Pete Mitchell DeGroot
Dairyman and story-teller Pete DeGroot peacefully passed away at his home in Roswell, NM, on December 18, 2023, to be with his Creator.
Born in Artesia, CA, on February 11, 1950, Pete was the son of Pier and Faye DeGroot, the fifth-born of seven, with four sisters and two brothers. A multi-generational dairy family, they moved the cows to Chandler, AZ, when he was 16. At 19 years Pete married Jannifer Paula Jones, also 19 and daughter of Charles and Lillian Jones of Phoenix, AZ. By the time of the birth of their first child a year later, both Pier and Charles had passed away at early ages; Pete found himself assuming the helm of a 250-cow dairy farm and his own young family, at the age of 20. Over the next nine years Pete and Jan would add three additional children to the world.
In 1981 Pete moved the family and now-600 cows to Roswell, NM. There he began to grow the business at a steady rate, adding a second dairy facility in 1993 and a third in 2004. His peers were correctly of the opinion that Pete was a great cow guy and shrewd business in a tumultuous industry, but he would also admit that he had at times benefited from providential good fortune. Before the family began to divest itself in 2021, his partnerships with his sons and nephew represented 11,500 cows milking.
Throughout much of his adult life, Pete suffered a passion for golf—with a great deal more composure and placidity than most people suffer that same condition. His love for the game was fueled in part by the bottomless affection he owned for his friends; several times a week they would all take a lunch together, play a round together, and then enjoy a toddy together—all the while sending each other (and the rest of the room) into hysterical laughter with their stories and banter.
Pete later assumed a second passion of exploring the United States of America in a motorcoach. Suddenly he was doing two things no one had ever expected: wandering our great land as a sincerely curious tourist and accumulating a second set of friends as precious to him as his original set. Those still in New Mexico or elsewhere regularly received phone calls for the relating of some hilarious event or exchange.
But his lifelong passion was family. He loved Jan, his children, and grandchildren so very much; and everything he achieved was designed for improving the opportunities of those precious to him. From others Pete expected real and sincere work but he also overly rewarded it, and this amazing generosity poured out to so many other souls beyond his kin. He was one of the great lovers of laughter in this world, but the laugh that entertained and pleased him the most was sweet Jan’s.
Pete was preceded in death by his parents, Pier and Faye DeGroot, and his brothers, Bert and Mitch DeGroot. He is survived by his wife, Jannifer DeGroot; his sisters Henrietta Bosma, Winnie Hoeksema, Gracie Huitsing, and Terri Kloostra; his children Charlie DeGroot, Denise Thayer, Tommy DeGroot, and Joey DeGroot and nephew Doug DeGroot; and his 15 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Jan requests that memorial gifts be directed to The Community Kitchen or to the general fund of Grace Community Church.
Memorial services will be held on Wednesday, January 3, 2024, at 10:00am at Grace Community Church.