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West Michigan leaders react to the passing of Peter Secchia


An outpouring of love and support for Peter Secchia continued Wednesday, after the news broke that the longtime businessman and philanthropist had passed away at his home earlier in the morning. 

Peter Secchia was 83. 

United States Representative Bill Huizenga, who represents Michigan's 2nd Congressional District issued this statement:

"Peter Secchia loved his family, his country, and his community. From his time in the Marine Corps to being our nation’s Ambassador to Italy, Peter served our country with distinction.

Here in West Michigan, his impact has been enormous. Peter turned a small business into a successful company, played a critical role in securing Michigan State’s Medical School in Grand Rapids, and led the effort to restore and renew the natural beauty of West Michigan through the creation of Millennium Park and the Kent County Parks Foundation.

Through it all, Peter will be remembered not only for his giving but his ability to encourage and help others give back to our community. His philanthropic endeavors and those he inspired have made West Michigan a better place to live, work, and raise a family. I will miss his “smiley face” notes and memos as well as the occasional I’m not happy “frowny face.“ One thing is for sure, you always knew where you stood with Peter Secchia.

Natalie and I join the countless number of people who hold Joan and the entire Secchia family in our prayers. May you have peace knowing Peter lived a life that made West Michigan an even greater place to call home." 

Meanwhile, The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation issued this statement: 

We are deeply saddened by the loss of our great friend, Peter Secchia, and our hearts and prayers go out to Joan and their four children—Stephanie, Sandy, Charlie, and Mark. What a remarkable legacy Peter leaves behind. Whether he’s remembered as an entrepreneur rebuilding Grand Rapids, or as a philanthropist making life better for the people of Michigan, or as a counselor having the President’s ear, or as an ambassador bridging connections to Italy, Peter made things happen. He was bigger than life. Everything he did, he did with gusto. Just look at how he was devoted to his family, generous to his friends, fierce in his beliefs, and unwavering in his support for the causes he held dear.

Peter and our dad first met back in 1964, during one of our dad’s congressional campaigns, and it seems he’s been part of our family ever since. Dad and Mom treasured his playful sense of humor, good counsel, and abiding friendship; also the good-natured rivalry between a Spartan and a Wolverine. Our family will miss Peter. We will remember his generous spirit and be inspired by his determination to make everything he touched better than he found it.

Thank you, Peter, for letting us share in your wonderful life and journey.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.

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