In Memory

Peter K. Ness

Peter K. Ness

Peter Karl Ness

July 4, 1942 - January 20, 2014 
Resided in Bloomfield Hills, MI

Peter K. Ness, an avid sailor and senior member of Bayview Yacht Club, died January 20, 2014 at the age of 71. Sailing was his true passion, starting with his college days at the University of Michigan. He would come home every weekend from school to help his dad and his dad's business partner build their own sailboat from start to finish. They worked night and day in a Grosse Pointe garage owned by an old bootlegger, slowly watching their dream turn into a reality. The boat would be named the "Flying Buffalo". It was a boat that went on to win many races and would become the most highly regarded of its type.

Peter would eventually go on to graduate from U of M with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. He then began to work as a metallurgist for Induction Steel, a company started and operated by his family, until it was sold in the mid '70s. Follwing his time there, Peter started up his own manufacturers rep business called Castings & Forgings. The company sold those very items, from which the company was named, for machine parts to different foundries.

Peter married his wife, Sally (nee Seelye) on September 9, 1989 and they have lived together in Bloomfield Hills for all that time. 

Besides his wife, Peter is survived by his children, Laura Lynn Ness and Karl Robert Ness (Lynn), his cherished grandchildren, Samantha and Benjamin, and his sister, Margot Ness. Peter was preceded in death by his parents Karl and Hilde Ness. 

The Funeral Service will take place Friday 10:30 a.m. at A.J. Desmond & Sons Funeral Home, 2600 Crooks Road (Between Maple & Big Beaver), 248-362-2500 with Rev. Dr. Larry Austin officiating. The family will receive friends Thursday 3-8 p.m. 

Memorial tributes may be made to the American Cancer Society or Michigan Humane Society. - See more at:

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01/22/14 10:57 AM #1    

Arthur J. Post D. D. S.

Peter was a nice guy and he will be missed. 

01/22/14 11:04 AM #2    

James P. Thistlethwaite

I remember Pete fondly, his great smile, impish humor and twinkling eyes. And he could run faster than a speeding bullet!

01/22/14 11:21 AM #3    

Grant W. Kurtz

I've always liked nice, happy people and have surrounded myself with wonderful friends. There are too many pushers in the world, and Pete was not one of them.  I do regret not seeing Pete in recent years.  He always put a smile on your face.

01/22/14 03:10 PM #4    

Peggy Jeffs (Fahnestock)

I am so glad that I got to see and talk with Peter at our last reunion.  He was a very special friend.  He was an avid sailor as a teen.  His family had a large sailboat, called the HappiNess as I recall, that they kept at Bayview Yacht Club.  While Saturdays were for racing Sundays were for friends and family.  I spent several Sundays on the boat sailing around Lake St. Clair.  He had a custom car - white and low - that he built from a kit.  He loved that little car.  And he was a pretty terrific tennis player as well.  He was a truly nice guy and a wonderful friend.

01/22/14 06:16 PM #5    

Penelope L. Distin (VanGinderdeuren)

Peter was a good friend and a good brother-in-law. Bob sailed with Peter and his dad on Happiness. I will miss his smile and laugh.  I also remember his was perfect for him!


01/22/14 07:55 PM #6    

Mark Nyland

Sorry to see such fine man pass away and it happened on my 73rd birthday.

01/22/14 07:57 PM #7    

Richard A. Law

What a good guy.  A dedicated Bayview Yacht Club sailor who contributed to the well being of the club for over fifty three years.  You could always find a smile on his face.  Peter will be missed - but not forgotten.

Richard A. Law

01/22/14 11:17 PM #8    

Peter M. Aronsson

This is a note from "Big Pete" to "Little Pete" - not that I am that tall but Peter Ness was really short in grade school at Maire School.  We had a lot of fun - did some crazy stuff and Peter always had a smile.  The last time I saw Peter was at the 50th Reunion - he looked great!  What is amazing now is that I had this very detailed dream two nights ago all about Peter Ness - about when they started building "Flying Buffalo" in a milk truck garage down somewhere around Windmill Point and how all of his cousins came over from Germany and they all pushed to get the hull done in time for some race.  I went down there and they were all speaking German and I was absolutely amazed at the quality of the thing they were building.  They had moulded the boot top (waterline) into the fiverglass before removing it from the mould and it was absolutely perfect - I never thought anyone could do work like that and these guys were doing it in a milk truck garage... The rest is history as "Flying Buffalo" went on the win so many Mackinac Races (most first in class and first overall) that I lost count.  Later Peter & his dad Karl bought a boat from me when I was working in New England - it was a black 42 footer which they named "Happiness" same name as their original boats back in the 1950"s before the "Flying Buffalo" years.  Bob Kerr - one of the longtime crew members died of a heart attack on that boat in the Bluenose race a few years later.  Peter related the horrible experience of bring his good friend back into port.  There were three members of the class of 1960 that sailed as regular crew on "Flying Buffalo" and "Happiness" - Peter Ness, Chuch Riley & Bob Kerr --- They are all gone now.....


The little car - I hope someone has some great photos of that car - Peter & his dad built that car - I thought from scratch - they originally had a small sports car windshield - but, saftey standards of the day required an official saftey windshield - so they just bolted a big flat windshield on the front which looked just terrible.   You certainly knew when Peter was driving by as the whole package was unique.


Basketball - Oh My God!  No one would ever have thought that a little guy like Peter would have tried out for the basketball team - but he did and he was amazing.  I think he had as much court time as the big tall stars.  He was the guy that could dribble down the court and feed the ball to the big guys.  I can remember being at the games and he would start out at one end and race down between all of the big guys and pass off the ball under the basket - the crowd would go wild - it was amazing to see.  Check out the annual team photo and the little guy in the center of the front row is Peter Ness.


Peter was an amazing student particularly in Math.  I bumped into him in many classes at the U. of M. and he helped me a lot.  One time I was studying for a big exam and I was looking at old exams in the files at my fraternity.  I came across a problem that I could not solve - I called Peter and he gave me the clue right away - next day after the official exam Peter called me and asked - "How did you know that question would be on the exam?"  We both did really well on that one.


Bayview - My mother died in 2011 and we had a family dinner at Bayview on a Friday night - usually every Friday night Peter would be on a stool at the far end of the bar all by himself - first thing I did was to go into the bar and see if Peter was there - he was not - and that is now really too sad.


On the 20th of January, with the wind and spray on his face, Peter Ness set sail on "The" great voyage to distant shores.  Even now, as his departing beloved "Happiness" is fading on the far horizon, we can see him clearly, Bayview burgee flying high, sails trimmed perfectly, his hand on the tiller holding firmly to his course.  Each night when darkness comes we will look again and find his masthead light..."The unfailing beacon" that was his life.  Thank you Peter for all of the great times we had with you.  God Speed Peter Ness......

07/27/17 11:52 AM #9    

Douglas J. Searles

Peter arraigned my first "blind" date, he driving, me and my date in the back seat. Such a friend to take on such a socially insecure guy. Not unexpectedly, I don't remember her name...but for three days my heart raced, such delight, such confusion: a hearty welcome to the eventual joys of adulthood! Nothing untoward happened...just a kiss, if a long one, but an awakening, one of many in my life...and to Peter my everlasting thanks! 

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