From left, Grosse Pointe Farms City Councilman Peter W. Waldmeir discusses former Mayor James Farquhar’s role in the new Pier Park harbor during the unveiling of a plaque in Farquhar’s honor Sept. 30, 2018, at the  harbor entrance.

From left, Grosse Pointe Farms City Councilman Peter W. Waldmeir discusses former Mayor James Farquhar’s role in the new Pier Park harbor during the unveiling of a plaque in Farquhar’s honor Sept. 30, 2018, at the harbor entrance.

File photo by Donna Agusti


Grosse Pointe Farms mourns loss of Councilman Peter W. Waldmeir

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published July 1, 2019

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GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Grosse Pointe Farms officials are mourning the loss of one of their own.

Peter W. Waldmeir, 65, the longest-serving current member on the City Council, died surrounded by family June 28 after a battle with lung cancer. Waldmeir had been on the Farms City Council for 22 years, and, prior to that, spent four years on the Grosse Pointe City Council.

Although Waldmeir had been suffering from cancer for the last several years, City Manager Shane Reeside said his death came as a shock to officials.

“He was still vibrant at the last (council) meeting (June 10),” Reeside said. “He did not let his illness slow him down. He continued to participate, and he was very socially involved.”

Waldmeir was chair of the city’s Parks & Harbor and Communications committees.

“He was involved in drafting a lot of the policy that was adopted by the city, based upon his legal expertise,” Reeside said. “And he was big on transparency — making sure that we put more information on our website and that we had clear and set procedures to follow.”

A press release from the city notes that Waldmeir was “deeply respected by his colleagues for his intelligence, institutional knowledge and wit.”

“Beyond his incredible skills as a member of City Council, he was a friend,” Mayor Louis Theros said in a press release. “I personally will be forever grateful for his support and counsel over the years, and will miss his mentorship. He loved this community, and his contributions will be felt for generations to come.”

Theros ordered that municipal flags be flown at half-mast in Waldmeir’s honor. Reeside said the flags were lowered June 30 and would remain at half-mast for several days.

City Councilman John Gillooly, a fellow attorney who considered Waldmeir a friend as well as a colleague, is among those remembering him.

“Peter was a master problem solver,” Gillooly said in a press release. “He had a way of taking a complex issue and breaking it down to its most relevant components. He was principled, but also pragmatic and looked for common ground to reach compromise.”

The son of former Detroit News columnist Pete Waldmeir — who previously served on the Grosse Pointe Woods City Council — Peter W. Waldmeir was very active in the Old Newsboys Goodfellow Fund of Detroit, having served as a past president, secretary and general counsel of the nonprofit, which provides Christmas gifts to local children in need. Like his father, Reeside said, Waldmeir was “a skilled writer,” whether he was crafting city policy or the Futuring Report for the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods.

“He was one of the principal authors of the Futuring Report in the early 1990s (while on the Grosse Pointe City Council),” Reeside said. “That has really been kind of a blueprint for the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods for nearly three decades.”

Among its recommendations was the formation of a Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce, which became a reality in October 2005.

“Throughout his tenure on council, he was one of the leaders,” Reeside said.

An attorney at Miller Canfield, Waldmeir graduated summa cum laude from the University of Michigan in 1975 and the George Washington National Law Center — from which he earned his law degree — in 1978. His honors include being named to BTI Client Service All-Stars in 2015, one of only 354 lawyers in the country to be named to that list.

According to the Miller Canfield website, “His willingness to stand up for his client, even when the courts and other powerful national interest groups had been predisposed against it, resulted in high-profile criminal dismissals, civil class decertification and favorable appellate outcomes.”

Waldmeir was detail-oriented and wanted all of the relevant facts in front of him before he made a decision, so applicants for variances might have seen him as a bit of a taskmaster, but Reeside said he had a soft side as well. He was passionate about his community and making it a better place.

“I had the advantage of knowing him over the years,” Reeside said. “He, in reality, was a very caring person.”

Waldmeir is survived by his wife, Sandra, daughter, Sara, her husband, Jon, and their son, Jackson; daughter, Charlotte, and her husband, Domingo; stepson Brent Michael Reno; father Pete Waldmeir; and siblings Patti, Christopher and Lindsey, as well as extended family and friends.

Last reelected in November 2017, Waldmeir’s council term runs until November 2021. At press time, Reeside said he didn’t yet know whether there was time to place the council vacancy on the November ballot as a special election, or whether the council would name someone to fill the remaining two years of Waldmeir’s term. If there is time to place the vacancy on the ballot this year, Reeside said the council might name someone to serve until November. He said the council would likely be addressing this issue during its next meeting at 7 p.m. July 8. Reeside said the council would also likely be looking at a way to publicly acknowledge Waldmeir’s many years of service.

Funeral arrangements were not available at press time.

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