Peter “Big Pete” Matovina

Peter “Big Pete” Matovina, 75, of Laramie, WY., passed away Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, at Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie, WY. At 6 feet, 7 inches tall, he was a gentle giant with a larger than life personality.

Big Pete was born Aug. 2, 1946, in Chicago, IL., to the late Victor and Elsie (Coleman) Matovina. He was also an older brother to the late Elizabeth (Matovina) Ingle and brother-in-law to the late Rodney Ingle.

Big Pete graduated from Thornridge High School in Dolton, IL. In 1964. He would study the carpentry and welding trades and would soon master his craft. Big Pete moved to Laramie in the late 1970s. He loved the wide open space and saw plenty of opportunities to begin and grow his business, Big Pete’s Welding. He enjoyed welding, carpentry, riding motorcycles, driving sports cars, country music and spending time with family and friends. Big Pete was a member of the Elks Lodge in Laramie and made time to work with clients of the Ark Regional Services program in Laramie, WY.

Big Pete is survived by a niece Jaime Ingle of Maryille, IL and a host of cousins and friends who are like family.

 A celebration of life service is schedule for 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, at the Elks Lodge in Laramie.

We will say “So long for now and can’t wait to see you again,” share memories of Big Pete, enjoy light refreshments and live country music. The memorial service will also be streamed live over the Internet.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Ark Regional Services in Laramie, WY.

Go to to send condolences or to sign the online guestbook.

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Condolences (32)

  • Michael Comly Md

    Pete I still have your business card of why you were called Big Pete. Miss you!!!

    • Rod Skaggs

      Damn…. I’ll always remember Pete. We was not only a crazy tall man, but he also wore those insulating boots with 2” of rubber on the soles because he was a welder. I NEVER argued a bill that he gave me for his quality work. As I always told him…. “Im not about to argue with a man a foot taller than I am!” He just laughed and said “next time, I’ll charge you double”. There was always a ‘next time’, again and again …. Im going to miss all the next times with Pete now.

  • Trish Brady

    Pete we didn't always see eye to eye but I miss seeing you on Mondays. I hope you and my dad are having a beer up there.

  • Mark Shepherd

    Well it’s sad to say good bye. You were a inspiration to many. And a great man I will miss seeing you in town. Rest In Peace.

  • robert goertz

    big Pete,i have not seen you in 18 years but i have never forgotten working with you and sometimes running into you at breakfast or at the cowboy bar. i always enjoyed our time together , rest in peace.

  • Shannon and Maureen Bird

    Great guy big Pete will be missed

  • Tanya Pearcy

    Oh Bog Pete. Our hearts are breaking that we cant be there in person to celebrate you. I want to thank you for being such a good friend to my mom, Pam aka "Precious". Thamk you for lovimg my kiddos for just beimg you. You are so loved and missed so much more. The stars will surely shine a lot brighter now that you're among them. God speed, love always Tanya

  • Ade

    Big Pete. Thanks for being a great neighbor and friend. Loved our cotton eyed joe dances at the cowboy and breakfast at the chuck wagon. Rip. My friend and neighbor!! Take care. Ade

  • Kathy Freytag

    So many memories So many good times The days of riding a float for Jubilee Days & Cheyenne Frontier Days. The costumes, sketches. Street dancing in Laramie, Cheyenne, Encampment, Centennial to name a few. The motorcycle adventures, in all kinds of weather. The next road trip for the next great steak & steakhouse. Lifting too much & causing 'A catch in my get-along'. Big of stature - Big laugh - Bigger heart. You will be so missed. Kathy

  • Mike and Phyllis Mesa

    Farewell Big Pete. It was a privilege and a joy to know you. May You Rest In Peace. Happy trails, until we meet again.

  • Anonymous

    The scenery of Laramie was dulled a little with your passing. I didn’t know you, but so enjoyed watching you. God Bless your journey. A secret admirer ?

  • Woozer Williams

    Laramie seems just a little lonelier without you here. Thank you, Pete, for everything....

  • Barry Bonett

    I have known Pete for 48 years. We rode horses out of Green Acres Stables in Chicago during the seventies and the two Bar Ranch just outside of Laramie. We kept in touch all these years via phone, birthday and Christmas cards. To just say that Pete was my friend would be an understatement-- he was my brother-in-arms. Rest in Peace.

  • Vicki Heinrich

    It was always nice to see Big Pete around Laramie, he was a Legend here! He will be missed by many. What a wonderful and happy man. Rest in Peace. Vicki Heinrich

  • Anonymous

    Big Pete, You will be missed by all who knew you. I will always remember the many times of us going to grab a burger to go at many of your favorite restaurants in Laramie. Thanks again for those good memories Pete. You were a great friend through out all these years. Rest in peace my dear friend Pistol Pete lol. I sure enjoyed all the conversations we had while visiting in your shop. You are a true legend in your craft. I still have and use your trinkets that you made me lol good times and good memories for sure. Rest in peace , Kevin Hulquist

