Members of the recreational marine industry were deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Peter Spiegel, 53, of Smoker Craft, who passed away unexpectedly on October 23, 2016. A 21-year Smoker Craft employee, Peter was highly respected across the recreational boating industry, serving as the company’s Regional Director of Sales.
A family man, Peter was the beloved husband of Lisa Spiegel for 27 years and loved father of Jessica and Julia Spiegel. He was also the loving brother of Barb Compton; cherished son of Herbert and the late Marga Spiegel. As a dedicated father, he was passionate about spending time with Jessica and Julia, taking them on snow boarding/ski trips, vacations and attending sporting events.
Professionally, Peter played a significant role in developing Smoker Craft’s substantial dealer network across Canada as well as promoting the Smoker Craft, Starcraft, Sylvan and SunChaser brands.
A passionate boater and a tireless advocate for the boating industry, he freely donated his time and energy in support of numerous industry initiatives, including serving on the board of directors for the National Marine Manufacturers Association of Canada (NMMA Canada).
Beyond his support and contributions to the industry, Peter was best known for his warm smile, hearty laugh, and genuine friendship. His sense of humour and incredible zest for life always brought out the best in those around him.
“I first met Pete in 2005 when I was new to the boat business,” recall Moe Symons of Pirate Cove Marina. “He immediately struck me as a person that you could really talk to. My wife and I had the pleasure of getting to know Pete and his amazing wife, Lisa, during a Smoker Craft cruise in 2007. Pete arranged a shore excursion for a group of us, renting a van and hitting a store for provisions before heading off to a local beach where I proposed to my wife. After moving to the Thousand Islands, we constantly talked about getting together for a boat ride and dinner at their new place. This past summer, we finally set a date in stone and stuck to it. What a great evening we had, in spite of getting completely soaked when the skies opened up while we were on the water. We enjoyed plenty of laughs since we all looked like drowned rats. Pat and I are so glad that we made that dinner date, since less than two months later he was gone. My life is better for having known Pete. He packed an incredible amount of living into 53 years and he was taken far too soon.”
“I was fortunate to meet Peter several years ago, the chance encounter created a friendship that has lasted for years,” says Jared Chartrand of Northstar Marine Insurance. “Over the years, I have had the privilege of spending many an evening with Peter, laughing and reminiscing about the crazy boat show antics that we have all been a part of. He always made time at a show to catch up and see how you were doing no matter how busy he was. If Peter was around my neck of the woods, I knew I was on deck for some fun and excitement. At first it was just hanging out at boat shows, somewhere along the line it changed, I was welcomed into his life. I would get included in dinners with Lisa, Jessica and Julia, when they were visiting whatever boat show we were at that month. If he had a friend outside the industry that he was meeting up with I would get the invite to tag along. If he was in my local area where I lived he would call and make arrangements to meet up for dinner. Peter was always there and always truly a great friend.
“One year [at the Toronto show] we did a little research, got prepared we ended up at a bar on College St. They had a great live band and there were just a few people in the place. The bar staff knew we were not the normal Sunday night crowd, but that did not matter Peter was our ambassador he was able to bridge the local crowd and the boat show crew. Year after year we have gone back to the same bar, the staff, and the band all know us by name, some of the original member have left the industry, we have added some new faces to the group along the way. The bar now has a line up to get in, the bar staff is overwhelmed they try desperately to keep up with crowd that now gathers on the Sunday night … everyone has a great time year after year. This happened year after year because of Peter Spiegel he was the glue that has held it together and made it fun for everyone. Peter would always say ‘we are rock stars – look at all these people they are here having a great time because of us’. I would change that and say they are here because of Peter. He was the guy that kept the friendship alive and allowed us to have the fun we had over the years.”
“I had the privilege of working closely with and for Peter and SmokerCraft marine for over 20 years,” says Mark DeBorde, Smoker Craft’s Mid West District Sales Manager. “Peter not only loved the company and the marine industry, but he truly loved boating. He loved sharing it with his friends as well as his wife and two girls, whom he loved even more. I miss him every day, and the industry will likely never again see anyone like Peter.”
“Pete started off here as a regional sales manager,” remembers Starcraft’s SVP of Marketing, Peter Barrett. “He worked his way up to a Director of Sales. He lived in Ottawa and recently moved out to Mallorytown, Ontario. It was close to the thousand islands and he loved the opportunity to the US and loved the boating in that area. He also recently learned to wake surf. He was out surfing behind one of our new models just this past summer.
“Besides sales, Peter was very active in product development for Smoker Craft and the other Starcraft family boat brands. He also played a role in product training for dealers and served as a good sounding board for new ideas and marketing projects.
“Peter loved Poker Runs as well as go-fast boats. It was evident that he had a broad knowledge of fishing, pontoons and how to get people together. Outside of Smoker Craft, Peter had an incredible group of friends. He had a flowing personality, good business sense and passion for boating – it made him very successful at what he did.”
“I have had the utmost pleasure of knowing Peter for over 20 years,” says Roy Baird, National Accounts Manager for Taylor Publishing Group. “He was a true professional. He was very devoted to his family, his company and his friends. I am honoured to have had him as a friend and will sincerely miss his company. I will cherish the many memories I have of him and the great times we had together. Peter loved boating and our industry so much. He gave back in so many ways, such as donating his time to industry boards and was a mentor to so many. Peter you will be truly missed.”
“I reported to Peter from 2009 to 2015 and I’m going to miss him so much,” says Smoker Craft’s District Sales Manager – Midwest East, Greg Yarbrough. “He was the life of the party wherever he went. There are not many people who are as well rounded a human being as he was.
“We shared a lot of interests, such as live music, hockey and football. He was the ultimate family man as well as mentor and dear friend.
“When it came to business, he had a way of taking a negative situation and turn it into a positive one quickly. He could relate to a dealers given his past in the sales side.”