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.