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.
Published in Canyon Courier from Jun. 24 to Jul. 15, 2020.