His wisdom in applying knowledge, his ability to analyze things from a different perspective, and his ability to affect and cause change are just a few of the ways people in the community describe Peter Peitz. In his lifetime, Peter lived, learned and worked in four countries. Today, as an 82-year-old businessman, banker, philanthropist and bicyclist, he shares how America helped his dreams to come true and tells of the hazards along the way. Don’t miss this episode as host Thane Marcus Ringler talks with his grandfather about his 50 years in Cotter, Arkansas. As they dive into looking inward versus outward, they also take a look at why it’s important to be silent and still. They also differentiate bending versus breaking as well as fear versus love. Furthermore, Peter shares some tips on viewing risks properly, and his views on the dangers of success, the importance of commitment, employee as partners and associates, and much more!
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Peter Peitz (rd. 2): Wisdom In Applying Knowledge: Assorted Cliff-Notes And Stories On Living A Good Life
This is a show all about learning how to live a good life. We believe that the best way to learn how to live a good life is by having intention in the tension. That is our mantra and that is what we’re trying to do is live with intentionality each and every day in the messy middle of the dance of life. Thanks for reading and joining our community and The Up And Comers movement. It’s great to have you. If you wanted to support us, we would appreciate it and be so grateful to you. The easiest is leaving us a rating interview on iTunes. You can drop a five-star review if you want and maybe a comment that helps us get seen by more people. Another great way is passing an episode along to a few friends and sharing something that you think would be helpful to them. If you want to support us financially, we are on Patreon and you can support us monthly there. If you have a business that would like to partner with our show, definitely reach out TheUpAndComersShow@Gmail.com. We would love to hear about that opportunity. You can follow us on the socials, @UpAndComersShow.
I am so excited to share this interview with you. It is the first repeat guest we’ve ever had and I can’t think of a more fitting repeat guest than Peter Peitz. Who is Peter Peitz? As a boy, Peter grew up during the second World War in Munich, Germany. In his lifetime, he lived, learned and worked in four different countries. As an 82-year-old businessman, banker, philanthropist and bicyclist, he shares how America helped his dreams to come true and tells of the hazards along the way. Peter lives in Cotter, Arkansas with his wife, Jan. More importantly to me, Peter is my grandfather. I have felt so blessed to have him in my life and I’ve benefited so much from his wisdom, input, love and care on my own. I am honored that I get to share a piece of that with you. This isn’t something he’s too keen of. The fact that he was able to come on and share a little bit of his life with me and with you was such an honor and I don’t take that lightly. I hope you won’t either.
When I do background research of people that know them, here are a few ways that he was described by people in his community. In a few words, when they’re asked to describe Peter, here’s some of the words they said. “Inspiring, impactful, no-nonsense, empathy, integrity, loyalty, socio-economic, very good economically and very good socially.” Finally, one said, “My hero.” When asked what his superpower was, one of the ones was his ability to affect change and cause change, whether in the life of an individual or in the life of a business. Another said his ability to analyze things from a different perspective than anyone else. Another said that he can look at a scenario in business and tell you in a very short time if you’ll make a profit.
Another said, “It was his wisdom to apply knowledge. He is definitely one of the most interesting people you’ll ever meet in your life. He puts so much intention and care into everything that he does,” which includes this interview. The amount of prep that he did and thinking through topics, meditating, studying and preparing himself for sharing some thoughts that he thought would be helpful was above and beyond what anyone else has done. It was a joy to do that with him. I feel so blessed to have him as a grandfather and I am grateful to share a piece of that.
Grandpa Peter Peitz, welcome.
Thank you very much. I’m glad to be here.
This is round two. This is not your first rodeo. You’ve been in the saddle before.
If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t do it.
I feel honored to have you here. One of the occasions that has brought us back together in the lovely, beautiful home in Cotter, Arkansas, is an 80th birthday celebration for Grandma Jan. What brought me to Cotter a few years ago for the first recording was actually your 80th birthday celebration. It’s a pretty neat parallel there.
It was fun then. With her, we had to upscale that a goodly number of times lasting from Friday, Saturday and half-day Sunday.
We had to go big. We went pretty hard for years, but you just had to go to another level. First off, one of the things that I heard you mentioned that I hadn’t heard before during the time with our family celebrating her 80th was three core agreements between you and grandma in your marriage. I’d love for you to share that because I hadn’t heard that before and I’d love to know them again.
As time changes for us and as we are getting older, it’s important to have a motto for us that we talk about daily. The first one is that it’s opposed to talking about long-range and what all is to be done, that we are concentrating on living the experience of the day, focusing on the day. Part two is that we live joyfully. We have a choice every day as to how we’re doing, how we operate. The glass is half full or half empty. As you have little aches and pains as you get older, you have a tendency to say, “I wish I could. It was used to be so much better.” We don’t believe that. We simply say joyfully, whatever it is. The last and the most difficult for us is to live more gently primarily towards ourselves whereby, instead of being hard on ourselves with all the list of the days and what we need to accomplish, who we need to see, who we need to invite and all of this, that all of it becomes a little bit more moderate and more gently living, which is more appropriate for our day and age.
It’s beautiful and something that I aspire towards in many ways. Even having the intentionality of coming together and making some mantras or mottos to live, especially with your partner. It’s such a clarifying thing. I need it for myself. With two people, I can imagine being that important and the living gently one. I know we were talking about that, I can see that being such a challenging thing regardless of the season that you’re in. Something that we did wasn’t so gentle. I don’t think many people get the chance to say that they went and worked out with their grandfather in the gym. I had all the motivation I needed because I didn’t want to be shown up by my grandfather.
I think that was a special experience, to see my grandfather putting up the weight that he did. One-hundred and fifty pounds and that was his fifth set, is something that I’m extremely proud of. It was quite remarkable to watch. Not so gentle, but goes with the course. That helps you live a gentle life. One of the other things I love about being here with you is there’s a story behind everything. Every time I’m with you, I hear a new story and there’s so much of your life to share, especially with living so many years. I love the intention behind everything you do, but also everything that’s part of your life. I was curious in talking about some of those memories and some of the pieces of art in the different parts of your home you have. I was curious if you have one in particular, a favorite object or a favorite painting or thing that you have at home that is the most poignant memory that comes to mind every time you see it or serves a special role. I know they all do, but if there’s any that you had to highlight, if there’s one that came to mind, I’d love to know it.
