Peter Sundin

Baker City, 1940-2020

Peter William Sundin, 80, of Baker City, died June 23, 2020, at Caldwell, Idaho.

He had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer and was able to remain home until his final days.

Peter’s celebration of life will take place on June 30 at his daughter’s home in Caldwell, officiated by Grace Lutheran’s Pastor Dana Brooks. Due to COVID-19 restrictions only invited guests may attend but well-wishers are welcome to visit Peter’s Tribute Wall at

Peter was born on Feb. 11, 1940, at Bellflower, California, to Walter Dale Sundin and Dorothy Gold Wallace. The third of four children, he was preceded in death by his older sister, Eva Covington, and his younger brother, John Sundin. He is survived by his older brother, Carl Sundin.

Peter’s siblings gave him nephews and nieces who love him dearly and have described him as the most influential man in their lives. Peter kept this large family close by writing 557 community letters (called Sundin’s Sundries) and sending them on a monthly basis.

Peter married the love of his life, Clarane, on April 19, 1975. She blessed him with two stepchildren, DaVon Thompson and Daniel Couzens. They in turn gave him grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Monica (Scott) Hayes and her daughters, Sami, Madi, and Roxi; Jessica (Austin) Nauahi and her daughters, Claire and Hailey; Kiya (Marty) Kalb and her daughter, Khloe; and Keysha Couzens. Peter and Clarane had one daughter, Becky (David) Mitchell and thereby three more grandchildren, Abigail Blair, Erik Blair and Luke Mitchell.

After graduating from Bell High in 1957, Peter attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, majoring in History. He turned this into a teaching credential, teaching fourth and fifth grades in San Bernardino County for several years. Ready to “get out of the mess” as he so lovingly called Southern California, he took a job with Child Protective Services in Heppner. Eventually he transferred to Baker City, which is where he met Clarane.

After working in CPS for 13 years, he had another career change, this time to a neighborhood grocery store owner. Many will remember Pete from behind the cash register at Tenth Street Market, which he and Clarane owned for more than 20 years.

During lulls at the market, Peter moved from writing the occasional letter to the editor to full-length novels that would fit in the genre of Christian romance. A voracious reader, writing came easily and he would translate a skeleton plot outline on a piece of scratch paper into living characters and settings.

“Will’s ‘Mr.’ Degree,” inspired by Becky’s college days, was followed by “The Key to Paradise,” “Through the Gates of Splendor,” “The Prodigal Daughter,” “An Unexpected Gift,” “Dwelling in Beulah Land,” “The Son of Ancient Kings,” and a book of theatrical plays. These plays were almost all put on by Vision Charter School’s Drama Troupe, under the direction of his daughter, Becky.

For the 45 years Peter lived in Baker, he called First Lutheran Church his church home. From singing in the choir to teaching Sunday School and even preaching sermons when the pastor was out of town, Peter will be remembered for his rich baritone voice and Reader’s Digest jokes.

He and Clarane loved nothing more than to hop in the car and drive somewhere. This included a memorable 1978 journey to Alaska (pre-Alaskan highway) and a 1991 cross-country trip to Louisiana. Peter also enjoyed playing cards, always keeping score, and was referred to as “Fast Pencil.” He and Clarane were huge baseball fans, both jeering and cheering on their favorite team, the Seattle Mariners. After his daily Bible readings, Peter kept a journal and would chronicle everything from the day’s weather to baseball scores to family news.

To plant a tree in memory of Peter Sundin as a living tribute, please visit Tribute Store.

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