Pierre (Pete) Guignon, 88, died Friday June 17, two days after celebrating his 64th wedding anniversary with the love of his life, Peggy.
A lifelong Kansas City, Missouri resident, Pete grew up in Brookside, graduated Southwest High and served in the Navy Reserves. A devout Catholic, Pete always kept his faith and his family first. For his children he modeled what it meant to be a parent and spouse. Pete and Peggy created a warm and loving home for their five children in the Brookside area. The door to their home was always open to family and friends as countless laughs and retold stories occurred around their breakfast room table. A million memories were born there.
Pierre always loved creating adventures, ranging from the long bike rides in the city with his children, to “tankin’” through the countryside in “Old Green”, his beloved jeep;“Everybody hangin’ on?” As throughout his own childhood, there was always a beloved dog in the mix. Pete’s adventures were far from limited by geography. He and Peggy traveled the world throughout their marriage, with perhaps the most cherished adventure, a 1972 trip through Europe with all five children: Six countries, aVolkswagon van, and not a single hotel reservation. Tour guides were not needed.
Another adventure in the late Sixties to a small inconspicuous mining town led to a life-long love of Crested Butte, Colorado. His family came to know that each summer meant another exciting adventure in CB. With Pete it was always about adventure; always curious to see and experience what was over the next hill or mountain.
Pete worked in sales at Richards and Conover Steel for 42years. But to say that Pierre was a natural at sales was an understatement, because, connecting with people, caring about people and putting a smile on their faces, was what he did– all day, every day, at work and everywhere else.
Pete’s ability to connect to so many different people, on so many levels, was reflected in the diversity of his passions.Many people remember Pete for his office called “The Motor Pool” where he harbored and tinkered with hisimpressive collections of World War II vintage military vehicles or vintage MGs from the 1930s and 40’s—he had a fridge with cold beer and a woodstove for shooting the bull. It became the unofficial clubhouse –a place to stop by at the end of a work day, share stories, discuss the latest news, and soothe life’s ups and downs with the remedy of laughter.
Those who knew Pete well also knew the diversity of his interests. He truly loved learning, and his never-ending curiosity developed lifelong passions, like his watercolor painting and cartooning. But he didn’t stop there. He was the ultimate collector and dabbler, from woodcarving, to ham radios, to clocks, to photography, even a brief stint at rug hooking! Whatever the opportunity, he knew it would at least make for a good story.
Pete was a passionate booster of his community. When the NFL announced that they were moving a franchise to Kansas City in the late 60’s Pete became a member of the first ever class of Chief’s Red Coaters, selling season tickets for the franchise in hopes that the idea of NFL football would catch on in the city. He loved Kansas City sports, listening to Royals games on the radio, as he nodded on summer evenings. He also loved taking in its museumsand festivals.
Trying to describe Pete with words will never do him justice. He was kind and generous, and gentlemanly beyond words. He was a gracious host (the best “charcoaled” burgers in the world), a masterful storyteller, and a hearty listener. He was funny and so darned fun. And in being so, he was blessed with a large and wildly diverse group of friends.
But with all the friends and interests, nothing was more at the core of his heart than being with the family he and Peggy created together. The two of them were masterful partners. Their life together was blessed with joys they truly appreciated. He and Peggy have five children, 17grandchildren, and 11 great grandchildren. Pete-Dad-PaPawas forever telling his family how much he loved them, how proud he was of them, and how much he loved beingwith them and watching them grow. For 50 years he began each day with early morning Mass. He prayed with gratitude for his blessings, and would frequently ask Peggy: “How are we so lucky?”
Above the stove in the kitchen at their home is a plaque: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning to dance in the rain.”
The last decade of his life was met with the challenge of dealing with Parkinson’s disease. But even as the disease took its toll, it never took away his grace or dignity—thanks to his lifelong dance partner who was always in step and intuitively sensed when to take the lead.
