The coolest guy in the world has changed his address to the other side. Peter Allen Nord of Gulfport passed away Sunday morning, January 7, 2018, joining the great love of his life who has been impatiently tapping her toe for five years waiting for him to arrive. A transplanted Colorado boy, Peter has been a Gulf Coast fixture for over thirty years through his building (with his own hands) and operating The Chimneys Restaurant, first in Long Beach and then in Gulfport. He and his sweetheart, Dix Ballard Nord, were cornerstones of recovery after Katrina when they took a risk (not his first) of rebuilding on the beach after the storm and encouraging other businesses to do the same.
The man with the huge smile, wild hair, and sky blue eyes left a mark on everyone he ever met. And, if you met him, you were an instant friend because he was made of love. Peter possessed the rare gift of prioritizing what mattered most in any life in the proper order. A two-hour conversation with a new friend about a good book, a hike on the Natchez Trace, or a snowball fight in the Colorado Mountains would eat away at time Peter was supposed to be spending trimming hedges or counting inventory. An opportunity to teach a child to ride a bike would easily eclipse a hair cut appointment. Peter looked at time in the abstract and filled his with learning, listening to great music, fostering ideas and getting to know people. A voracious reader, Peter inhaled books at the rate of 3-5 per week and loved to recommend and discuss them; and he remembered each one.
A true Renaissance man, Peter loved to build, draw, paint, and create with his hands and his mind. He was an All-American wrestler at the University of Colorado and served bravely in Vietnam. A brilliant human and perpetual student, there was no topic Peter had not researched and could converse about with knowledge and ease.
But above all else he loved his family. Along with everyone else, he adored his beautiful wife. His children were, among many great accomplishments, his greatest. The joy of his life was when Watson and Sophie joined he and Dix to reopen The Chimneys after Katrina. As they flourished, so did his admiration and respect for them. He lit up the most when speaking about, and laughing with, them. When he lost his precious Dix in 2012, the running of the business went to the children but Peter gladly popped in regularly to make sure things were up to par. He could also be found at home, with his beloved cats, working on a project or reading, but always available to listen and share with his friend, or child, or neighbor, that two-hour (or more) conversation. Peter had a great instinct for identifying exactly what made each person special, and he never failed to acknowledge and encourage those gifts in the most enthusiastic way.
He will be remembered as loyal, honest, witty, selfless, generous, kindhearted and truly authentic. He was impossible to anger and quick to laugh. He was loving, gracious, and a gift to anyone who ever knew him. To carry on his legacy, he leaves his daughter, Sophie Nord; son, Watson Nord; bonus son, Chris Garrett; nephews, Jeremy May and Perry May; sister, Meredeth Nord Neitenbach (Mark); brother, Hal May (Kay), and a host of dear friends, family, and surrogate children.
A celebration of his life is planned for Monday, January 15, 2018 at The Chimneys, 1640 E Beach Blvd., Gulfport, MS. Visitation with his family and friends will be at 2:00 PM, a brief service will be held at 3:00 PM, followed by, what else…a great party! The family asks that guests please dress casually, wear blue if you can, any other bright color will do, but no black. He would hate that! (Untucked shirts are just fine.)
RIEMANN FAMILY FUNERAL HOME, Gulfport, is serving the family.
An online guestbook may be signed and memories shared at www.riemannfamily.com
Memorial donations may be made to the Humane Society of South Mississippi at 2615 25th Avenue, Gulfport, MS 39501.