Peter Zuidmeer, 97, of Everson, died on May 13, 2018 in Bellingham, Washington.
Peter was born on April 6, 1921 in the family home of the corner of Pine and North 8th Streets in Lynden. He was the fifth child and first son of Willem M. and Adriana C. (Oversloot) Zuidmeer. Although sickly as a baby, he grew up to be a strong, handsome athlete. He attended Lynden Christian School through the eighth grade, then Lynden High School. Peter was an athlete, excelling particularly at track. He set a record for the 440 that stood for more than 30 years. When he was a junior, he noticed sophomore Bernita (always called Bunny) Muenscher and she noticed him noticing. He asked her out and a romance was born that lasted more than eight decades. Peter graduated in 1940 and was awarded a track scholarship to Washington State College. After a year he decided that college was not for him and returned to Lynden, finding work at the pulp mill.
In 1942 Peter enlisted in the United States Navy, serving aboard the USS Card and the USS San Jacinto. He was a plank owner on both ships. Peter was honorably discharged in 1945 and came back to Lynden and Bunny, now a teacher. They were married June 8, 1946.They bought a house in Bellingham and in 1947 their daughter Jane was born. Wanting to be his own boss, Peter and Bunny bought a dairy farm on the Hannegan in 1949. Bunny got a job teaching at nearby Meridian High School. In 1959 their son Bill was born and the family was complete. A new adventure opened up in 1962. Bunny’s sister and brother-in-law had a Montana franchise for Shakey’s Pizza and offered Peter a stake in it. The family moved to Great Falls in 1963. They opened a second Shakey’s in Missoula in 1965 and moved there. Missoula was good for them. Bunny got a teaching job and Peter ran the pizza business until 1984. Upon retirement, they moved back to Whatcom County, eventually moving onto the Muenscher farm, Bunny’s childhood home. They lived there until 2017 when they moved to Orchard Park Assisted Living facility.
Peter and Bunny loved to travel in the United States and attended many navy reunions across the country. Peter enjoyed military history, particularly the World War II era. Family was very important to him and he loved and supported his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Peter was a proud, iron-willed, fastidious, fiercely independent man. His bark was much worse than his bite, as all his family knew. He always had your back.
Peter was predeceased by six sisters, one brother, three brothers-in-law, two nieces and his beloved granddaughters Catherine and Chelsea. He is survived by his wife of nearly 72 years, Bunny, daughter Jane (Verne) Christianson, son Bill (Denise) Zuidmeer, grandchildren Jennifer, Samantha and Peter, great-grandchildren David, Emily, Kennedy and Robert, as well as several nieces, nephews and in-laws.
Services will be held at St. John’s Lutheran Church at 1:00 on Friday, May 25, 2018. Private family interment will precede the service at 11:00 at Ten Mile Cemetery. Donations may be made in Peter’s honor to the Muenscher Family Scholarship Fund, St. John’s Lutheran Church.