It’s a goodly number of them because I built the home and I’ve lived here and we have lived here for 50 years. We intentionally wanted to create a home that is truly representing us. Most people used to move every four or five, six years. I read in the journal that it’s thirteen as of late, which is better. The point is if you intend to stay somewhere permanently, you’re much more willing to make investments into the house, into the circumstances, into the paintings, into the various components that you say have been very carefully selected. Most of them represent a portion of my life. The one I like that is the most stunning and the one that is on my mind is in my study. I see it daily. I have a painting that has got a gold that was produced in the Soviet Union. It has a 200-year-old gold frame around it. Around that, a 400-year-old wooden frame that I put together because what I only got was the painting itself. I was doing consulting work in the city of St. Petersburg for the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, or very shortly thereafter. It was terrible poverty. The people were unemployed and the system had broken down. My job was to help a group to close the newly-formed police departments of Siberia that had never been the police department, the KGB, as well as the military, took care of all of those duties.
Now, that was no longer functioning, they’re needed to be a creation of normal police systems and there were all specialists and I was the man in charge of the textiles. I had the chance to look at some paintings and one in particular I thought I absolutely have to have, it is the face of an elderly man that has tremendous expression, depth in the eyes, wisdom and expresses a sense of completeness that I thought that I wanted that. Especially once I learned that it was painted by the general in charge of the ballistic missile system of the Soviet Union, then I was carried away. That someone who was officially the man in-charge of the destruction of the United States, to have that depth and skill to paint was an indication to me that was overwhelming. I brought that home and it is hanging in my study.Being made in the image of God means that we are permanent, that we are eternal, and that life keeps going even when we die. Click To Tweet
About several years later, as I was showing it to you and telling the history and the background. The man I was telling it to says, “Peter, when I was in the service in the CIA, I was in-charge of the destruction of St. Petersburg, where you came from. I had five ways of the atomic destruction through waves and through explosions.” I ended up here in the little town of Cotter, having the blending of two people that had the extreme power to be destructive in a place that is the very place where I was. In the United States, the final decision to make a nuclear attack is by the president. In Russia, it is the general in-charge. The reason I got that is because the military had not been paid for over a year, and that was a way for him to try to earn a living.
I love that story. Knowing it is remarkable. It is a beautiful painting. When you speak of depth, I know we had talked a little bit about this before. I think you mentioned it beautifully that there are three components of human beings and how we put our focus on different parts. A lot of times, we can emphasize the detriment to the others. I’d love to know a little bit of your perspective, it could be within those three components of human beings or it could be elsewhere, but where that depth comes from and how it can be helpful.
First of all, one should know that when I came to this little gathering, as I was on the way in, I normally do talk to my partner, the Holy Spirit and say, “We’ve got a job to do here. Be sure to guide and counsel me. At the same time, let me act so that we can bring the human part and the godly part in a way that it ought to be.” Previously, I shared why I have chosen through extensive periods in foreign countries of being totally alone, taking up on what the Bible offers in the Holy Spirit, a counselor or somebody that advises, somebody that works with you, somebody that helps you. I badly needed that help. Ever since then, he is my partner in daily life and the decisions that need to be made. That is very helpful to me because I know that I then am acting within the Christian frame that I want to act.
As to the components of the human being, we have three parts fundamentally. One is the body and the other one is the mind and the third one is the soul, also called the spirit, also called the psyche. When we read who we are as people in this world, we were told that we were made in the image of God. Being made in the image of God means that we are permanent, that we are eternal, that life keeps going but we also know that we die. It is the body that we step out of after our life on this Earth and with it also the mind and they’re gone. The portion that survives and is eternal is the soul.
Over the years, humans focused more and more on that which is immediately visible and also helpful, which is the body and the mind. We train it, we feed it, we care for it, and we do more than everything to have this body in perfect condition. From the water we drink to the pills that we take, to the health exercises that we do, it’s always the body. In another portion is the development of the mind. When in reality, this is the shortest part, which is the most important, our development of the soul so that we can eventually in our journey to God to return to him closer than we were when we started, somehow gets lost because it isn’t obvious and it takes a lifetime to do.
At the age that Jan and I am, it is important for us that we see that our journey to God is getting more developed so that we do the things that we are prepared for what’s important. That is easier than in the second half of one’s life than in the first. Because in the first half, there is so much that needs to be accomplished in terms of the basics of Maslow’s triangle and five stages. Initially, there needs to be the food, the clothing and the shelter for ourselves. Eventually that for the children, wife, family and education. When we get to middle age, we need to start shifting over into focusing on what’s important in life because the essentials hopefully have been taken care of, yet a good portion of humanity never gets there. That means they never get in Maslow’s self-actualization level because the lower levels aren’t completed to a degree that they can step up to that. Jan and I are exceedingly grateful that we can.
What gets in the way? It’s completing versus not completing some of the levels you mentioned, but what would you say are some of the other components or factors that maybe stand in the way of moving into more of the soul work?
It has been known for a millennia that very few things, if anything, is it’s valuable to self-development as silence. We do anything and everything to prevent silence because we don’t want to look inside. We just want to float on the surface and bubble, so that it doesn’t reach down. It takes courage and with the courage of looking inward, not for self-proclamation, but to see who we are and the talents that we have given, and to what degree we use them and what risks we are taking to use them. That is generally where the approach-avoidance comes from and that one needs to overcome. If you do, the amount of joy, peace and steadiness that comes from it is what life is all about.
When did that start becoming a consistent part of your life?
When I grew up as a boy in Germany, we were six children and my parents were long-term businessmen for generations. They had lost everything and had rebuilt and then finally lost again in the second World War. My parents were convinced that their children need to be somewhere other than Germany because there was a huge threat of the Soviet Union dominating and overrunning Europe, which would then have made it the most powerful entity on this world. That’s why the US stationed 350,000 soldiers there to prevent that and make sure that it doesn’t happen. The point is, in a very young age, I was less than eighteen years old, I had finished high school and my father forced me to learn a trade as he did all of our children. We were not allowed to study until we had learned a trade. There was a good reason for that. There were six million to seven million people that were mostly educated. They’d lost their lives after the World War II was over. They lost it to starvation. Their services weren’t required.
If you were a plumber or had a farm, you had something to trade, a service to give. If you were an attorney, you had absolutely no business at all and the results were disastrous. I became a tailor. My parents said, “You need to be out in the world and earn a living with that and also earn yourself an education.” I did. To give you the core of it, I was eighteen and I got a letter from my father that was written in French. I didn’t speak French. I had Latin and I had Greek, but I didn’t have French. He said, “You need to go to Western Switzerland. I’ll give you a one-way railroad ticket and you find yourself a job. Since you don’t know what to say or how to speak, this letter introduces you, what your skills are, your education and find your way.”
