We are gathered here today to say goodbye to Klaus Peter Groeger, known as Pete to those of us
who knew him well. He was my uncle, my mentor, my friend and an inspiration. I would like to say
a few words about him today as representative of his family.
I was blessed with the most amazing uncle anyone could imagine. He was caring, supportive and
always encourage me to give my best regardless of the outcome. I have been lucky to have him in
my life, as he has taught me a lot. My uncle loved me; I can say that for sure. However, his
blessings weren’t restricted to me – they extended to each member of our family. Though it would
be impossible to describe his larger than life persona in a few words, I do feel the need to try and
say something about him that I and our family will cherish for the rest of of life.
Klaus Peter Groeger was born in 1935 as the first and only son of the married couple Johann
Groeger and Anna Groeger, in Bremerhaven, Germany. He was also joined by his sisters Barbara
Since early childhood years he always looked out at the sea and the ships. In 1955 he travelled to
the USA on the MS Berlin. His father Johann Groeger was also on board, he worked there as a
steward. Probably therefore I have my Hospitality Gen.
Since his mother had worked in Bremerhaven for a family stationed there by the Army as a
babysitter and had built up a family relationship, it was also this family, the Piers family, who had
vouched for Pete. This family lived in Seattle, Washington and so it was his first stop in the United
To learn the language and earn money, he then worked in the steel mill for two years. Especially
often in the night shifts, because he got 5 cents more per hour. Even then, his business sense
showed already, because if he earned $10, he somehow managed to end up with $20 in his bank
account. Being frugal and not rewarding himself much made him what he was in life.
But Pete wanted more, he wanted to become a US citizen and for that he went to Fort Lauderdale
to join the paratroopers. A bond with the troops characterized him until his death.
At the end of his time in Florida, he moved to NYC, where he met Mario Piazzolla during a walk. An
encounter that would change his life forever. In Mario, Pete had met a "partner in crime" a
"soulmate", the friend that everyone seeks and yet finds difficult to find.
Together they set out to find happiness in Brooklyn. At first they wanted to rent an apartment at
874 President Street, until Joe Bearman told them, why do you want to rent, buy the house. With
that decision to buy 874 President Street together in 1962, they laid the foundation for their unique
entrepreneurial and successful careers. Since he loved building and constructing, it didn’t take him
long to create his first family home, with closets every where. He was always saying „you can’t
have enough closets to put your stuff away“.
As a businessman and person, Pete was respected by everyone, He was a true gentleman in every
way to many.
But his great love was the sea and so, despite entrepreneurial success, Pete went out to sail once
again now with the merchant navy.
It was then at the end of the 60s, when Pete and Mario found their second home in Mehoopany,
and there met Frank and Karren Gates. Frank and Karren Gates, again an encounter that changed
the lives of Pete and Mario. It became a deep-rooted friendship and with the Gates Family Pete, as
well as Mario had faithful and reliable companions until the last day.
In Mehoopany it was also the love of hunting that he discovered for himself and since dogs were
needed for hunting, Senta with daughter Papanuscho, called Nuscho, Rainbow and Nina came
into his life. All of them were dogs that enriched his life and until his old age he had doubts
whether he would get dogs again.
But Brooklyn and the woods in Mehoopany were not on the water and Pete missed the water.
Then, during the '90s, he and Mario came to Maine and bought a house there.
During those years Pete lived the life with Mario. What better way to describe that than his favorite
Al Martino song "Come share the wine". The song they always listened to together when they
arrived in Maine and stopped at their restaurant just to drink wine.
Also, many friends and family came to visit. His nice Cornelia as well as his sister Barbara and her
husband where happy to be his guest and enjoyed his hospitality. Pete liked to host everyone he
liked, especially liked to cook Italian cuisine and then eat with everyone at his big tables and talk
until late at night. Again and again the song played.
In 2002 Mario died, a great loss for Pete. Fortunately, exactly in this period then his sister Renate
went into early retirement to spend half of the year always with her brother. A more than
harmonious relationship and especially the time spent together during European and World Soccer
Championships with lots of Lobster Rolls from Rets Eats and Donuts from Dunkin Donuts, were
unique highlights in the life of the two siblings. Even though it was his greatest wish to spend time
alone with his two sisters once again, this wish was unfortunately not granted to him.
I have a ton of sweet memories about him, and I could go on telling his tales for days. But I know
that would only cover an ounce of his life and it would still be an imperfect explanation of
someone I and the whole family loved so much.
I know that even though he’s gone, he is still there with us, in the leaves of the trees surrounding
his Mehoopany Home with the cosiness of the coal stove, in the waves of the ocean at his beloved
residence in East-Boothbay Maine and in 874 President Street, that also continues to be owned by
the family to uphold the memory of this extraordinary man and his special career and life. It was his
Brooklyn Home, where I saw him last, spending Christmas 2019 together with him and his sister
Renate, my aunt, after a core renovation of the building, which he loved and was so proud of. I am
grateful for the chance and that he could see what came out of it, but especially for the amazing
time we have spend together those days.
Uncle Klaus, I will keep your memory alive and will fulfill your last wish, just as I promised you so
many times. I will miss you so bad and especially our late night calls, with all the valuable
experiences sharing we had. And I hope to live life the best I can, following your principles and
teachings that will be treasured by many generations in our family to come, especially and starting
with my son and your grand nephew Ben.
Thank you all for attending and taking the time to pay your condolences to our beloved departed
May he rest in peace.