Every community, particularly in small town Minnesota – which St. Michael once was, and really, still is – has their colorful characters.
They’re the people who make up the fabric of that town. Those who were raised here. Or started a business here. Or got involved, somehow, in making that community what it is today.
For those who know Peter and Florence “Flori” Scharber – they were all of the above. Though their journey started much closer to the metropolis of Minneapolis and St. Paul, it wound up here, in St. Michael, where they, together, built Marksman Metals into a regional powerhouse for manufacturing, and established a homestead near Lake Wilhelm that is the stuff of local legend.
And, frankly, you wouldn’t meet two people who were nicer, more spiritual, and, arguably, more deserving of their success and status within the budding communities of St. Michael and Albertville.
It was Pete who got involved, locally. His status as a growing business owner made him a respected businessman, church-goer and community leader. Flori was his partner in every single way. Anyone who knew him realized Pete drove a hard bargain, and that’s what made him a true success.
So when she was diagnosed with cancer – Stage 4 breast cancer – last spring, it shook those who have called STMA home for those many years.
And now, as Flori passed away on Sunday (of course – the Lord’s day), one wonders what will happen to Pete, and to Marksman now.
In the long run, it will press on. For now, though, it has to feel like a rudderless ship. Flori was there – always there – with a smile for guests and employees alike. She welcomed everyone the same – from the mild-mannered website editor to national figures like Rep. Michele Bachmann.
That smile and calm demeanor – which Pete said often kept him grounded – will be sadly missed.
From her obituary:
She is survived by her loving and devoted husband Peter; children Chris Riley (Jim), DeeDee Witthoft (Jay), Kelly Fischer (Dave), Mike Scharber (Paula), Annie Floyd (Ryan), Saylor Hiljus (Nicole) and Ti
ffany Pittman; grandchildren DJ (Annie), Logan, Preston, Steffan, Danny, Sam, Malia, Marlie, Lainey and Emerson; siblings Helen Stimson, Stephen Menart (Merline), Michael Menart (Rose), MaryAnn Egan (Dave), Marjorie Menart and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
The family would like to thank Flori’s loving care-givers Marty, Janelle, Aleah and others, as well as the many doctors and nurses at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.
Visitation for the family will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday September 28 at Peterson Chapel, 300 Main. St. N, St. Michael. Services for Flori will be held at 11 a.m. Friday September 29 at Riverside Church, 20314 Co Rd 14, Big Lake, with visitation one hour prior. Lunch and interment to follow service.