He would always underline it in the end and say, “Peter, the way things are here in Germany and the way it has been, you will either bend or you will break.” Out of that, then came a very soon extended period of solitude. I couldn’t communicate. I didn’t speak the language. I had to work and I had to try and learn. At the same time, I had lots of time to look inward and look as to what life needs to be all about and what things are like in other countries. That’s when all of that started to say who am I and what’s important?
It’s the fundamental question. Even my own journey, I feel like the professional golf years were definitely a piece of that for me and having to go out. It was almost a Lone Ranger-type experience of trying to find a way in a much different scenario than yours, but similar components in being alone a lot and sitting with yourself and trying to figure out what you believe. I love that perspective. I love what you brought up too about your father, either you bend or you break. It’s interesting thinking. There’s a blog post that I haven’t written yet, but on the concept of healthy opposition, it is when you can bend but not be broken. Sometimes it seems like we don’t have a choice in that. How do you think about that even in either people that work for you or that have worked with you in the past as a leader or as a manager of people and running a company? Do you have any thoughts on healthy opposition on that concept of bending but not breaking as you’ve experienced it?
One that is faced by every corporate leader and also in many other ways. I stayed with corporate leaders is the harshness that you need to present and be when it comes to the achievement of the organizations they have to achieve. At the same time, the kindness and warmness to allow them, and to promote them to grow and to become more than what they were. I like it to maybe a football coach who is tough as nails, but at the same time has nothing but the very best of interest of the players and needs the best of interest of other players for them to be successful. It’s a routine almost every day, playing back and forth in the contrast between caring for and demanding for achievement.
There’s one thing that even just in talking to background references and context is so beautiful about what people have said about you and I have experienced personally from you. If you think about the picture of a father and a father’s love, there needs to be firmness and hardness to it like this is a reality. It’s always caged in the love of being for their best interest and bringing that about in the right manner and the right time. That’s what the relationship is like too. The one thing I wanted to circle back on the silence that you brought up was the ability that silence brings to look inward. I know we’ve talked about in the past of looking inward versus looking outward. The question would be more in our society combining with silence about how important is it to look inward and what does that produce versus looking outward or what the culture may produce in us and in that difference of those two?
I think there’s a question that each person needs to answer for themselves, “Do I just want to get through life as easy and as best as I can?” Or in the conflict that you mentioned, does a person want to use the life to maximize that which they are capable of? I believe that the majority of people do not. They’re saying whatever is easiest, what gets me by. I want to avoid problems. I want to avoid fear. I want to avoid danger. It needs to be smooth, easy and have a good life that way. Yet in the reality of it, that’s not a very good life. There is no bottom to it. There are no roots to that tree. That is a weed that is growing on the top surface.When we get to the second half of our life, our journey to God is getting more developed and we start shifting and focusing on what's important. Click To Tweet
When the wind blows and the winter comes, they keel over and are not prepared for it. That’s less of a development than I believe God gave us, with the opportunity that gave us to develop that which we’re given and maximize that. As you know, Thane, it is from straining, hard work and pushing the very best you can where the heart of satisfaction is. You have tried your best and achieved or even failed, but you have given it the best. That gives a sense of saying, “I gave it the best I could.” To allow one’s self or to force one’s self to take time to look inward and to study and see what one could do, out of that find a vocation and say, “I’m going to commit to make this better.” Even if it’s a regular employment job, by giving it the best, you get the best self-satisfaction. Self-satisfaction is part of the quality of life.
That’s something that I definitely have experienced even early on in life. It brings so much fulfillment and literally pushing yourself to the edge of your capacity to see and then fall on your face a lot of times and then get back up and try and do a little better the next time.
In that category, I’d like to insert that while so many feel that failure is something that’s negative and needs to be avoided, let me say two things. One is success has benefits and it’s also exceedingly dangerous because success breeds pride and pride is one of the worst things that can happen to a person. To foster one’s self’s ego, pride and success causes that often. If all we would need to do is look at people that have been successful, how difficult and egocentric they are. That’s the flip side of the coin, that’s your contrast. Equally, with failure, it brings a sense of modesty and a sense of humility that we so urgently need to lead a good life.
It is like a two-edged sword in many ways. In light of that too, you mentioned that briefly. What do you see in the people that have that spin into a life that is filled with success but is ultimately drowned out by the pride and ego? That is what most people see and it’s a downfall. It takes away from a lot of the impact of their success versus the people that are able to infuse that success with the modesty, humility and also the practicality to not just sit in it but provide benefit to others. I know you don’t want this show to be praising you. I will say as your grandson, you’ve done that incredibly well. I’ve been blessed to see that. What do you see as the differences in allowing people to express one way versus the other? Between the people that experienced success and go through the downfall of success versus experienced success and use it for the betterment of those around them. The difference between getting stuck in the pride and ego versus being able to get through that into the beneficial type of success.
When we take the last 2,000, 25,000 or 3,000 years of Christianity, in our initial recordings, the development of the average human being, the skills, knowledge and ability to read and do math was minimal. It was a very primitive society not only then, but until the 1800s to 1900s that were a human life had practically no value. During that, in the Old Testament, God was very clear, very loud and very definite saying, “Here’s what you need to do and not do it.” We know all of those stories. Eventually, I believe that the development of a segment of the world, namely in Israel and etc., Christ was born and Christ led a totally different life and said, “We are done with all of the rules. Now, I’m going to demonstrate you beyond the question of a doubt that one can live better and the people around them better if we act out of love rather than fear.” The result in the old days was everything had to be fear. If you don’t, then you will. If you do, then you get praised. It was a very external system. Christ changed that and he says, “No, do it through love.” If you remember in the early days of the church after Christ died, people would combine into communities, help each other and promote Christianity. Then 300 years later, we legalized church and with it, we re-introduced fear in an obscene way and very damaging.
I think it’s part of the cause that all of the religions are losing members because of the history and what they also promote, which in many ways is fear. If you don’t, then this will happen. Yet God said, “You do have a choice.” If my choice is either hell or do what I’m told, it’s not a choice. If we then are in the position because we have further developed in the sense that the human being has a much higher value than ever in the history before, then that person with that value can also say, “I need to demonstrate what Christ said and deal out of love, deal out of respect for the next human being. Praise God, but be helpful to your neighbor. With that then is where I grow my soul for my eternity.”
