baseball games in Peoria and banquets in Chicago. On behalf of myself and the Pitch and Hit Club of Chicago, you have our deepest sympathy. Please extend our sympathies to the rest of your family and know that you will be in our prayers.
Ken P. Miller
President of Pitch and Hit Club of Chicago
My sympathy to the Vonachen family......when Pete arrived in heaven he was told--"job well done !" I was blessed to know him.
John Nelson, M.D. (retired)
Dan & family,
So very sorry to hear of the loss of your Dad. May your tears soon turn to smiles as you find comfort in the memories you cherish. May your Dad rest in peace with your Mom. God Bless. With sincere sympathy, Ann & Mike Ford
We are so sad to learn about Pete's passing. We first met Pete in 1974 at the old Convenient Food Mart that was in Northgate Park just off War Memorial Drive. Remember that he was driving a Peoria Blacktop car. Over the years when we met, he always knew us. We hope your many, many happy memories will help you and your family get through this most difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Diana & Ed Johnson (Mt. Hawley CC & Ivy Club)
Our deepest sympathy, and prayers.
Classmate Jim '43, Rheta '45
I have to go back to 2 weeks before Pete opened the Junction for food but the bar was open and oh the many frends that night after night were their.
My wife and I had our Wedding reseption at the Junction on Aug.1,1959.
I also remember how thoughful Pete was when I was in Proctor Hospital for `13 days and he saw to it that I had a little extra something to eat every night.
He will be greatly missed.
Pete: I always enjoyed the stories you told at the "Fergie & Pete" luncheons each year. I will miss you.
Hey Pete-throw me a ball! Pete will be sadly missed by more lives than he ever knew he touched.
GOD BLESS THE VONACHEN FAMILY . PETE gave me my first job when I was in High school,and our family send,s there LOVE &PRAYERS.
As I'm sitting here thinking about what to say, I can feel Pete smiling down! What a treasure he was to his family & the Peoria area! What a wonderful life he lived! How lucky we were to have him in our midst. Thank you, Pete Vonachen, for being such a wonderful man. Rest in Peace...
WHEN I LIVED IN THE HEIGHTS I FREQUENTED THE JUNCTION WHERE I GOT ACQUAINTED WITH PETE AND BROTHER TOM. PETE WAS TRULY ONE OF A KIND. HE REALLY HAD A KNACK FOR MAKING A PERSON FEEL SPECIAL EACH TIME WE MET. I PRAY THAT THIS WAS PETE'S LEGACY FOR HIS ENTIRE FAMILY. MAY HE REST IN GOD'S LOVING ARMS.
They don't make them any better than Pete Vonachen. He will be dearly missed by all of Peoria. His caring and love for our city and for all of us was above and beyond. I know he will "keep swinging" in heaven.
Will miss Pete at Chiefs ball park. He has been great for Peoria.
Pete Vonachen's Children & Grandchildren,
Our deepest sympathy is with you. Pete was a very caring, friendly and humble man. We will miss him at St. Thomas. We're sorry that we're unable to be at his Funeral Mass on Friday.
Love & prayers,
Paul & Ann Horst
A true friend to so many has left us. Much of his thoughtful ways were learned from his parents who also were kind to so many. We have enjoyed Pete here on earth, but now it is rest time and time for those who were waiting patiently for him to be among their numbers. You have truly earned a place in so many hearts and wanted all to know that Pete was always a faithful attendee to the "Peoria Forever" luncheons that are held in Naples, Fl. May you be able to smile as you remember your family member for he was a truly caring individual as were his parents and now you must take up the family challenge to carry on all the good and kind work that started so long ago.
Thanks for the memories! Marge Miller Bettman
I cherish great memories with Pete all the way back to my high school baseball days. A better "people person" i will never know. Pete always made you feel important. Thanks Pete for the memories and everthing you accomplished to make Peoria area a better place to live. Pete, tell Feller hi for me. My condolences to the family.
My heartfelt sympathies and condolences are with you all! Pete will forever have a place in my heart! I will miss him greatly!
TO THE VONACHEN FAMILY, WE WERE BLESSED TO BE FRIENDS WITH DONNA AND PETE.WORDS DO NOT EXPRESS THE MANY TIMES THAT PEOPLE WOULD GREET THEM WITH EXPRESSIONS OF FRIENDLINESS.PETE,MY GOOD FRIEND,YOU WERE THE BEST.SAY HELLO TO HARRY UPSTAIRS.YOU WIL BE MISSED. MARIE/DON NIESTROM
My parents always enjoyed your father...My mother still talks about the time your father hid her purse at the Chief's game!!!! So sorry for your loss.
Sorry to hear about the passing of your father.
May he rest in peace.
I had the privilege of knowing Pete from the Sunday morning "roundtable" at The Drug Store in Junction City in the mid-70s.
Mr. Mac (pharmacist) had a core group of his friends who came in for a cup of coffee and after church mischief!
Coffee, treats and a whole lotta BS!!
I volunteered to waitress those mornings - those guys were always so much fun. The stories they would tell, the risqué remarks (always followed by a "sorry, honey!")
The memory still make me laugh all these years later.
Pete, the day you told me I had "great gams" is forever etched in my memory. For a 16 year old, it was a high honor - because I knew what a "gam" was!!
As a lifelong Peoria Heights resident and for the generations of our Peoria Heights and St. Thomas (Herbstrith/Casebeer) family, Pete will be sorely missed.
Rocky and family, rest assured - your dad was - not one of the good guys - he was one of the GREAT guys!!
Pete will be missed by all, but the memories will last forever. My thoughts and prayers are with all of the family.
Mikie, Rocky, Greg, Mark and Dan. I am so sorry to here about the loss of your dad - my godfather. I am sorry I cant make it but Pete will be there. You are all in my prayers. Tod Clarno
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.