Pete was preceded in death by his parents, Emile and Helen Guignon, Brother Emile, Grandson Spencer Wood and nephew Emile Guignon IV and his mother-in-law Elizabeth Hogan.
He is survived by his loving wife, Peggy Hogan Guignon, and five children, Nanette Maxwell (Bob), Denise Slabotsky (Scott) Pete Guignon Jr. (Kate) Aimee Larrabee (Mark) and John Guignon (Jerri) and grandchildren Chris Maxwell (Ashley), Jimmy Maxwell (Courtney), Kevin Maxwell (Joy), Stephen Maxwell (Lindsay), Marianne Justus (Matthew), Stephanie Languis (Matt), PJ Guignon III, Ross Guignon, Grace Guignon, Kate Larrabee, Tim Larrabee, Margaux Guignon, Lucy Guignon, Genevieve Guignon, Gabrielle Guignon and Kyle Guignon; and great-grandchildren Mia, Charlie, Harper Molly, Beaux , Elizabeth, Luke, Reece and Wyatt Maxwell, Estelle and Simone Justus. As well as numerous nieces and nephews and two sisters in law, Joan Quinly
and Gloria Guignon, and many nieces and nephews.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 5:00 pm Wednesday, June 22 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church at 1001 East 52nd St (52nd and Troost), Kansas City. MO.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to National Parkinson’s Foundation Heartland, 8900 State Line Rd, Ste 320 Leawood, KS 66206, who were so helpful to Pete and Peggy throughout his illness. Assistance by Funeral Advocates, LLC.
John and Family…The world will miss your dad. We knew him only as John’s dad and and Jimmy’s grandfather. Regardless, the Unruhs mourn with you as you undertake the sadness of losing husband, father, grandfather, uncle. The Miege Community has lost a huge booster and the family a huge role model. Blessings on all of you as you mourn!
Nan and family, I am so sorry for your loss, but so happy for a life well lived. Praying that God graces you with peace.
Sending prayers for peace and acceptance to all the family.
Many happy memories of the Guignon family on 68th Street. watching the adults sit around the table and roll change. And getting to ride in the back of the jeep.
Blessings to all the Guignons.
Aimee and family – What a wonderful obituary – describes him and his joyful life in a way that really does it justice. He lives on in all of you everyday! Thoughts & Prayers – XOXO
Peggy, I remember our first trip to Vienna, Austria with you and Pete 51 years ago. Do you remember us? Sonny, Judy Miller, Joe Miller and his wife, Frances Thompson, my mom Hildred,etc? As I remember you and Pete missed the international flight because you were still having laughs in the airport bar as you saw our plane ascending in the sky. Remember “Yellow bird” and the “Lion sleeps tonight” played on the steel drums after you and Pete reconnected with us? I am so sorry to hear Pete died but can see what a gift of God he was to everyone whose life he touched. Sonny passed away in 2009. I have since remarried to another wonderful man, Van Chappell. My phone number is 913 645-7942. Love to your family, Judy Miller-Chappell
Beautiful words for a beautiful man! Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
What beautiful words for an obviously very loved man. Wish I had had the privilege of knowing him.
Without a doubt…the Best! Peace and Love for all of us!
Such a lovely rememberance of a lovely man. I wish I had grown up closer to have been able to enjoy more of his life. Prayers and love to the whole family.
I as well remember our trip to Europe, where you and Pete enjoyed your cold beverage and we flew off to Europe. You did manage to catch us for the international flight. I also remember many a cold beer at the motor pool. Pete brought cheer to everyone he met, and he will be missed. My prayers go out to you and your family.
Peggy and Family: What great memories. As a newly ordained priest, having Nan and Bob’s wedding was memorable. I remember going on the family vacation to Crested Butte. Pete was so much fun as were all of you. Please know of my prayers down here at St. Bridget’s in Pleasant Hill.
Monsignor Bob Murphy
My deepest sympathy to the wonderful family of this wonderful gentleman. My condolences & hugs were intended to be there.