Tribute to Pete Squires

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Tribute to Pete Squires
For Ruth

Pete Squires

You could walk into Peteís office any old time, and he was usually there, all ears for anything you had on your mind, be it business or pleasure.

Thatís it.

Pete was a pleasure.

If you didnít find him in his office, he was likely to be in the kitchen, bent over a newspaper. He hardly ever sat in a chair when he read, but stood up, leaning on his elbows on the table. He always said he was most comfortable that way.

Thatís it.

Pete was comfortable.

He was an easy laugher, and he could make other folks laugh a lot, too, because he could find funniness in almost everything.

Thatís it.

Pete was fun.

You always knew that he was dreaming up and scheming up new Pete-type adventures. The next mountain to climb, the next cave to cave, the jump to leap. He rode his bike everywhere, and when he walked, he got places.

Thatís it.

Pete was strong and healthy.

When he got sick, you know, no one could believe it. Most of all Pete couldnít believe it. The sickness part of his life was all screwy, like someone had painted a black sky over a beautiful sunrise. He didnít want to leave, and we didnít want him to leave.

So we guess thatís why he stayed. He stays in our minds and our hearts and our dealings with this world.

Thatís it.

Peteís around.

When he was sick, he learned to love. And he learned how to be loved, too. All the stones in his private fortress turned to clay, and they melted like hard ice does in the sun. You could see it melt, slowly at first, then more and more as the rocks grew soft and surely wore away. That was the best thing about his illness, and we all know it because we were all there, including Pete, with our blinking eyes and our beating hearts.

Thatís it.

Pete loved.

All of us who knew him still know him. Heís hard to miss.

Thatís it.

Mary Jane Fox

Pete Squires

In addition to caving in his home state of CO, Pete Squires became involved in the Projecto Espeleologico Purificacion exploring Mexicoís longest. Our caving trips ranged from surveying through tight tubes in Sotano de las Calenturas to a week at Camp VII in the World Beyond section of Sistema Purificacion. Pete was a welcome addition to any survey team, bringing along his positive attitude as well as caving and rigging skills. His abilities could certainly be attributed to his excellent physical condition Ė from the top of Denali in AK to the bottom of the Angelís Staircase in Purificacion, he went the distance.

Forty-four years old - a healthy, non-smoking caver, climber, engineer, and loving father Ė not a likely candidate for lung cancer. When he was diagnosed in Fall 1997, he did all he could to slow the progress using traditional and alternative methods. In spite of these remarkable efforts, he died on June 19, 1998.

Iíll never forget the day he told me about the cancer and our subsequent conversations. The advice he passed on is to live to the fullest, and to do that now. Weíll remember his days of living the philosophy and his contributions to the team. Think of the comforting feeling you get when a strong and compassionate caver is at your side as you leave behind the comforts of the surface to explore the remotest depthsÖ and you will feel Pete. Adios, amigo.

Jean Krejca



Pete Squires

Pete had a great boyish spirit inside an intelligent strong body. He could do anything. He had supreme balance.

When most people would walk across a bridge and hold on to the railing, Pete would walk across the railing with the water rushing below. He was strong enough to lift himself up with his fingers on a door frame. And that was when he had 180 pounds to lift!

Pete loved mountains and nature Ė streams, flowers, trees, meadows, and high mountain tops. He was one with the earth. He dropped into the deepest hole in the world in Mexico and climbed Mt. McKinley without guides Ė just with his own knowledge and confidence.

Cancer caused Pete to shed the protective cover he had on his heart. He opened up and showed the love and compassion he had always had.

So now I can say he taught me a lot about both sides of life Ė about keeping your heart open and to live as fully as you can Ė experience all you can, love all you can.

Pete is my hero in many ways. When I find myself doing anything beyond the ordinary, I know Pete helped give me the confidence and push to get there.

Thank you, Pete.  I love you.

Karen Peterson


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