On the evening of May 7, 2019, Peter (Pete) Roscoe Milan Papac, walked peacefully into the majestic beauty of the eternal forest. Pete was born in Montesano, a first generation American/Croatian born of documented immigrant parents. Pete was a resident of Montesano for 86 years. After graduating from Montesano High School in 1948 and turning down numerous football scholarships including one to Stanford University, Pete worked for various logging companies. Over time, he co-owned Papac & Owen (Bud Owen) and P&B Logging (Sam Baretich).
In 1980, Pete founded Papac Logging, Inc. where he pioneered “shovel logging”. His company, a leader in the timber industry, was one of the first to implement a system known as “shotgun logging” – not bad for a self-made man who self-effacingly called himself a “tramp logger”.
Virginia, his trusted business partner and beloved companion and wife of 32 years, recalled that Pete loved working deep in the woods with his crew. She said that one of his favorite “toys” was a D6 Cat (bulldozer) and offered this classic description: A broad smile on his face, a lit cigar and a cap turned sideways; Pete’s eyes would light up with excitement, an expression that clearly communicated, “Get out of the way, here I come!”
By some local insiders, Pete will be playfully and fondly remembered as the Godfather of the Montesano Mafia. A few close friends reminisced: “Pete really knew how to enjoy life and he embraced every moment. Occasionally, he sipped Macallan scotch paired with a good cigar (pronounced see-gar). We frequently gathered in his trophy room where we shared hours and hours of (tall) stories. Without fail, we laughed until we cried.”
Another close friend said, “Pete was bigger than life. He was incredibly intelligent, exceedingly generous and greatly loved by more people than I can count.”
Virginia, an accomplished hunter in her own right, joined Pete on most of his domestic and international hunts. Harvesting animals was secondary to complete immersion in nature, observing species in their natural habitats and meeting new people. They enjoyed traveling the world together and sharing their multi-cultural experiences with others.
Pete hunted on six continents. His great love of Africa, which he shared with lifelong friend, Ed Prkut, is documented by 32 African passport stamps. Beginning in 1975, Pete pioneered 13 hunts in the former Soviet Union, the first exploratory hunts by an American. These hunts, guided by Chris Klineburger and Vladimir Tresctchov, were instrumental in opening this region to international hunters. Notably, Pete collected Sheep of the World (32 species) including the magnificent Marco Polo argali, one of the toughest and most treacherous hunts in the world.
Commitment to Wildlife Conservation, Management and Education:
Pete and Virginia’s Wildlife Museum (more than 400 animal species and artifacts) introduced the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, students of all ages, senior citizen groups and individuals with physical disabilities to the wonders of the natural world. Pete loved people of all ages, and positively impacted youth when he served 12 years on the Montesano School board. Additionally, they donated time and financial resources to the Konya Mouflon Sheep Program (Turkey); the Putoran Sheep Program (Russia) and the American-Chinese Study for the Conservation of Wild Sheep (Inner Mongolia).
World Hunting Awards:
These accomplishments represent the pinnacle of achievement in hunting and wildlife conservation: The Weatherby Hunting and Conservation Award in 1999, the 2004 Safari Club International (SCI) Hunter of the Year Award, the 2005 SCI World Hunting Award Ring and the Conklin Award in 2006.
Member/Director of Hunting Organizations:
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, National Rifle Association, International Sheep Hunters Association, Weatherby Foundation International, Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, Safari Club International and Shikar Safari Club.
Pete was preceded in death by his father and mother, Steve and Katherine Papac; sisters, Dr. Rose J. Papac, Anne M. Jensen and Evelyn A. Papac; mother of his six children, Betty Bray; sons, Steven and Larry Papac and grandson, Jason Papac. He is survived by his spouse of 32 years, Virginia; sister, Irene V. Cicrich; sons, Michael Papac (Cindy) and Phil Papac (Danya); daughters, Patti Papac Krug (Al) and Susan Papac; step-son, David Schneider; eight grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 13, 2019, at the Montesano Moose Lodge No. 1210, 3 Monte Elma Road, Montesano, WA 98563.
In lieu of flowers or donations, we ask that you celebrate Pete’s life in your own special way. Random acts of kindness have the power to change lives forever. Raising a glass of Crown followed by a good cigar in his memory would also be appropriate.