Peter Secchia, Confidant of Ford and Bush, Dies at 83

This obituary is a part of a collection about individuals who have died within the coronavirus pandemic. Examine others here.

Peter Secchia hardly ever boasted about his success, however he usually marveled at it.

At 25, he went to work as a salesman for a lumber firm that grossed $1 million yearly. He finally labored his method as much as chief government and reworked it into a world conglomerate, with annual gross sales of $1.6 billion by the point he retired in 2002.

Buoyed by his monetary success, he emerged as a serious donor to his alma mater, Michigan State College, and a civic chief and philanthropist in Grand Rapids, his adopted hometown, and adjoining Western Michigan.

As a distinguished Republican contributor and fund-raiser, Mr. Secchia (pronounced SUCK-ee-uh) additionally turned a confidant of two presidents.

Underneath Gerald R. Ford, he delivered homespun Midwestern recommendation as a self-described “chubby, chunky lumber salesman from Grand Rapids carrying denims and a flannel shirt on the White Home.” Underneath George H.W. Bush, he served as ambassador to Italy and San Marino from 1989 to 1993.

When he returned to america, he turned chairman of his firm, Common Forest Merchandise. In 2002, he took the title of chairman of the board of trustees of what’s now generally known as UFP Industries.

He had been coping with a number of well being points and was receiving nursing care at residence when he contracted Covid-19. He died on Oct. 21 at his residence in Grand Rapids, a household spokeswoman stated. He was 83.

His spouse was subsequently hospitalized with the illness, however was stated to be recovering.

Mr. Secchia was solely in his 20s when he met Mr. Ford, who was campaigning for re-election to his Grand Rapids congressional seat. Mr. Secchia was elected chairman of the Kent County Republican Committee and have become a serious fund-raiser for state and native candidates and for the presidential campaigns of Bob Dole, George W. Bush and Jeb Bush, the previous governor of Florida.

In an interview with the Gerald R. Ford Foundation in 2008, Mr. Secchia recalled Mr. Ford’s prescience throughout a candid dialog within the White Home shortly after he had pardoned former President Richard M. Nixon.

“I needed to do it, and it’ll value me the ’76 election, however I needed to do it,” Mr. Secchia quoted Mr. Ford as saying.

Peter Finley Secchia was born on April 15, 1937, in Englewood, N.J., the son of Cesare Secchia, a bookkeeper for a automotive dealership who was generally known as Charlie, and Valerie (Smith) Secchia. He was raised in close by Demarest.

After graduating from Tenafly Excessive College, he enrolled at Michigan State College. However he dropped out when working half time didn’t cowl his bills and enlisted within the Marines. He served in Beirut, then returned to the college and graduated in 1963 with a level in economics. (He and his spouse would donate thousands and thousands of {dollars} to ascertain the headquarters of the College of Human Medicine in Grand Rapids.)

In 1962 he joined Common Forest Merchandise as a salesman. He purchased management of the corporate in 1971 and served as chief government till 1989.

Mr. Secchia, who additionally invested in shops and eating places, was “generally known as a lot for his irascible methods as for his generosity, humor and disdain for political correctness,” the corporate stated in an announcement after his demise.

Along with his spouse, Joan (Peterson) Secchia, whom he married in 1964, he’s survived by two daughters, Stephanie Oehler and Sandy Aslanian; two sons, Charlie and Mark; 11 grandchildren; and a sister, Gail Secchia.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *