9-27 pine col pix

Tim Peck

The notice on the Pine post office community bulletin board read “Celebration of Life before death.”

Knowing those type celebrations usually occur following a person’s death, I was curious about what was posted.

So, I emailed the person responsible for it and learned the celebration was to be held for longtime Pine resident and former Pine Hardware manager Tim Peck, who had been diagnosed with stage four renal carcinoma, which is most often fatal.

Peck was undergoing medical treatment, but he and his family realized it was only to slow the cancer’s growth, not cure it.

I emailed Peck’s daughter, Jeri Kehoe, who said among her father’s last wishes was to have a celebration of life before he died.

He also wanted Kehoe to invite as many friends and family as possible.

So, his daughter went to work organizing the somewhat-unusual event to be held April 20 in Pine.

But as fate would have it, Peck suffered injuries in a fall and the celebration had to be postponed for about a week.

Eventually the fete was held and it turned out to be all Peck and Kehoe had hoped for with relatives and longtime friends from around the country attending.

I authored a story on it that appeared in the April 30, 2019 Payson Roundup.

Following its publication, I heard nothing more about Peck until just last week when Kehoe emailed to tell me her father had died, peacefully surrounded by family at Banner Thunderbird Hospital.

During the final five weeks of his life, she said, he struggled to breathe and was in and out of several care centers and hospitals.

“We are very sad, but thankful he is no longer in pain,” said Kehoe.

“We are also so thankful so many of his family were able to be at his celebration of life.”

Peck’s entire family, Kehoe said, felt blessed because the celebration was held before his death allowing him to enjoy his final months of life.

Fire station open housePine-Strawberry Fire District employees and governing board members have issued an invitation for all residents to join them in an open house and dedication of the newly revamped Strawberry Fire Station and crew quarters.

The event is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 5 at the station just off Fossil Creek Road. The formal dedication will be at 1 p.m. when hot dogs, hamburgers and soft drinks will be served.

The remodeling and upgrading of the original station was funded from a 2016 ballot measure approved by local taxpayers. Total cost for the project was $220,541.

Construction began in March and was completed in July.

The new building has 1,350 square feet of living space, much more than the previous building.

“Firefighters now have a safer and more comfortable living space,” Fire Chief Gary Morris said.

You can’t what?This is meant as being complimentary to my good friend, fellow Roundup columnist, and former National High School Wrestling Coach of the Year Dennis Pirch. When it comes to authoring stories, he sometimes reminds me of another great coach Tot Workman.

Wondering why?

Coach Workman is a legend in high school football having coached Snowflake and Round Valley to several region and state championships.

But during his incredible career he developed a reputation for downplaying his teams always telling other coaches they were small, slow, untalented and might not win a game that season.

Of course, all knew that was baloney, his teams would always be in the running for state titles.

So, how is Coach Pirch similar? He never in his career used those types of tactics.

But a number of years ago, knowing he was the premier outdoorsman, hunter and fisherman in Arizona, I talked him into becoming the Roundup’s outdoor columnist.

He does a marvelous job as journalist, but to me at least, he downplays his talents and abilities ala Tot Workman.

He has told me countless times he struggles to write and can’t churn out good stories like some journalists. Once again, that’s Workman like.

Then I pick up a copy of “High Country Hunter” a free publication now on newsstands and stores.

The author who claims he can’t compose as quick as some dominates the pages with interesting and well-written stories on outdoor seasons, trophy hunts, backpacking priorities, turkey hunting and a feature on legendary hunter Bill Workman (No relation to Tot).

His five stories are far more than any of the other publication’s writers.

Not bad production for an ex-coach who claims he can’t write.

Treasurer resignsPine-Strawberry Water Improvement District chairman Bob Arbuthnot told fellow board members and the audience at a September board meeting that treasurer Sharon Hillman will resign her position effective Dec. 31. “We are sorry she is leaving us and will miss her contributions,” he said.

The announcement concluded with, “We are looking for potential candidates for treasurer.”

During Hillman’s tenure on the board she has worked tirelessly and is widely considered the most knowledgeable member especially on matters concerning the Compass Bank loan and the WIFA grant.

A PSWID customer with knowledge of district workings said of Hillman, “The general public has no idea how hard she worked for all our benefit.”

Another customer calls her loss, “huge” and yet another said, “I don’t think people realize how much she did for the district.”

Dear Readers:

This is my final “Rattlin’ the Rim” as a Roundup columnist. After 34 years at the paper as a full- and part-time reporter and columnist, stepping down is very difficult. In leaving, I thank, for their unwavering support, the many great friends I have made within the ranks of Roundup employees and readers.

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