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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 21, 2017

John "Pete" Poulter Phelps

Oct 11, 2017

John "Pete" Poulter Phelps, age 91, of Eloy, Ariz., passed away October 3, 2017.

He is survived by siblings Ruth Noren, Lois (Leonard) Noll, Helen (John) Mathews, Mary Kongable, Thomas (Kumyea) Phelps, Bill (Leore) Phelps, Dave (Lonna) Phelps and 27 nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, T.M. and Sue Phelps, and sister Dorothy Miller.

 

Pete was an avid storyteller, a charming gentleman, a soldier, a genuine cowboy and a voracious reader with a quick quip and a grin. He loved all kinds of pie, sugared orange candy slices and coffee "so strong one could float a horseshoe in it." He loved to tell stories and he loved to laugh.

 

Raised in rural Hillsboro, Iowa, he grew up the oldest boy in a family with nine children. Pete worked at the Burtus Ranch in Manhattan, Kan., and then served in the army during the Korean War as a Forward Observer and Acting Platoon Leader. He was awarded the Bronze Star with "V" (valor) for heroic achievement.

 

He was a Ranch Manager at Santa Margarita for 30 years, awarded Range Manager of the Year in 1967, a founding member of the Arizona Quarter Horse Racing Association and awarded the President's Gavel six times. He bred and raced winning quarter horses. He loved his stallion Zircon most of all. He was a judge for the Western Livestock Show and traveled across the nation judging bulls. Shoo Fly, a western artist, drew Pete's portrait that was displayed in the White House during Reagan's presidential term and the Ronald Reagan Library. He often said, "all hat and no horse" if someone was not pulling their weight. He was featured in the "Head for the Mountains" Busch beer commercials in the 80s and 90s.

 

He will be dearly missed by all those who knew him. Pete carried on his person throughout the Korean War the poem "A Psalm of Life" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Its last lines, "...Let us be up and doing, with a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labor and to wait." No services to be held. Memorials preferred to the Wounded Warrior Project.


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