AUBURN — Peter Edmund Schlax Sr., 79, of Lewiston, died peacefully Feb. 14 at Androscoggin Hospice House in Auburn, surrounded by his family.

Pete was born Jan. 26, 1939, in Chicago, Ill., the son of Edmund Schlax and Julie Riordan. He grew up on the rough streets of the South Side of Chicago. He graduated from the Chicago Vocational High School with training as a mechanic.

After high school graduation, Pete began working for American Airlines, where he served as an airplane mechanic. He then went to work at Amtrak, where he worked his way up to the position of manager of locomotives at the Chicago Amtrak yard. He retired from Amtrak in 2001.

Pete also proudly served his country in Vietnam, having been drafted as a helicopter mechanic before the U.S. was officially engaged in the war.

Pete was committed to education and was the first in his family to graduate from college. As an adult, he attended night and summer classes to earn his bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1983. He was also an ardent student of U.S. military history, including visiting national historic sites across the country.

He loved discussing politics and current events, reading, and building model planes and boats. At 7:30, you could always find him yelling out answers while he was watching “Jeopardy,” his favorite TV show. Pete was fascinated by animals of all kinds and loved watching squirrels and cuddling with his dogs: Pepper, Bear, and, as he spelled it, Sonny.

He was a lifelong learner and an enthusiastic teacher. His four children are all skilled at home and auto maintenance and know a great deal about U.S. history because of their father’s influence. He was a hardworking and devoted provider for his family and his strong work ethic is another legacy he has left with his children.

Pete was an unusually kind and loving husband, father and grandfather. He was a great storyteller and used memorable phrases and colorful language. His phrases, in addition to the great love and pride he showed for his children, children-in-law, and grandchildren, will certainly live on.

In 2013, Pete and his wife, Josie (Monroe), moved to Lewiston for a more rural life and enjoyed living near his children and grandchildren in Maine.

Pete leaves behind his beloved wife of 58 years, Josie; his four children and spouses, Jeannine and Lee Pisarczyk of Elgin, Ill., Peter Jr. and Paula of Lewiston, Michael and Liz of Yarmouth and Denise of Elgin, Ill. He is also survived by four granddaughters he adored and of whom he was incredibly proud, Sarah, Norah, Elena and Jillian. He will be sorely missed by brother-in-law David Monroe, wife Cecilia, and their family and by his close friends and former neighbors, Roger and Darlene Diveley and their family.

Pete was predeceased by his parents and his sister, Jean, and his best friend, Joe Komensky.

Memorial condolences may be expressed at stetsonsfuneralhome.com.

Peter E. Schlax Sr.

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