Friday evening I attended a memorial service for Peter Waltz, one of the owners featured in my book, Flavors of Life. Peter passed away on September 15, 2016. When I called Peter’s husband, Blaine, to check-in and see how Peter was doing, I heard the words no one wants to hear: “he passed away.”
Peter had been courageously battling cancer for the last two-plus years. I know he is now at peace and free from pain, but it is incredibly sad when someone is taken from this world at such a young age. 44 years young. He still had so many memories to make. My heart goes out to Blaine and Peter’s family; my sincerest condolences.
About three years ago, I met Peter when I was conducting interviews for my book. To be honest, I don’t even remember how I found their restaurant, Seasons. It was probably on my radar because their restaurant is so highly rated, and Blaine is originally from the United States. I was looking for diverse backgrounds and heritage. I actually talked with Peter first. I remember approaching them to see if they’d like to be interviewed. Both Blaine and Peter loved the idea. On that first day I met with Blaine, he told me the highlights of their life story in 20 minutes. At that moment, I knew I wanted to know more.
While I was working on the book, we spent hours together, recounting childhood memories, world travels, and relationship dynamics, among other topics. I watched them interact. Peter was the yin to Blaine’s yang. They complemented each other perfectly. We combed over old photographs, too, re-living special moments together. I remember sitting in their house, browsing for photos to publish in the book and just chatting away, sharing stories.
I didn’t know Peter that long, but I felt like we knew each other forever. I had this special connection with Peter and Blaine. By happenstance, they were actually the very first restaurant to see the book after it was printed. They presented me with this beautiful bouquet of flowers, one so large that I felt like a lumberjack biking home, with an ax made of flowers slung over my shoulder.
I feel so incredibly honored I was able to tell Peter and Blaine’s story. I consider myself lucky to have met this kind and caring man. Peter touched so many lives, in countless ways, and he has impacted mine, as well. I am forever changed because I knew him. I heard many beautiful stories at the memorial on Friday. He was just there for everyone, always, taking care of you when you needed him most. He brought people together. He was happy being the host. He loved making people smile, and that’s what he did.
Thank you, Peter, for reminding me everyday to be kind, patient, and live life to the fullest. Peter, you will always be remembered, and you will always be with us. Rest in peace.
Words shared at the memorial on Friday:
It was what it was and it was great!
Your love, your strength, your humor,
your laugh and with deep respect for
the courageous battle
that you fought in order to stay with us…
We will miss you,
but smile brighter because we knew you
All photos in this post courtesy of Blaine Hamrick and Peter Waltz.