Peter Thomas McInerney Jr.
1943 - 2020
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It is with great sadness that the McInerney family announces the loss of a beloved husband and father. Peter Thomas McInerney Jr. died on May 24, 2020, at his Evergreen home.
Peter was born in 1943 to Peter and Cynthia McInerney of Patchogue, N.Y. After excelling and making lifelong friends at Seton Hall High School, he earned an appointment to the then-new U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. This began an association with flying and with Colorado that would define much of his life.
After graduating in 1965, he served with distinction in Vietnam, flying combat missions in F-4 and F-105 aircraft. After the war, he continued his service in Europe and back home. An unfailingly funny and sweet-natured man, he became a popular pilot instructor as well.
By his estimation, his most significant posting may have been MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, where he met and began dating his future wife, Brooke Shreaves. The final chapter of his military career was as an F-16 pilot, instructor and lieutenant colonel with the Vermont Air National Guard, his retirement plaque proudly reading "The only man that can be supersonic and asleep at the same time."
Although he began his civilian career finding his way around some of the most infamous airline bankruptcies of the '70s and '80s, he eventually found a home at United Airlines. He jumped at the opportunity to settle his family in Evergreen and proudly served as an instructor at its Denver training center for many years.
His very first month of employment with the company, however, found him as a passenger on the ill-fated United Flight 232. While injured in the accident, he approached his recovery with characteristic optimism and testified on behalf of his fellow passengers, who had not shared his good fortune. As soon as he could return to work, he incorporated his experience into his teaching, which he continued for years to come.
Peter deeply valued his family life, and shared his passion for skiing, camping, boating and travel with his wife and four sons. He described his parenting style as a good-natured form of playful chaos he cheerfully called "combat rules." In Brooke, he had found a wise and fearless partner, and they had a happy, loving relationship that lasted the rest of his days.
Peter passed surrounded by his family after a long illness at the age of 76. Although he lived a full and blessed life, all who loved him would still say he was taken too soon. He was asked years ago what someone could say to reflect on a life filled with such happiness, adventure and good fortune. He only answered, with a twinkle in his eye and his trademark grin: "How did such a little guy with such a big mouth live so long?"
Peter is survived by his wife Brooke, his four sons Beau, Todd, Daniel and Rox, and his siblings Cynthia, Robin, Mary and Joseph.
Memorial services are planned for a later date.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Canyon Courier from Jun. 24 to Jul. 15, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
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6 entries
August 17, 2020
I just read in ALPA magazine that Peter recently passed and it made me very sad. I met Peter as a pilot at People Express and I immediately realized how talented and friendly he was. I also respected the fact that he was flying the cool stuff (F-16's) and I was stuck in a C-130 Guard Unit but he didn't hold that against me. We both plotted to leave People and he left before I finally made it to United with his help. We got word at People about his doomed flight and crash at Sioux City and I was so happy that he survived although badly injured. Four years later when I started my career over at United I got to hear all about what he went thru from Peter and how quickly he was able to return to the cockpit after his very serious injuries. It was hard to believe but he was still the same sweet, kind, highly professional guy I knew. I consider Peter to be one of the most outstanding people who I have ever met not to mention his superior flying skills. Very sorry for your loss.
Dave Valentine
July 17, 2020
P.S. Brooke, Beau, Todd, Daniel and Rox: I am a member of a Facebook group known as Old Fighter Pilots. I posted a commemorative about Pete "flying west" and you should have seen all the comments by people who knew Pete--about what a super guy and great fighter pilot he was. Your loss may be more acute than the rest of us, but it is shared by a lot of those who knew Pete. If you want a couple of more photos of Pete at Ubon, write me at Please know that lots of guys have raised their glasses to Pete and thrown a "nickle on the grass" for him.
William Wall
July 16, 2020
R.I.P. and Heres a Toast...
John B, USAFA 90
July 16, 2020
I knew Peter only enough to say hello at the Zoo. The passing of all our classmates is a difficult thing. My best wishes to Brooke and four sons. May Peter Rest in Peace!
Harry E Rodman Jr
July 16, 2020
Oh Lord, not another classmate and good buddy flying west much too early! Pete and I had such great times flying as Wolf FACs at Ubon in Thailand back in the late 60s and early 70s, as well as in Germany and other places. Pictured below is a photo that I took of Pete the day before my last mission at Ubon in April 1970. The torn flight suite was the result of a mock fight that he and I had in the Ubon Officer's Club. What a great guy and what a terrible loss to all, but especially to his family. I regret not having met you, Brooke, and I send my condolences and best regards to you and your sons. William "Wild Bill" Wall (Wolf 03).
William Wall
July 8, 2020
Im so sorry for your loss. He was my motivation for making peppermint ice cream for Christmas for many years! My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Elle Zanichelli Breech
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