It’s turning what is intuitive or natural up on its head and make it counterintuitive. The way is by flipping the triangle on its head almost. That’s what Jesus did. He turned the whole system up on its head.
I do believe what we have done in the 300s was the beginning of what we know is the human condition. Everything is sinful, everything is negative, we are not worth anything. It came out of that period and Christ never said that. Quite to the contrary, he says, “You’re like me. You are my brother.” We minimize that and say, “George, if you don’t do this, then you go to hell.”
That’s one of the most powerful concepts honestly that we’ve talked about and I’ve shared some. I’ve talked with so many people about this concept of the two core emotions that we have as human beings. It’s funny how blatantly obvious this should be, but how little we see it and think about it. I’d love to know you explain a little bit more of the way you think about these two core emotions and how it applies to life because it’s been so impactful even from my own life.
There’s an old saying that says, “When fear comes through the door, faith goes out the window. When faith comes through the door, fear goes out the window.” In the sense of saying they’re mutually exclusive. The fear we also know is handicapping. Fear is what creates the most difficult situations, not only individually but it is fear that starts wars. It is fear that a nation might do this or that that creates the military, creates armaments, creates defense systems. All of it out of fear. It has nothing to do with love. At the same time, if I’m going to prepare a breakfast for Jan because I have to, and she says, “Why didn’t you prepare? You’re late.” She’s my partner here in life and I want to do that, that task becomes no task at all. It’s a matter of joy. It’s a matter of pleasure. It’s a matter of liking it. That multiplied all day long creates then what is the joyfulness. That is what makes life worth living because you express that and usually it is like an echo. What you sent out, it comes back the same way. You saw Jan on her 80th. People were coming by the dozens and saying how she has impacted their lives and made it better and how she has helped out and how I have tried to help out.
All of that comes out that says, “What do I do with any of the situations? Am I going to be fearful because it might go wrong?” I’m not going to do that as an answer because if I fail, that helps me in the way of humility and helps me in the way of modesty and keeps my feet on the ground. Particularly when you’re successful often, and I have had the great fortune of being that, then it’s very important that you get knocked down and say, “You are just a little while here on this Earth, then do something worthwhile and get ready for bigger things that I have prepared for you.”
For you in this season of life, where do you see fear still showing up in your own life? I’m sure that we get a lot better at recognizing and striving to be in love, but we’re never arriving at the destination. What does it look like for you as you process it for yourself in life between those two core emotions or what do you have to remind yourself of even within that?
I would think that the great majority of people my age are afraid of the end of life, painful illness, hanging on for months and not living or existing but not being allowed to die. This is an uncontrollable and it is in front every day. With every day that you get older, you get closer to that. You have the hope and love that God will call you and prevent you from suffering. On the flip side of the coin, when you look at America, America was built by people that came that first of all, took an enormous risk in arriving and then furthermore took continued risk to develop the world. There’s the country, the travel, getting eventually to the West Coast and all of the history is a matter of fortitude and willingness to achieve things and take risks. When you go, we avoid risk at all corners. You can’t buy a vacuum cleaner in the first fifteen pages or warnings of dangers. Young people are taught, “Be careful. Don’t do this. No, don’t do that either.” It is a prevention of risk and in my humble opinion, a way of minimizing a person and not allowing that person to grow to what they can be because all they do is being self-protective, “I’ve got to make sure that I’m safe.”
It is interesting how much of an epidemic it is. Similar to what you talked about, it seems to be so limiting because where the real growth comes from is that bending or breaking at times and rebuilding. If we never have any risk, if we assume then we can’t grow, just like you at the gym, if you wouldn’t have gone for 155 on that final rep, that’s a risk. You may not be able to get up. Obviously, there was someone spotting, but the point is it’s still a risk. You don’t know. It’s not a guarantee.
It’s a risk to go on the road. It’s a risk to say, “I’m going to go Christmas anyway. I’m going to see my family. I’m going to take a job away from here and will I like it and will I have a problem finding an apartment? Will I like this? Will I like that?” All of that is fear motivated and it’s a huge handicap.
One of the areas that I’ve experienced fear and love probably most as I’ve thought about it in my own life is with relationships with other people. I err on either side of the coin. Sometimes I’ve put myself on a pedestal above others and then operate out of fear because I’m trying to protect my created position above them and putting the pride of I’m more valuable than someone else. I opted out of fear trying to protect that position. On the other token, sometimes I’ll put an individual above myself for the rest of the community and operate out of fear to what that person thinks of me and do things to impress them or gain respect from them. I experienced that even playing golf with certain people that I respected their abilities. I wanted to play better so that I could impress them and they’d respect me. I play worse because of operating out of fear.Self-satisfaction is part of the quality of life. By giving it the best, you get the best self-satisfaction. Click To Tweet
Thane, if we know that God created this world and convinced of that as I am, then comes the question if God created all, why did he create fear? I believe that he demonstrated that it is love and love only. His first two commandments are all about love. If we don’t have a standard of comparison, then nothing is evaluated or can have a sense of meaning. If however we have fear and we all understand that fear is negative, then you can compare the love to the fear. There is the base of saying fear has its right. It is the comparison to love. I can have a choice in many ways, sometimes not, but fundamentally have a choice out of which do I operate. If God created this world and tells us over and over, it is love for the neighbor and for you, the Lord yourself, then why would I choose if I can, to use the counter slander that tells how much I’m on the love side versus the fear side?
You have to have both. I read a quote one time from Dan Hylander who said, “God gave us the freedom to love because without the ability to say no, there’s no meaning to saying yes.” It loses meaning and value. It’s fascinating. One of the things that you mentioned briefly that I thought was an interesting question is a question of is God passive or active or proactive? This is a whole can of worms. In light of this thought behind having fear in love and having a choice, how have you thought about God being passive or proactive or active within our lives and our workings? That question could spend a whole lifetime searching into honestly.
At the end say, “I don’t know.”
We started where we’d end.
For me, there is no question that God gave us a mind, talent and the body that’s well-functioning for us to do things, to see need and to act accordingly. I take as an example, and it is in many stories in the Bible, when Christ is ready to be sent back to heaven. He says, “Now I have my disciples and I have also my apostles.” He didn’t design a master class where they are being educated, where they’re being formalized, where they’re being methods of travel being created or anything. He says, “Take your walking stick and go.” That must have been out of faith and belief that they have the talents to do that. They also got the Holy Spirit’s help, which I always ask for.
