Peter J. Maki (1948-2018)

(below) Obituary published in The Journal on Sept. 28, 2018.

Peter J. Maki was born on May 16, 1948 in Owen, Wisconsin in the house built by his Finnish immigrant grandparents who had homesteaded the land. Peter grew up milking cows for the family's dairy, raising cattle for 4-H, playing the tuba in the school band and wrestling. After graduating in 1966 from Owen-Withee High School, he enrolled at UW-River Falls where he studied mathematics, joined the Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity and met his future wife Cindy Wyatt.

In 1969, a new adventure beckoned him and he joined the Peace Corps, serving two years in Bolivia with a dairy project. He returned home in 1971, married Cindy, and the two of them began life together as a Peace Corps team in El Salvador. Peter maintained life-long friendships with his Peace Corps buddies and loved to tell colorful stories of his years as a volunteer.

Peter's love for adventure and travel led him to become a dairy farmer in Missouri, a park ranger in Maui, a college student in Wisconsin (again!) and a USDA loan officer in California. Whenever opportunity knocked, Peter packed up the family--which eventually included daughter Alison and son Christopher--and dove head-first into his new community. Peter could literally make a home anywhere he put his heart, and he even built two of the family's houses with his own hands.

Peter was also good at building community and wherever he went, he got involved. Some of his most active years were the ones he spent in Oroville, CA, where he was part of the city planning commission, organized a Certified Farmers' Market and spearheaded the Feather River Nature Center. He was also part of the effort to create the Veterans' Memorial in downtown Oroville, a lasting tribute to courage.

Peter spent most of his retirement years in Houston, MO, where he was active in environmental stewardship groups like Missouri Stream Team and Fuels for Schools. He also enjoyed horseback riding with Cindy, and as always, grew a wonderful garden. He always had a project and brought incredible energy to his home and community!

Peter's physical vitality diminished during his 2-year struggle with cancer but he remained strong spiritually. A member of both the United Methodist Church and the Self-Realization Fellowship, Peter connected with God in both communal worship and private meditation. Near the end, it was clear that Peter was ready to say goodbye to those he loved and be united with the One who loved him. He entered the eternal embrace on September 9, 2018, in Mancos, CO.

Peter was preceded in death by his parents, Bill and Ilene Maki; brothers Timmy and Roger; and two infant children. He is survived by his wife Cindy; daughter Alison (Chris Christofferson); son Chris (Tina); granddaughters Goldie, Taylor and Kate; siblings David Maki (Roberta), Kathy Jahnke (Bruce), and Marilyn Folz (Merlin); and many beloved cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.

Private celebrations of life will be held with family and close friends in California and Wisconsin. Donations in Peter's name can be made to the Mancos UMC, 470 W. Ave., Mancos CO 81328 or to Hospice of Montezuma, 512 N. Broadway, Cortez CO 81321.


Peter Maki was born and raised on a farm in Wisconsin. He grew up raising cattle, milking them for his family's own dairy.

When he finished high school, Maki continued his education at the University of Wisconsin, where he studied mathematics and met his wife.

After college, he decided to join the Peace Corps, serving two years in Bolivia (1969-71) with a dairy project. When he returned home, he and his wife decided to serve again, this time together as a Peace Corps team in El Salvador (1971-73).

Following his Peace Corps service, Peter pursued some of his many interests. He became a dairy farmer in Missouri for a period of time, but would later become a park ranger in Maui. He also went back to school at the University of Wisconsin and became a USDA loan officer.

While living in Oroville California, Peter was a member of the city planning commission. He also organized farmer's markets and helped create a Veterans Memorial.

During his years of retirement in Missouri he focused his energy on behalf of environmental stewardship groups such as the Missouri Stream Team and Fuels for Schools."