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Fond farewell to Pete Trasborg

Posted in Features on April 7, 2016
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Time moves forward. You don’t really notice, but it never stops. I’ve got some grey creeping in my beard, and lately when I bend down low to lift something really heavy, I make this noise I don’t ever remember making. Apparently I’m getting older but my brain still thinks I’m in my 20s and immortal. So when I got a phone call on the early morning of May 22 telling me my friend and coworker of 10 years, Pete Trasborg, had died in his sleep a few hours earlier, I really wasn’t ready for it. I’m not gonna eulogize Pete here—he wouldn’t like that. But I am gonna use this opportunity to get the last word in on a buddy who I normally allowed to get the last word.

For those of you who aren’t into Jeeps you probably don’t know Pete, but he came aboard our all-Jeep sister publication, Jp magazine, back in 2005. He was a true, die-hard Jeep fanatic with an encyclopedic knowledge of XJ/MJ and late CJ vehicles, practical electronic applications, and good beer. If you ever met him, he no doubt made you smile. Pete was and always will be one of those likable characters that some of us are fortunate enough to appreciate, but he also frustrated the hell out of me. I imagine the same can be said of most close friends. He had this bulldogged nature of never letting go of anything. Tenacious just barely begins to cover it. He’s latch onto a harebrained idea and then research the ever-loving snot out of it online, on the phone with friends, and mostly standing in the doorway of my office. If I was at home and the phone rang and I saw “Pete Trasborg” on the screen, I knew I needed to drop what I was doing for at least the next hour ’cause an epic Pete bench-racing session was about to begin. It usually started with him asking a “hypothetical” question about some weirdo Jeep problem he was having or some ill-advised automotive plan he was about to hatch. After giving him my best, most-sagacious advice rooted in reality and personal experience, Pete would then argue against my input in a long, circuitous discussion that always ended in him forging ahead with his original idea. Sometimes it didn’t exactly work out for him, but most of the time, it did. I used to think he had some sort of blind Mr. Magoo-type luck that saw him safely through these automotive pitfalls, but now as I reflect, it’s probably because of all that dogged work he put into every little thing he did. And as I sit here typing and remembering the big lug, along with his smile and enjoyment of every little thing he took on, that intense effort for everything he tried is the most endearing takeaway I have from our relationship. It’s what I admire most about the guy, and if any lesson can be learned from Pete’s life, it’s what I hope others take from his time among us.

Never give up. Never surrender. Chase your dreams and put the effort in to make them come to fruition. Whether it was moving to SoCal from New Jersey to take a job as a magazine guy—even though he had no place to live when he got here—or swapping in a pathetic 366ci Chevy big-block that got 4 mpg in his M-715; or building a 692 hp, 777 lb-ft turbocharged Jeep inline six-cylinder for a Scrambler he hadn’t even built yet; or entering a 2WD MJ Comanche and yucking it up at Jp’s off-road–oriented “Sh!%box Derby” competition, Pete chased his dreams, marched to the beat of his own drum, and (I think) had a darned good time doing it. Well done, brother. See you on the other side.

-Christian Hazel

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