I think that is part of our fear and part of our not having courage, which is a sister to fear, we say, “I’m going to hang around and see what God has in mind for me and he hasn’t told me yet and I’m expecting to hear any day. I’m going to lay low until I get the insight, I get the great blessing of saying, here is what my task is.” That is a waste of life because we certainly can see immediately within hours of more need that we can possibly address. At the same time, we do have talents and we also got time. We have the need, we’ve got tools to do something about it. Why would we say, “I don’t understand any of that, let’s just sit back and wait?” I say, “Let’s get on with it. Let’s do something. Let’s use my talents and if I fail, it’s fine. Let’s get going because it is more fun to do. It’s more exciting to do. You lead a better life and you prepare your souls better for eternity.”
It’s all connected. It’s funny how there’s a through-line through all of this. A lot of times, it’s easy for all of us as people to avoid problems or danger of being risk-averse because we have a fear of failure and that limits our ability. At the same time, if all you do is look inward and trying to figure out, “What do I need? What’s best for me?” you never take action to move outward. In the midst of that, you also have all of this noise and confusion and all of these options. If you never have silence, you won’t be able to know which option to pick out of the million options. It’s interesting how it’s all connected, but I think one of the most important fundamental aspects of any human being and something that I know you’ve mentioned before too is being able to pick a path and then be committed to it and see from that. I’d love to know more of your thoughts on commitment itself because I think the time we live in is unique in some ways and not unique in other ways.
Humans are humans. In society and culture, there are probably more than ever before, at least in America, options or paths to choose. There seems like limitless options many times in some aspects. That creates greater indecision, especially for younger people coming up through college. The career path has changed and that’s usually not a vocation for your life, but a career for now or a job for now. There are many factors. I think that the core commitment seems to be one of the greatest needs. What is the importance of commitment in your mind?
If a part of ourselves is to lead a fulfilled life and for me, it is very important to do rather than just exist, then comes immediately the question of, “What should I do? How do I best use my talents?” I first sidestep in and say that choice is a little similar to let’s say as an example, a person that’s in high school and is in good shape and has the choice of multiple sports, also maybe play in the band and all of these options. He tries this, tries that, tries to next one and then the end of it, chooses none of it or just halfheartedly pursues. Out of that then comes dissatisfaction, comes emptiness, can come depression. I find this to be so problematic. My little understanding with soldiers coming back, they had a very definite purpose. They were being told morning, noon and night what the purpose is and what’s up next and the steps to take and they come home to absolute emptiness. They have the side effects of what they experienced in the military. To then say, “Here is the career that I’m pursuing. I choose to appear.”
In some sportspeople that are paraplegics or quadriplegics, they make things happen in a very positive and give speeches and talk because they have chosen to be committed to something in their case to just be healthy or function like they were healthy. To forever wait, try and find the thing that totally fulfills me is much less important than choosing an activity and it might not be for lifelong, but pursuing that with all energy because out of that comes the satisfaction again. If you ask ten people and one is a good soccer player and you ask, “What would you like to play?” “Play soccer.” The tennis player wants to play tennis because they have learned, they have put the effort into it and have a skill and they enjoy that. If you never learn any of it, then you just wander around aimlessly and say that this life has nothing to offer me. I’ve had literally thousands of employees over my lifetime. They’re not an employee, they’re associates. Those that stood out and those that were the happiest were those that committed to whatever that job was, try to do it exemplary well and with not only what’s good for them, but good for the company. Out of that came promotions, out of that came bonuses and out of that came respect from the others. It’s not so important what you choose, but what you do with it.
I’m curious too on that. What do you see that gets in the way of people choosing that from your experience? Because you see the results of it, yet it’s by no means the norm to choose, to have that level of commitment that produces the joy, the satisfaction and the fulfillment from that work. What do you see are common obstacles that prevent people from that commitment?
I think most likely the largest component is self-discipline. The discipline to say, “Whether I like it or not, I am going to give this my very best.” The essence of saying, “I will drive forward. I will get it done. I will achieve what I am after.” Even if that’s a very small thing. Take a person that is mentally retarded. I’ve got one living across the street. Very small things are important and full of pride. The pride or the joy of experiencing is maybe a very different item, but the joy is the same as it is for me when I do something. Self-discipline is not a very modern word. It’s not something that is being preached often. Most everything is it needs to be easy. You need to not be straining too hard, you might hurt yourself. As opposed to say, “I’m going to go after it.” Take the great people in this country or any other country. It is the people that have the self-discipline and say, “I will learn this so that I can do as opposed to I want to do.”
If you were walking alongside people in that process, what is the process for developing self-discipline?
A need to achieve whatever your goal is. If you have no goals, you don’t need to achieve, you don’t need self-discipline. If you set out, it might be money, but it might as well as get to date a girl that is up the street that you would like to meet or marry. All of that is a desire. It is a need to achieve and keep money out of it. Even so often, it plays a role but often it doesn’t. A great musician, it isn’t money. A poet, it isn’t money. People that give public service, it isn’t money, but it is a real desire to commit to something that is the stimulus of self-discipline or your parents beating you up for that matter.
I also love what you had mentioned when we were talking that money is not the success, money is a measure of success. A lot of times, self-discipline is the fulfillment that comes and brings things to the fruit of it. It isn’t the goal in itself. The foundational component of even commitment to anything is a level of self-discipline. It’s something that often has to be fought for whether you’re forced to or whether you choose to. You’re right, it is somewhat of a misnomer in today’s society. It’s shunned away from and avoided. It’s probably because it’s this fear of doing something hard, something you don’t want to do.
It’s what discipline takes. If that isn’t there, then you don’t do it. If you don’t want to do it in the first place, you don’t need self-discipline. If you want to achieve money, money to most people is the ultimate result. Out of that comes the saying that money is their god. I believe that to be a fallacy. I understand it and respect it fully. When we are at the lowest level of the Hierarchy of Needs of Maslow, because you’ve got to have money to have food, clothing, eat and water and all of that, money becomes totally dominant. Once we reach a higher level, then the first level and we get into the area of respect and we get in the area of belonging, which are various parts of the tier, then we need to see that we pursue the goals that we have set for ourselves. If we do those well, money follows.If a part of ourselves is to lead a fulfilled life, it is very important to do rather than just exist. Click To Tweet
If you look at the great achievers in the last several years, they’re all very young. They started out doing an intellectual exercise that eventually made them multimillionaires or billionaires. They didn’t do that to become that. They had other goals. In my company life, I had four goals and the money was important earning a good life, but it was the fourth one. It wasn’t the first three. I knew if I do the first three, then money will automatically follow. If I do them lousy, then obviously it won’t. If I had focused initially how do I maximize my earnings, then it wouldn’t have developed in the first place because my energy would have been on the wrong place.
