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Peter Thomas McInerney

November 14, 1943 - May 24, 2020

It is with great sadness that the McInerney family announces the loss of a beloved husband and father. Peter Thomas McInerney Jr. died on May 24,2020 at his Evergreen home.

Peter was born in 1943 to Peter and Cynthia McInerney of Patchogue, NY. After excelling and making lifelong friends at Seton Hall High School, he earned an appointment to the then-new US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. This began an association with flying and with Colorado that would define much of his life.

After graduating in 1965, he served with distinction in Vietnam, flying combat missions in F-4 and F-105 aircraft. After the war, he continued his service in Europe and back home. An unfailingly funny and sweet-natured man, he became a popular pilot instructor as well. By his estimation, his most significant posting may have been MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, where he met and began dating his future wife, Brooke Shreaves. The final chapter of his military career was as an F-16 pilot, instructor and Lt. Colonel with the Vermont Air National Guard, his retirement plaque proudly reading “The only man that can be supersonic and asleep at the same time.”

Although he began his civilian career finding his way around some of the most infamous airline bankruptcies of the 70s and 80s, he eventually found a home at United Airlines. He jumped at the opportunity to settle his family in Evergreen, and proudly served as an instructor at their Denver training center for many years. His very first month of employment with the company, however, found him as a passenger on the ill-fated United Flight 232. While injured in the accident, he approached his recovery with characteristic optimism, and testified on behalf of his fellow passengers who had not shared his good fortune. As soon as he could return to work, he incorporated his experience into his teaching, which he continued for years to come.

Peter deeply valued his family life, and shared his passion for skiing, camping, boating, and travel with his wife and four sons. He described his parenting style as a good-natured form of playful chaos he cheerfully called “combat rules.” In Brooke, he had found a wise and fearless partner, and they had a happy, loving relationship that lasted the rest of his days.

Peter passed surrounded by his family after a long illness at the age of 76. Although he lived a full and blessed life, all who loved him would still say he was taken too soon. He was asked years ago what someone could say to reflect on a life filled with such happiness­, adventure and good fortune. He only answered, with a twinkle in his eye and his trademark grin:

“How did such a little guy with such a big mouth live so long?”

Peter is survived by his wife Brooke, his four sons Beau, Todd, Daniel, and Rox, and his siblings Cynthia, Robin, Mary, and Joseph. 


6 Responses

  1. Stephen Young says:

    Please accept the sincere condolences of the Buckley AFB military Retiree Activities Office (RAO). If we can be of any assistance with notifications to the Defense Finance & Accounting Service, the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), etc you can contact us at 720-847-6693. We can also put you in touch with the base Casualty Assistance Representative if desired. Very sorry for your loss.

    Stephen Young, Lt Col, USAF, Ret

  2. Val & Bob Wadsworth says:

    We are so sorry for your loss. Peter was such a great person and a joy to be around. He was always so calm no matter what was happening. He would turn on the TV and radio to read the newspaper. He was a good father who really loved and spent time with his sons and showed them the world. What a treasure gone way too soon. Fly high our friend, until we meet again. Brooke, Beau, Todd, Dan and Rox we hope memories of Peter will keep you strong to get through this mournful time. With love and hugs, Val and Bob

  3. Howard Cunix says:

    Dear McInerney Family,
    I am sorry for your loss of your husband, father, and brother. May Peter rest in peace, pain-free.
    Howard Cunix

  4. Shari Egan says:

    To my wonderful friends. I am crying after reading this beautiful tribute to Pete, and as I always called him “Big Pete”.
    How I loved to visit with him and hear his stories. Not only aviation stories, but his boating stories and always a family story! He was such an awesome person and so gifted. I will always remember him and as you mentioned, the twinkle in his eye!
    Rest in peace my friend.
    With love and sincere condolences to Pete’s family.
    Shari Egan

  5. Jane Cunix says:

    I am so sorry for the loss of Peter and the pain you are going through. I heart hurts for each of you.

  6. Susan Sidney Shreaves says:

    beautifully written, he was a great man,father and husband!! he had a calmness with his teachings and knowledge with all of his accomplishments he made through his life!! he will be truly missed!! there is a special angel watching over his terrific boys and beautiful wife, God bless you all!!!!!

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