Peter Secchia Wiki – Biography
Peter Secchia, a successful Michigan businessman and philanthropist who counted Republican presidents as friends, died.
Peter Secchia was an American businessman and diplomat who served as the United States Ambassador to Italy and San Marino from 1989 to 1993.
Secchia spent decades at a Grand Rapids lumber and construction company, Universal Forest Products, first as a salesman and ultimately the majority owner. It went public in 1993.
He belonged to a generation of Grand Rapids business leaders that poured millions of dollars of personal wealth into the community. Secchia helped Michigan State University, his alma mater, move the School of Human Medicine to the city in a building with his name.
Peter Secchia — a Grand Rapids-area businessman and Republican megadonor who once said, “If you don’t want to support Donald Trump: Shut up.
A Michigan State University Graduate, Secchia eventually became CEO and chairman of the board of Universal Forest Products, a company that manufactures engineered wood components. His political involvement led him to roles as vice chair of the Republican National Commitee and U.S. Ambassador to Italy during George H. W. Bush’s presidency.
At a 2016 Trump rally, Secchia criticized Republicans who were slow to embrace Trump.
“Donald Trump was the only one of 17 candidates who read the tea leaves right,” Secchia said at the time, saying that too many others in the GOP were “timid” and “politically correct,” according to an MLive report.
It is not clear if he attended any of Trump’s recent rallies, where supporters have defied coronavirus pandemic recommendations like wearing masks or social distancing.
“My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Peter F. Secchia, our beloved husband, father and grandfather, passed away this morning at the age of 83. Throughout his life, Peter was firmly committed to his family, his business, his community and his country. His presence in all will be deeply missed,” his wife, Joan Secchia, said in a statement.
Peter Secchia Age
Peter Secchia has died at the age of 83-years-old.
Secchia served in the United States Marine Corps from 1956 to 1959 and graduated from Michigan State University in 1963 with a degree in economics.
Secchia was a fund-raiser in the Republican Party in Michigan. He started as chairman of the Kent County, Michigan Republican Committee and later became the chairman of the 5th Congressional District of Michigan committee. He was elected to be Michigan’s Republican National Committeeman in 1980, 1984, and 1988. Secchia was a Vice Chairman of the Republican National Committee and headed its Midwest Region. He was host chairman of the 1985 RNC Midwest Leadership Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Secchia was on the national advisory committee of the 1988 George Bush for President Committee. Secchia also founded the Lake Michigan Conference, and was a National Co-Chair of the Dole for President Campaign.
From 1989 to 1993 Secchia served as the United States Ambassador to Italy and San Marino. His nomination was controversial as he was one of several made by Bush of long-time financial backers and financial supporters including Walter Curley (Ambassador of France), Joseph Zappala (Ambassador of Spain), Mel Sembler (Ambassador of Australia), Frederic Bush Morris (Ambassador of Luxembourg), and Joy Silverman (Ambassador of Barbados).
Secchia served as the CEO and chairman of the board of Universal Forest Products, a company that manufactures engineered wood components and operates manufacturing plants and distribution centers in the United States (98), Mexico (2), and Canada (2). He has served as Chairman of the River City Food Company which has 29 restaurants, catering facilities, and banquet locations in the states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.
In 1994 he was appointed to chair the Secchia Commission I by Governor John Engler of Michigan which was focused on improving government services. Secchia Commission II focused on public sector pensions.
Cause of Death
Secchia died on October 21, 2020, at the age of 83 after contracting COVID-19.
Peter Secchia, a successful Michigan businessman and philanthropist who counted Republican presidents as friends, died Wednesday at age 83.
COVID-19 contributed to Secchia’s death, although he had health problems for several months and was receiving care at home, said Amy LeFebre, a family spokeswoman.
“We wouldn’t be on the west side of the state without the Secchia family,” Dr. Norman Beauchamp Jr., executive vice president for health sciences, said in 2019.
Secchia, a New Jersey native with a boisterous, back-slapping style, was a major player in the Michigan Republican Party; the party’s headquarters in Lansing bears his name. He also was close to President Gerald Ford and President George H.W. Bush, and served as U.S. ambassador to Italy during the Bush presidency.
Secchia had a crucial role in turning an area of old gypsum mines in Kent County into the 1,400-acre Millennium Park. A statue of him, commissioned by Richard and Helen DeVos before their deaths, was unveiled there last year.
“Throughout his life, Peter was firmly committed to his family, his business, his community and his country. His presence in all will be deeply missed,” wife Joan Secchia said.
Ford first met Secchia in 1964 when the future president, a Grand Rapids-area congressman, was running for re-election.
“Peter made things happen. He was bigger than life. … Dad and mom treasured his playful sense of humor, good counsel and abiding friendship,” the Ford family said in a statement.