It’s interesting that you use energy. I remember the book I read called The Power of Full Engagement. It talks a lot about the resource of energy versus necessarily time or effort. I thought that was a helpful way to think about it. I have to ask with money being the fourth, what were the first three goals?
I had learned a trade when I was a qualified journeyman tailor, which means I had a skill and some knowledge that very few in America have. The second thing was I spoke languages. Also, I had an excellent education. I had tools that were good. Once I was here and I bought this company with ten employees, I realized that what they were trying to do but were pretty ill-qualified was to produce clothing for what I consider the most downtrodden segment of our population. This is the mentally retarded and the mentally ill who often and generally were in some confined status. What happened to them is they were at the government’s expense. Therefore, government programs and government-specified clothing that was very drab. It was not only drabbed but it was also ill-designed, it was the wrong materials and all of these things. I thought that if I could, as a major contribution in my life, make that population live a little bit more joyful life, and get them to smile because there are things that they think they look good in. At the same time, live within the extreme confines of government bidding and the lowest price, then that would be very much worthwhile.
Part two was that the community of Cotter was originally a railroad community, and had fallen by the wayside because there was no longer around the house and there were no longer many services that Cotter provided. They were no longer necessary. There was the diesel engine as opposed to the steam engine. The community was deteriorating and had deteriorated. Eventually, most of the buildings that we bought over a period of years had been condemned because they were in such terrible shape with falling in roofs and broken out windows. Part three was that if I’m able to create that market and design products that are helpful, then we should get orders. If we have orders, we can employ people. If we can employ people and pay them a decent wage and also allow me to use what I had always thought that they need to be partners and associates. I’ve lots of background having worked with labor unions and negotiated contracts in Missouri, Utah and in Kansas. That I’ve thought if we, from day one, have a team as opposed to workers and management, then that will be a tremendous goal. If I do all of these well, it makes me enough money to live well.
I love that because it’s three things of helping and loving others and one of yourself. You mentioned this and I was so intrigued by it because I haven’t heard much on this, but in thinking about your desire to have employees, not just be employees, but have them be associates and partners. You mentioned that you formed a trust when you incorporate it. I’m curious to know in that way of thinking because it is a very non-traditional way of thinking. How did you come about approaching that, trying to accomplish that community of people, not just being an employee but being associates or partners in what you’re building?
The day we formed the corporation, we also formed the profit-sharing trust, which has been replaced by other forms of participation. What I wanted to instill is to say, “We are going to work together and we’re going to work together for a long time.” We were going to get a report every quarter with our associates and share with them and tell them what we could do together. If we win, you also win. You not only win by still having a job but if we make some money, we can afford to give money into the profit-sharing trust. Not only that, but we’ll invest and by investing, then it will grow and you might be able to send a child to colleges.
To tell you how well that worked, Thane, we also had full health insurance and it was with Blue Cross Blue Shield. We wanted to keep our monthly fees low, and you can talk about it, but you can also maybe do something about it. What I did, I negotiated with Blue Cross Blue Shield and said, “We would like to have our monthly cost not go up, stay steady. What do we need to do so that we can do that?” We were self-insured as a company. The answer was, “If you use no more than 70% of what you pay in, then we will give you the first two months of the next year for free.” By having associates, not just management, but all of us, I would speak once a month at the various factories and gave reports and updates. I said, “This is what we can do. Let’s see if we can keep those costs under control.” Thane, it was within three or four months, if somebody went to the emergency room, the other workers would say, “Why did you go there? Just because of that little thing, you went to the emergency room?”
Lo and behold, we did for about three years, the opportunity for others to be engaged in what is meaningful, we did. There came a time the fourth year and we were told that Blue Cross Blue Shield had changed the system somewhat and we can no longer be an independent company. We need to be part of a group of four companies. At that time, we also said, “We can no longer do that. We can’t keep you out of the pot. You need to be part of the pot.” I announced that also. Within three months, our usage go up dramatically.
What a sweet accomplishment to have those years, the buy-in and participation, it makes a lot of sense, without an incentive to be contributing the greater whole. I think we all struggle with viewing ourselves as part of it if there aren’t reminders of that or some engagement with that. One of the things you’d mentioned was that there was a variety of factors that led to you being here in Cotter, Arkansas. I’d love to know a little bit more on the thought process that brought you to this town of could be 900 people. It is popping and with lots of fish. I’d love to know a little bit of that story and the decision process that went into that.
I came to the United States as the third part of my education. My parents and I had agreed that I ought to be an international businessman. As for international business, I needed to have lived in the countries wherein some of them at least I need to speak languages. I needed to understand culture. I needed to understand behavior. I eventually came to US. I entered New York University at the sophomore level. It was a huge university and I had the chance eventually to head the foreign student body, which was about 20,000 students. With that, I had some great exposure in doing recordings that were particularly made for going to East Europe. They were propaganda-type things. When I started working, I was the guy that made the most money when we graduated from college because I had some unusual advantages and things went well.
I ended up on assignment in Kansas City working for a New York Fifth Avenue company. While I was there, one day I got a letter from the draft board of New York City that I need to show up for induction. I wrote back and said, “No, you got that wrong. I’m a citizen of Germany and I plan to work in the United States for a little while and then return to Europe.” That was exactly the truth. There were no thoughts ever of staying in the US. It was just like being in England or being in Portugal or being in Switzerland. However, when I said, “No, you have got that wrong,” they very quickly responded, “No, you have got it wrong. Because when you signed up to be a student at NYU, you also signed up in your deck of forms that you sign as a student that if you earn $1 before the age of 26, you have a military obligation in the United States.” I said, “What to do now?” Think about how my parents sent us out into the world to avoid military and then suddenly came the question, “Will my parents allow me to go into military service for one of the enemies of earlier days?” Not very good for my mother. My dad and I contemplated.
