Ross Pettit “Pete” Racine

Ross Pettit “Pete” Racine


Ross Pettit Racine, better known as “Pete,” 69, of Stevensville, Michigan passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by family on July 7, 2015.  Pete was born on February 7, 1946 to the late William and Cynthia (Pettit) Racine in Hinsdale, Illinois. He was also preceded in death by his brother, Charles Henry Racine.

 Pete was a graduate of Hinsdale High School and the City College of San Francisco. He met his wife Nancy when they worked together at Win Schuler’s restaurant in Jackson, Michigan, and they were married in 1970 in Lakeside, Michigan. They moved to St. Joseph in 1972, and after more than a decade with Win Schuler’s, Pete and Nancy established the Grande Mere Inn in Stevensville in 1980, which they owned and operated for 35 years.

 Through his work as a restaurateur, he was a beloved mentor to hundreds of employees and a warm and gracious host to countless customers and friends. Along with Nancy and the employees of the Grande Mere Inn, he was an enthusiastic supporter of many local community organizations, including the Readiness Center, Sarett Nature Center, the Benton Harbor Soup Kitchen, the Curious Kids’ Museum, the Berrien County Juvenile Center, the Krasl Arts Center, and Lake Michigan College. Their community service work was recognized in June 2015 with the presentation of the Michigan Governor’s Corporate Community Leader Award. He also served his community as a foster parent, a Sunday School teacher at First Congregational Church in St. Joseph, president and member of the Board of Directors of Child and Family Services, board member of Easter Seals, and a member of the Citizens Advisory Council for the Berrien County Juvenile Court.

 Pete touched thousands of lives and was a friend to everyone he met. He loved the beach and hiking in the dunes of Grand Mere State Park. He enjoyed traveling and often got to know local shopkeepers, hoteliers and restaurateurs extraordinarily well. He loved going to NASCAR races with his son Charley, and was the only guy in the stands in a Brooks Brothers shirt. He was always quick to pick up the phone, maintaining friendships across the country and from as far back as kindergarten. He loved his family immensely and unconditionally, always putting them first. He was upbeat, energetic, and loved making people laugh. He often joked that although he was never a member of a social or service club, he wanted his obituary to state that he was a member of Sam’s Club.

He is survived by his wife Nancy; daughter Stacy (John) Lynch; son Charles (Tricia) Racine; six grandchildren: Harleigh, Raci, Hannah, Max, Henry and Ben; brother William (Nancy) Robert Racine; father-in-law Devlin Tompkins; sisters-in-law Marilyn Middleton Racine, Susanne (Bob) Kingsley, Chris (Tom) Williams; brother-in-law Michael (Lynn) Tompkins; and numerous nieces and nephews. Private family services will be held, with a Celebration of Life to be held at a later date. Those wishing to make a memorial donation in Pete’s name may do so to the Readiness Center, P.O. Box 1352, Benton Harbor, MI 49022. Those wishing to leave an online condolence for Pete may do so at

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