  • Chris Mackey

    Big Pete is the only one who has ever called me Little Chris. I can here hear him say it now. He was such a great friend to me. I first met Big Pete when I was attending the University and working at Sharis. He would come in every morning at 4:30 and order his usual, hot chocolate with no whip cream, he would say, " I want to stay to a trim 245!" Eventually, I ended up working right across the street from Big Pete's Welding at the Horse Arena. Right away he helped me put up a huge rope swing for the clients, using his tall ladder. He was always available at every season of my life. He had the kindest most gentle heart and was good friends with many of the Ark clients who loved him so much. He would encourage and support me in whatever I was doing from Fiddling on the Excursion train to buying me an electronic Bible.  For a wedding  present he gave my husband and I a Precious Bible that I still use today. When my family moved away he would always ask me, "How are Brian and the kids?" and send me an email practically every week with something that was very witty or encouraging. I miss you here Big Pete! But I'll see you in Heaven. Your friend, Little Chris

  • Anonymous

    Big Pete we will miss you. You were Laramie-cannot think of visiting Laramie without seeing you. You were a great friend to our family and we will always remember that. We loved your wit and your “Old School Ways” and thanks for stopping in to see Mom and Dad on your way to North Dakota. Big Pete you were One of a Kind. Jayne Welch Sullivan

  • Anonymous

    Pete we will miss you—you were Laramie. You had a heart as Big as You. Pete darn near knew our entire Welch Family—he attended Suzy and Dick’s wedding in 82 and never forgot anyone. He would stop by and visit with our parents on his way to see his cousins in North Dakota. We will miss his wit and “old school” ways. Big Pete was a true friend to our family. We will miss him. Jayne Welch Sullivan

  • Debby Wiltse

    Rest In Peace Big Pete.

  • Rosemary Martinez

    Rest in Peace "Big Pete" we enjoyed knowing you and appreciated all your hard work .We will see you again Friend. Jr and Rose Martinez

  • Michelle Fink

    Big Pete started out as a friend of my Dad's and Mom's but in 1986 I had an accident that left me paralyzed. And he made a point to come visit me in the hospital, cheer me on in physical therapy and tell me jokes and laugh with me. And he even "saved my life" by fixing my wheelchair once when my sister and I thought I was stuck by lightning! He was the best and will be deeply missed by my whole family. Rest in peace Big Pete, the Fink Family will see you again.

  • Arvin Martinez

    Big Pete, a true Legend of Laramie Wyoming, A Man of means, you always knew you stood with him and how he felt about anything. He was a true craftsman in his trade of welding and never have-assed anything he did. From watching him ride his motorcycles around town, or seeing him at the coffee shop, he will be missed. Rest in peace you larger than life Man!!

  • Kathy Long Skipper

    Dear Pete. I will miss you. I will always love you. Your rose of Alabama. Kathy Long Skipper

  • Harold and Lisa McKinney

    So sorry for your loss. He was a good friend, and will be greatly missed.

  • Steve Knitter

    Believe it or not Big Pete was our treasure here in Illinois long before he migrated West to Laramie. He was my classmate at Thornridge HS and a neighbor as well. I am grateful that he drove in 2 years ago to attend our 55th class reunion. It had been quite a while since I had seen him however I could always count on that Christmas card in the mail. He was quite a personality and I'm saddened. by his passing. He was with me at a dance when I met my future wife and I told him that at the reunion!!! Thanks for the memories good friend!

  • Robert Curnow

    “Big Pete” was a Laramie legend and will never be forgotten. His humor and laugh combined with his never ending positive smile always required a reciprocal attitude. He was a personality that made me love and appreciate the uniqueness of Laramie. Bob Curnow or “Doc” according to Big Pete. RIP

  • Kathy Poledna

    You will be sorely missed with your big smile and your humor. You were one of a kind and they evidently threw the mold away after you came along. Laramie will truly miss you. Have a good rest my friend. Ken and Kathy Poledna

  • Pep

    Pete … you will be sorely missed. Rest In Peace my friend!

  • Jim & Ro Peak

    Big Pete had an amiable nature and quick wit. He seemed to enjoy every moment of life to the fullest with a constant smile, and a witty quip — leaving a laugh behind.

  • Georgia Carmin

    Oh, Big Pete, a true Laramie icon. Always a smile, a joke, a quip, a man who wore is heart on his sleeve. You will be so missed by our whole community. I am thankful to have known you. Tell Ken "hi" for me! :)

  • John & Trish Hysong

    Big Pete was larger than life, in stature and in generosity of mind, body and spirit. A heart the size of all outdoors with a wit and laugh to match. The sight of him on his beautiful motorcycle less than 2 months ago, just out for a cruise, was truly a treasure. His skill and artistry when welding is legendary, though doubtful if he would call it artistry. It was his career and his passion to do the best work possible and to make the impossible possible when confronted with a special request or a difficult task. His friendship, his words, his demeanor...words fail to express all that he was... He was truly one hell of a guy and will be missed in so many capacities. Our heartfelt condolences to all who knew and loved him. Thank you, Big Pete, for being you.

  • Greg Powell

    He was a very nice guy sorry to hear he is gone


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