I went to an attorney at the advice of the president of the firm that I was doing consulting work for and asked, “Is that true?” He says, “I don’t know but I’ll check it out.” When I got the report back, he said, “You have two choices. You can either leave and return to Germany as you have planned anyway, or you can serve in the military. If you do go back to Europe, the likelihood that you will get a visa entry and you want to do business with America will probably be denied.” My friend eventually said, “Try it and go.” I did. However, I filed an objection because they wanted to draft me for Laos as a foot soldier. I had been sportscar racing in Kansas City and had a lot of friends in Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base, and they said, “We’d love to have you in the Air Force.” I objected too. I wrote to my Congressman. I used Hollingsworth of Missouri and wrote them a letter and said, “I believe that if I, as a foreigner, am going to have the obligation to serve, I should have the same authority and responsibility as any other citizen. I should not be separated out as different.” That went to the US Congress.
The file got thicker and thicker because New York was continually driving. I showed up. They made me fly to New York and have an interview. Five hours later, they said, “We didn’t get to it, come back again.” That was multiple times from Kansas City in those days to fly to New York. Eventually, General Hershey, who was in charge of the selective service system in the United States said, “Peitz is right. He should have and so should anybody else, have the same right if they have the same obligation and he can choose.” I did choose the Air Force. He said, “You have 30 days to sign up,” so that I’m not using it as an excuse and New York would not release me. They released me on the 30th day in the 11th hour. It was that mad that I beat the system. By serving in New York, the company that I was serving in Kansas City at Richards-Gebaur, the company that I was doing consulting work for, offered me to do a job on and become an officer of the company. They knew I had to be in the Kansas City area because I had to live within 180 miles of the base.
In that role, I was vice president in charge of manufacturing and product development and other things. I was very young, 26 or 27 maybe. Because I was the chief technician, I did most of the labor negotiations because I knew what the people wanted. I didn’t do the cost part, but I know the things from a management point of view that we should accept and not accept. In that role, I had always been coming from a commercial industrial family, always wanted to become self-employed and it never worked because I didn’t have any money. In those days, I didn’t think about borrowing. You’ve got to pay it. Now, it’d be easy.
One day, I was working and I had a visitor from Winthrop Rockefeller who then was the head of AIDC, Arkansas Industrial Development Commission, with a group of men saying, “You’re an excellent firm. We would like for you to locate a point in Arkansas.” That’s got me started. Eventually, I did. I bought a plant as an employee. I built another one in PB and built another one in Batesville. He became governor. When he became governor he said, “Would you be willing to help us get the prison systems in order?” The products they produce, nobody wants. Yet by law, government agencies have to purchase them, but they find ways around it because it’s so shoddy. I accepted that and in for a couple of years would spend time and energy and goodwill to do that. Eventually, it got done. I got back up on Petit Jean Mountain and having dinner with the governor and a little honor deal, I got a fishing pole, a thank you and great and all that, “If you ever want to be a guest of this state, go way up North, almost in Missouri. It’s very small and undeveloped. It’s very pretty. It’s called Gaskins. Would you like to go there sometimes?” I said, “Yes, I do.” I did. That was my introduction here.
I liked it well-enough that I said, “If I could ever earn a living, that’s where I want to be.” It’s a great place to raise a child, two children or three children, whatever it might be. It’s a great way also to get out of the hustle and bustle when I travel and sell and work. That’s initially how I got to Cotter. The Arkansas Industrial Development Commission then found a place in Cotter where the man wanted to sell and we got in contact with each other. After about a year of going back and forth, that’s how I got here.God gave us the opportunity to develop that which we're given and maximize that. Click To Tweet
That was quite the journey. Out of all the places you could have ended up, it’s in Cotter, Arkansas and it’s been 50-plus years.
I came in September 10th, 1970. I can tell you, particularly those that knew me in industry and I was on the technical advisory committee of the United States apparel industry and had lots of contacts say, “What on earth are you doing?” It was a great move. They all think, “It was a brilliant foresight. You live great. Look at these. Look at the river. Look how the house, they’re all wonderful. You must have known it.” I didn’t but it was an opportunity to become self-employed. It was an opportunity to be in an area that was a good place to live and it has developed beautifully.
What was it initially that you loved most when you first visited? What were the things that captivated you about the area or the place?
It was and it is a fabulous place to come back to. When you travel and I did for years and years flew crisscrossed the United States and our company had three airplanes for long time. Just because you can’t do business from here, you can also not do commercially because you take a day to get somewhere and they want to come back on Friday night. You have got three days in between and that doesn’t work economically. For me, I’m coming from Chicago, I’m flying, it is busy and it is Friday night, I go through St. Louis Center, lots of chat going on. It then becomes a little quiet and finally I touchdown in Arkansas. The guys says, “Peter, good to see you back.” That was worth it.
I’ve always felt that too when I’m here or even when I go to Kansas versus in California. You feel much more grounded, settled and human. There’s some real beauty to that. One of the things also, speaking on some references that I thought was a fascinating thing and also speaks a little bit to what we’re talking about. This person had said that you’re a man who lives within his means. If it’s not something that will fit your budget or lifestyle, you live without it. That’s a philosophy. You’re also extremely generous when it comes to sharing and not expecting anything in return. Finally, you could afford a lot more than what you practice or live. I think it was interesting knowing those perspectives of not living frivolously and doing things just to do them, but also making choices to intentionally not separate, but to be involved with all types of people no matter where you’re at. That’s one thing that we talked about. Being able to live next to ordinary people and to have an ordinary life with them.
I don’t want to be exclusive. I don’t want to be locked out by being in a gated community, but keep the feet on the ground.
What is the thing that has been most beneficial for you in the 50 years that you didn’t expect? A lot of it probably wasn’t expected. What stands out to you of 50 years in the place and how this living in Cotter has impacted you as a person?
I’ll give you two examples. One, when we were operating White River Industries, we were 97% women. That was great that way, yet at the same time, one of the side issues of that is these women were generally also the caregivers in the family, for parents, for children, for sisters and brothers. There’s that middle age woman that reaches out in all into all areas. Like anywhere else, we had multiple cases of cancer. Not necessarily that person, but it is the mama who has cancer. We had no facilities here in our greater area that take care of us. They had to go to Little Rock or Springfield 2 to 3 hours away. They needed to be there weekly. That means they miss work. That means they miss pay. Out of missing pay, then it became more and more difficult to even buy the gas. At the same time, mama had to be in Little Rock and eventually there was bankruptcy. Often bankruptcy or simply no longer show up, the wheel didn’t turn. In 1989, a few others and I was saying, “We need to do something for people to get cancer treatment here.” We set out through the hospital and didn’t know exactly what to do, it’s a great hospital to help us and we helped them. We had a first fund drive that ever happened in our county and it was for the purpose of having a cancer treatment center.
