On Saturday, January 18, 2003, Peter Romich was enjoying exhibiting his beloved Grandaries Exotics at a show in Northern California. After a wonderful day at the show he left only needing 30 points to add another Grandaries grand to his cattery's list of accomplishments.
He returned home, took care of his "fur-kids", chatted on the phone with friends about the show and then went to bed.
He passed away quietly in his sleep early Sunday morning.
His passing is a huge loss to his family, his friends and to the cat fancy. He will be sadly missed.
Peter had been involved in the cat fancy and Exotics in particular for more than 20 years. He named his cattery Grandaries. He joked that he called it that because he was an Aries himself and he intended to produce lots of Grand Champions. Peter like to think positive.
Peter purchased his first show cat in 1979 - a blue Persian male. Just a year later the first litter of Grandaries Exotics were born... and Exotics were his love from then on.
Over the years, he bred solids, tabbies, colorpoints, and most recently, bicolor Exotics.
For those who never met Peter, you missed knowing a wonderful guy. He was smart, passionate, honest and witty, outspoken and gentle, loving and generous. He was never afraid to voice an opinion and yet he was always willing to listen to both sides of an issue.
In October of 2002 he wrote an article for PandEcats.com and ShowCatsOnline.com titled "Keeping a Fresh Eye". In it he shared his excitement at the new directions he was taking his breeding program. In the article he discussed his philosophy of breeding with typical Peter candor.
What makes his enthusiasm even more amazing was that the past year had not been easy for Peter. Early in 2001 he had a stroke just a few days after moving into a new home. He was hospitalized for weeks and was left physically weakened and frail.
Every day he had visitors in the hospital, phone calls, and cards from cat fancy friends telling him to "not give up".
Peter had been a wonderful and generous friend to so many people in the cat fancy over the years and now his friends rallied to help take care of both him and his cats.
As he started along the road to recovery Peter continued to enjoy his hobby to the fullest with their help. His friends dropped off bags of litter at his home, shopped for cat food, and delivered 4 litters of kittens. They trimmed his kitties when he couldn't see properly. They bathed the kitties when he was too weak to stand up to do it. They drove him to cat shows, carting him in his wheelchair along with his cats and all their show paraphernalia.
It meant so much to Peter. And slowly he grew stronger.
Besides his beloved Exotics, Peter's other obsession was pedigrees - and pedigree chasing. A passionate linechaser, his knowledge of bloodlines was unsurpassed.
Peter had worked hard for years putting together a wonderful database of pedigrees. In 2002 he shared the fruits of all his research by creating a online database that included over 85,000 pedigrees that anyone could use to research their own pedigrees.
This was so typical of Peter's generous nature. And what a legacy he leaves to all the future breeders of Exotics and Persians!
I would like to share with you my personal memories of Peter. I still remember clearly my excitement when he agreed to sell me my very first Exotic, Grandaries X-Tention. Tenny became the dam of the first ever Mockingbird Exotic. Then Peter sent me a boy named Ting who became my first Exotic male. Without his generosity there might never have been a Mockingbird Exotic. I owe him so much.
I smile when I recall the thick packet of papers that accompanied each cat he sent me - 53 pages of pedigree tracing ancestors back to almost the beginning of time. Peter's passion for linechaser was contagious and I found myself devoting hours to tracing the pedigrees back on all my cats. It all seems like it happened just yesterday.
And I was certainly not alone in being the recipient of Peter's generosity. He shared his wonderful cats with Exotic breeders all around the world. Perhaps more importantly he shared his knowledge, which was considerable, and his caring with everyone he met... sometimes in small ways... sometimes in big.
I know you are in heaven now Peter, with your beloved Petunia purring on your lap. I bet you are discussing pedigrees with other cat breeders and laughing and joking in your gravely voice.
Thank you Peter for everything you gave to the cat fancy. I miss you. We will all miss you. May you be at peace. You will never be forgotten. My deepest sympathy goes to your family.
Peter's webmaster, Kathy Durdick, has volunteered
to maintain Peter's searchable database of pedigrees and
PandEcats.com and ShowCatsOnline.com will assume the costs of the web space needed in perpetuity.
In this way, Peter's legacy of linechasing will be available to all future breeders forever.
You can visit Peter's website at Grandaries Persians & Exotics