Peter Karter

Jan. 31, 1918 - April 25, 2006

Peter Karter of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Milwaukee died peacefully after a brief illness Tuesday, April 25, 2006, at age 88, with his family by his side.

He was the loving husband of the late Mary Jane Karter, his devoted wife of 54 years; dear father of Alec Karter of Brookfield, Eleni (Reider) Hoff of Brookfield and Satira (Dr. George) Mekras of Vero Beach, Fla.; loving grandfather of Steven (Melissa) and Peter Lenardos, Demosthenes (Lourdes), Peter and John Mekras, Kristen, Lindsay, Alexis and Calli Karter; and special great-grandfather of Karter and Mia Lenardos and George Nicholas Mekras. He was preceded in death by his brother Thomas (Janet) Katritses and Rita (Nick) Halazonitis.

Pouli, as he was lovingly called by his family, was born in Minneapolis and raised from an early age in Greece. One of his legacies is that he exemplified the true American spirit. He returned to the United States at age 15, not knowing the language and with little in his pocket, and became a successful businessman and family man. He served his country proudly in the U.S. Navy during World War II on the USS Herbert, obtaining the highest rank that an enlisted man can receive, chief petty officer. After the war, he turned down an opportunity to go to officerís candidate school after meeting his wife to be, Mary Jane Patrinos of Waukesha.

With hard work and sacrifice, he and Mary opened their first restaurant at the Five Points in Waukesha in 1950. Following this success, he notably had the vision to bring the first stainless steel 24-hour diner to Wisconsin in 1955, Karterís Diner on Bluemound Road, "The Largest Dining Car in the Midwest." After great success for a number of years, he retired briefly at age 52. Later, he designed and built two restaurants in one building, and opened Karterís Restaurant and Pub on Capitol Drive in 1972. He fully retired in 1981, traveling the world with Mary, frequently with his grandchildren, and enjoyed family and friends in beautiful Wisconsin and Florida. He demonstrated how the simple application of basic and fundamental principles to his personal and business life could be converted into financial success, balanced by his exceptional generosity. He is fondly admired and respected by his family and friends for this.

He was a member of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association and the Navy League. He loved the outdoors and the water, swimming often in the ocean and his swimming pools. He was eager to learn, getting his GED at a late age, and then attended college in his 60s and 70s. He became a certified scuba diver in his 50s, and played tennis into his mid-80s. He will be remembered for his zest for life and travel and love of fast cars. Though he remained active after losing his wife Mary, his life could never be the same without her. He devoted his life to his family and those memories he created for them will survive him for generations to come.

Visitation will be held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, April 30, at Krause Funeral Home, 9000 W. Capitol Drive, Milwaukee, with a Trisagion at 5 p.m. Visitation continues from 9:30 a.m. until the 10 a.m. funeral service Monday, May 1, at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 9400 W. Congress St., Milwaukee. The Rev. James Dokos will be officiating. Burial will be in Prairie Home Cemetery, Waukesha.

Contributions may be made to the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee, St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Fort Lauderdale or the WCTC Foundation to benefit the Peter and Mary Karter Scholarship Endowment Fund.

Krause Funeral Home is serving the family. For more information, call (414) 464-4640 or visit