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Published: Sunday, 3/6/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Mail carrier led school board, Petersburg Lions

Ronald C. Petee, 1933-2011

BY JC REINDL
BLADE STAFF WRITER

PETERSBURG, Mich. -- Ronald C. Petee, a long-serving member of the Summerfield School Board in western Monroe County and a past president of the Petersburg Lions Club, died Wednesday at Flower Hospital in Sylvania.

He was 78 and was injured that morning in an auto collision on Ida West Road.

Born in Toledo, Mr. Petee moved with his family to Petersburg as a boy and lived in the city for nearly all of his adult life.

For 30 years, he carried mail for the U.S. Post Office in Petersburg.

And he served nearly 20 years on the local school board.

Well-liked in the community, Mr. Petee won election to multiple terms and was school board president when he left the board in 2000.

"He was a very good school board member, and all the members had a good relationship," said Petersburg City Councilman Larry Schadewald, who sat on the Summerfield Board of Education during Mr. Petee's terms.

A stepson, Ron Wells, said Mr. Petee ran for school board because he wanted to give back to the community.

"Education was important to him, and he felt it was his way of contributing and serving," Mr. Wells said.

In addition to leading the Lions Club, Mr. Petee helped operate its concessions stands during high school football games and area fairs, including Petersburg Day and the Clinton Fall Festival, his son Kyle Petee recalled.

Mr. Petee coached softball and Little League baseball during the late 1970s and into the 1980s when his children played.

"He always looked for ways to help the community as best he could," his son said.

Mr. Petee was a founding member of the "Choo Choo Club," an informal association of about a dozen Petersburg-area families who camped together.

The families traveled across Michigan and northwest Ohio, once as far as Tennessee.

"Everyone brought their campers and everyone brought their kids," his stepson recalled. "We would play crazy games and sit at the campfire and tell stories."

Mr. Petee was born in 1933, the youngest of three children. His father, Chester Petee, was a farmer and millwright.

The family moved to Petersburg when young Ronald was 9.

He graduated from Summerfield High School in 1951 and worked as a press-punch operator for the Revco Co. of Deerfield, Mich., before being drafted into the Army in 1953 during the Korean War.

He was stationed in Austria about the time of the cease-fire.

Mr. Petee returned to Petersburg and later opened a downtown doughnut shop.

He took a job with the post office after a fire destroyed the business in about 1963.

The following year, he married the former Barbara Buku.

Following a divorce, Mr. Petee in 1987 married the former Carol Brewer.

Surviving are his wife, Carol; sons, Kyle, Rhys, and Reed; stepson, Ron Wells; daughters and stepdaughters, Kit Barbara Lofgren, Jacqueline Leyden, Laurie Hochrein, Katherine Isaacson, Nancy Zebrow- ski, and Wendy Dorset; sisters, Doris Heiden and Roberta Reau, and 18 grandchildren.

Visitation is from noon to 9 p.m. Monday at the Capaul Funeral Home in Ida, Mich. The funeral is at 11 a.m. Tuesday in St. Alphonsus Church, Deerfield, Mich.

The family suggests tributes to the Petersburg Lions Club.

Contact JC Reindl at: jcreindl@theblade.com or 419-724-6065.



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