Mike Peters

Obituary of Mike Peters

Born 3 Jun 1944 to Cleties and Lilah (Bridwell) Peters in what is now the Old Colorado City area of Colorado Springs, Mike grew up “exploring” both Colorado Springs and Manitou.  When he was tall enough, he also began stocking shelves and bagging groceries in the family grocery store.  For the rest of his life Mike would remember his father’s concern for families who needed to feed their children.

 Just before Mike started high school the family moved to Woodland Park where he was one of 13 students in his graduating class, played basketball, and wrote for the school paper.  In the fall of 1962, he entered Colorado State College (now UNC) majoring in PE, and minoring in Journalism.  While at CSC he worked at Brannen’s Grocery Store on 8th Avenue and served as a reporter and later Sports Editor of the Mirror. 

Mike and Linda met in January of 1965 while they were students in a Public Speaking class in Kepner hall on the CSC campus.  A few weeks later, after a chance meeting in Carter Hall (then the library), they started dating.  The couple was married in 1967 and lived in the old married student housing next to the railroad tracks.  Following Mike’s graduation in 1968, the couple moved to Flagler, Colorado where Mike taught PE, Driver’s Ed, Speech, and coached Basketball and Football.

Two years later the family, which by then included their son, moved back to Greeley where Mike entered the MA program in Educational Leadership at UNC.  While in grad school Mike began working for the City of Greeley Recreation Department on a part-time basis and eventually moved to a full-time position which included writing press releases for the Tribune.

In December of 1971, as he was delivering a press release to the Tribune, Editor John Dugan, offered Mike a job.  Writing for a newspaper was Mike’s dream and he didn’t hesitate to accept Dugan’s proposal.  Mike began writing for the Tribune in January of 1972, covering the police and fire departments.  He was also shooting photographs for local events and UNC sports and, in 1973, began writing a column called Police Beat. That was the first in a long line of columns which, in 1976, became the Gnarly Trombone. 

In the Trombone Mike’s unique and sometimes quirky sense of humor was often the star.  He believed that humor was one of the best ways to defuse unhappy or unfair situations, and he loved making people smile if not outright laugh at how silly life (and people) can be.  No one or thing was safe from being “Tromboned” Mike wrote about farmers, ranchers, politicians, city council members, the Stampede, and his favorite target -Greeley Drivers.  He didn’t shy from making fun of his own life and everyday personal situations such as a son who was learning to drive, Christmas shopping, Thanksgiving traditions, the birth of his daughter, and grandchildren, growing a beard, and then shaving it because his daughter said hugging him was too scratchy, and many columns about Daisy the Wonderdog and Gus the potbellied pig.

For nearly his entire career Mike also wrote feature and human-interest stories.  His deep compassion and gentle manner allowed his subjects to easily share their life stories, tragedies, and triumphs with him.  He remained always kind, respectful, and careful with the people whose lives he covered.

Overall, Mike’s career spanned 5 decades; he saw the Tribune move from hot type to the digital era, from an evening to a morning publication, and sadly, he also saw the decline of print media.  He was proud of his work and always hoped he made a positive difference in his adopted hometown.  He believed in nurturing the talents of young reporters, and gave freely of his time advising and assisting them when needed. He firmly believed that he should give back to the community he loved.

Mike retired from active reporting in 2011, but continued to write two columns a week: 100 Years Ago and, of course, the Gnarly Trombone.  Eventually the Trombone was moved to a twice-monthly publication schedule. In May of 2023, because of health issues, he stopped writing altogether.

Mike was also an active community volunteer.  In recent years he especially enjoyed his work with the Community Little Free Pantry at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Windsor, volunteering at the Windsor-Severance Food Pantry, and his work with Wreaths Across America at Linn Grove.

Mike is survived by his wife of 56 years, Linda, his son Mick (Tanya), daughter Vanessa (Tom Baker), granddaughters Michaela (Cody Fisher), Caitlin, Darby, McKayla, grandsons Nathan and Noah, and two great-granddaughters Ellie and Olivia. He is also survived by his sister Shirley Johnson and brother Patrick Peters (Carolyn), numerous nieces and nephews, and his beloved pug, Gertie.

His parents, brother Danny, and brother-in-law Kent, preceded him in death.

Private family services will be held, but the public is invited to a community celebration on Sunday, September 17 from 2-4 pm at the Greeley Museum in the old Tribune building. (714 8th Street)

Memorial Contributions may be made to the Outreach Program at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Windsor. (PO Box 697 Windsor, CO 80550), Inurnment will be at St. Alban’s.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mike Peters, please visit Tribute Store
A Memorial Tree was planted for Mike
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Northern Colorado Crematory
Share Your Memory of