Henri  Peter-Contesse
Henri  Peter-Contesse
Henri  Peter-Contesse
Henri  Peter-Contesse

Obituary of Henri Peter-Contesse

Born in Schwarzenbach, Germany, Luzia left home at 16 to work at her aunt’s restaurant in Zurich, Switzerland. She later met Henri, a student at the Swiss Institute of Technology, who rented a room above the restaurant. He graduated with a degree in electrical engineering in 1948.

She studied at La Pouponniere in Switzerland, and nannied for several years, exchanging letters with Henri and meeting when they could. They married in 1953 in Switzerland and immigrated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1956.

Born and raised in Neufchâtel, Switzerland, Henri’s love of nature began in the Jura Mountains he explored.

Henri was employed with Allis-Chalmers for several years working on high power transmission equipment before accepting a position with Boeing in Seattle. During his 31 years with Boeing, he specialized in the 747 autopilot system and was awarded several patents under his name.

Henri and Luzia made their home in Bellevue to raise their four children. Luzia worked at Bellevue Community College, where she later earned a degree, and volunteered at the Overlake Service League for many years.

Henri was committed to his Boeing career, but the evenings and weekends were dedicated to family hikes, camping and adventures. Throughout his life he seemed happiest in the mountains, introducing his children and grandchildren to a myriad of hikes in the Cascades, while Luzia taught us the names of plants and flowers.

Luzia and Henri were ardent supporters of the Nature Conservancy, Audubon, Planned Parenthood and many other social causes, and lent their hands to help family, friends, neighbors, and those in need. They recycled before it was cool, grew a wonderful garden together, were well-read, intelligent and kind, and let their children explore and find their own paths.

Luzia loved some of the finer things in life – she savored good food and wine, occasionally splurged on a beautifully made pair of shoes, appreciated fine art, and enjoyed traveling which brought the discovery of new people and places - but she was also content and grateful living the simple life she and Henri created.

Henri could fix or build anything, and made beautiful furniture. He kept bees for many years and generously shared his honey harvests with family, friends and neighbors.

They were both active into their 90s and took great pleasure hearing about the hikes and adventures their children and grandchildren had, often to places they were familiar with.

Even after months of limited mobility and progressing dementia, both Luzia and Henri were kind until the end, remaining grateful for their full lives and never failed to thank those around them. We are grateful to the many caregivers who treated them as they would their own parents.

They gave us all many gifts but one of the greatest was the family they raised and kept connected. Their legacy of service, kindness, love of nature, generosity and laughter lives on in their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

They are survived by their three sons, Gaston (Lynn), Olivier (Nancy), Alex (Kathy), daughter Fabienne (Aimee), daughter-in-law Sarah, grandchildren Tristan (Marielle), Stefan (Lindsay), Hayley (Aron), Riley, Jared, and Sierra, and great-grandchildren Colby, Anjuli and Amalia.

They were predeceased by grandson Carson Peter-Contesse.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Washington Trails Association (WTA.org).

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