I remember that when we were six or eight sitting there as to how well could we do, the guests were somewhere between nothing and $60,000. We had the opportunity to hire because some of us knew Helen Walton and I did to get a fundraiser that they employ to build the airport over in Fayetteville to help us. He came and when he looked us over and asked questions, he says, “I don’t want you to do anything except what I tell you to do.” He realized our total ignorance. We set out, we worked, we were overwhelmed with joy because in 92 days, we raised $1.3 million. That facilitated that we could start and we could do that. We collected 97% of it, which is also a very high number. We had it done and there was a cancer treatment center. Having a cancer treatment center then facilitated back again to my associates that they had ways of not having to end up in bankruptcy. In the year 2000 or 1999, what can we do to help those that are being diagnosed with cancer? We created what we learned. My wife, Jan, was a nurse and initially in charge of all of the surgery suites and the directing. She wanted to take on this task of building a cancer support house. That was for the purpose of once a person goes into for diagnosis and saying, “You have breast cancer,” or some other cancer. What do you do? Of course, there is havoc. It’s life-changing, it’s everything for the family.
By that time, I was financially capable and I said, “I’m going to fund the house that is needed and the items that are needed within,” because they need wigs, bras and educational materials. In addition to the things that have been accomplished, we have also a form of guiding and helping people not only to be diagnosed and get treatments but also be cared for. Jan then did that for a goodly number of years. The hospital said we could expect maybe 600 to 700 people. It is now over 6,000 to 7,000 people annually. I see that as one of the real unexpected achievement. The one that I think is greater than that in sense of her life and looking back that when Jan ran that and operated that, people didn’t know that we were dating. Over several years while she was there, there was never one negative remark made by former employees about what we did at White River Industries and me. I see that as one of the main parcels.
That’s such a sweet gift to be able to have that affirmation or encouragement and see the impact. A lot of times in what we do, you don’t see that fruit and the impact that it creates. To see some of that and the vastness of that is remarkable. To be able to do that here in a place like Cotter is so sweet too. I’m grateful we’ve gotten to do round two because I think there could be about 100 rounds and there would still be 100 left. To have another chance to sit down and to dive into more stories. You’re the first repeat guest and I couldn’t get for a better one to have. What book or books have had the biggest impact on you in this season of life?
The one that has had a lot of impact on me is a book called Unstuck. It is a book that tells about waning churches and the cause of them and what needs to be done to rejuvenate. Using that and using the drive of getting things done is to build a new vision, new mission statements and with it all programs that supported. It’s going to be introduced to the church population as a whole. It has gotten the approval of the various places, authorities and hierarchies so that we can rejuvenate the church. That has been very powerful in me. I have also read the three books of Conversations with God, which is altogether different but very insightful. It’s the deep in the roots, not up in the leaves. That had been very helpful and fulfilling because if you travel these journeys and travel many of them alone, it’s nice to find compatriots. Since religion is a matter of faith rather than fact, therefore we have so many different beliefs and so many forms of Christianity and 34,000 denominations.
I’m always testing and seeing whether my beliefs are well-based. I know for them to be in that degree, the core, which is the church of Resurrection up in Kansas City. Minister Hamilton wrote a book on what he believes the Bible is about. I finished it and I feel very close to and very much in line with. He is somewhat of a reformed or thinking and working in ways of saying that when we read the Bible, we need to read it so that what was written was written for people then, and we need to see it as such and also interpreted as such. That keeps us much better in line with making the overarching what Bible is all about, much stronger than hanging on the various individual details.
What is a belief that you formally held that you no longer believe to be true?
I was more directed to the right than when I was younger and felt that the labor unions were a drag on society and there was no need for them. I believe that was correct then. In the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s, we in America so dramatically changed by removing most of the governing laws from airlines to whatever, controlling and managing these things that we now have a very small segment of the people that has gotten exceedingly wealthy out of all proportions and many others have been bypassed. I have become much more liberal. I have been much more inclined to say what we have done wrong over the last 30 years needs to be put back in balance and needs to be corrected. I was at one time a committed Republican and I’m now a left-leaning centrist.
What question do you ask yourself the most?Always test and see whether your beliefs are well-based. That keeps you much better in line with what the Bible is all about. Click To Tweet
I’m not in a position to influence or have an answer, but I consider that what Rupert Murdoch that when he bought Fox and the political influence that he had, that he got the regulations, the laws changed with the FCC that allowed to no longer represent both sides of a political report, but to be one-sided. Until then when it goes back, you would understand it would not be edited towards a particular view, which means automatically, every action has an equal amount of reaction. It has caused immense division in our country. I think it is one of the most evil things that has happened to the United States because at all levels, it’s to the degree of violence by continually using propaganda to make the points. I was born in Germany and I learned and studied the man who was in-charge of propaganda. He had seven Doctorates and he raised fear to an unbelievable level and allowed Germany to get into conditions and actions that are unforgivable. I think that we are moving in not the same directions but certainly, the most negative things that can happen, namely divide and conquer. We are dividing ourselves. What could we do? I’m hopeless by age and position.
If you could send a morning text reminder to every Up And Comer out there, what would you say and why? It’s a text that they would get as a recurring reminder from you each morning when they wake up.
I would most likely share with them the ASK triangle. One side being Attitude, the other one being Skill and the third one being Knowledge. Those three together form the triangle and within that triangle is the mass that is you, that is me. It is a job for you to have a good life, to expand all legs of the triangle at an equal amount of growth so that it remains a 180 triangle and make that your business and make that the business of your family.
Grandpa, thank you so much for giving me the honor of sitting together again and sharing some thoughts. It is so sweet and I’m so grateful.
You’re most welcome. I told you, you now know me better than almost anyone except maybe Jan. That’s good because after all, you’re my grandson.
I feel very privileged and blessed to be called your grandson, so thank you for that.
Thank you too.
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About Peter Peitz
As a boy, Peter grew up during the second world war in Munich Germany. In his lifetime, he lived, learned and worked in 4 countries.
Today, as an 82-year-old businessman, banker, philanthropist and bicyclist, he shares how America helped his dreams to come true and tells of the hazards along the way.
Peter currently lives in Cotter, AR with his wife Jan.
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