Pete Bida, 91, of Berkley, died Saturday, Jan. 12, 2008, surrounded by his loving family. He was born Feb. 29, 1916, in Hawkins, Wis., to Sam and Kate (Kencyr) Bida. As a child, his family moved to South New Berlin, N.Y., to establish a profitable dairy, egg and produce farm during the Depression. Mr. Bida supported the family by assisting the local butcher and performing odd jobs that built his great physical strength, positive work ethic and compassion to help others. A graduate of South New Berlin High School, he lettered in football, baseball and track. His athletic prowess earned him a boxing scholarship to the University of Idaho, where he studied mechanical engineering. His most memorable experience at U of was a three-round exhibition match with then heavyweight champion Max Baer. Working in Detroit during World War II, he designed, developed and custom-built tooling and dies used in the fabrication of aircraft and armored vehicle components. He mentored many apprentices in the development of progressive automobile dies, including the late Stephen Yokich while at Heidrich Tool and Die in Oak Park. Mr. Bida was active in UAW Local 155 even after his retirement. It Royal Oak, he met his soul mate, Grace, whom he wed in September of 1950. Members of Our Lady of La Salette Church, they raised four God-fearing children in their Berkley home and shared many cooking, hunting, fishing, sledding and skiing adventures with their children while building and enjoying a cottage with friends and family on Murphy Lake. He was predeceased by his wife, Grace, on Sept. 23, 2005. Siblings Eve DeForest of Sidney, N.Y., Katherine Cole of Binghampton, N.Y., Stella Lyons of South New Berlin, N.Y.; Mary, John, Frank and Paul Bida of South New Berlin and Sam Bida of Ely, Nev. are also deceased. Surviving are his sons, Peter (Barbara) and Gary (Cheryl); daughters, Kathy (Louis) Terhlen and Patricia Bida; sisters-in-law, Elma Bida of South New Berlin, Elizabeth Barbier of Oxford, Lorraine (Irvin) Fox of Orlando, Fla.; 10 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; dog Suzy and cat Charlie. Memorial visitation, 3-9 p.m. Wednesday with 6 p.m. memorial service, Sawyer-Fuller Funeral Home, 2125 W.12 Mile, Berkley; inurnment, 10 a.m. Thursday, Roseland Park Cemetery, Berkley; memorials, Berkley Animal Hospital, online memories, www.sawyerfuller.com.
Published in The Daily Tribune on January 14, 2008.
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