Obituary: Peter Paul Matzdorff

Peter Paul Matzdorff, age 82, died peacefully in his sleep, May 17, 2023. 

Peter was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1940, to Christel J. Matzdorff  (née Franzkoviak) and Gunther H. Matzdorff. 

As a child, Peter endured WW2 in Germany. He had memories of the air raids on Berlin, and exploring the ruins with other boys. Like many European youngsters at that time, Peter learned a trade upon completing primary school. 

Peter started in the hospitality industry to become a chef. His apprenticeship was in Switzerland at the age of fifteen. He went on to work as a sous chef in Geneva, Switzerland and Toronto, Canada. He then advanced to Head Chef at Cotton Bay Club in Rock Sound, Eleuthera, Bahamas. In 1963, he became Head Chef at Gordon Lodge in Door County, WI, where he met and married Green Bay native, Sherry Shalhoub. 

Peter was warmly welcomed into Sherry’s large Lebanese family. He came to love and enjoy Sherry’s parents, her nine siblings, their families, and their many cousins, aunts, and uncles.

A self-made man, Peter enjoyed the challenge of seizing an opportunity, exploring the possibilities, overcoming obstacles, and reaching his goals. His life was one of worthy accomplishments. He earned a pilot’s license, owned and operated a successful garment manufacturing business in Los Angeles, and bought and sold many properties in Southern California and Wisconsin.

The goal he was especially proud of was retiring at age 50. He enjoyed a long and active retirement, including summers in Door County and winters in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. 

A skilled sailor, he sailed on the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Great Lakes, the Intracoastal Waterway, and the Caribbean. Peter became an avid golfer during retirement, playing in several tournaments in Southern California and Door County, even surprising himself with a hole-in-one. 

Peter was a man of exceptional character with a well-developed sense of fairness. He was known for being just, and he wanted to leave everything he touched better than he found it. 

He was also very funny, leaving a long list of his quips, quotes, and mixed metaphors that will continue to amuse his family and friends. He was affectionately called “Mighty Mouse” by his wife because he always came to save the day. 

Peter is survived by Sherry, his wife of 59 years; their son Michael and his children, Juna Matzdorff and Keir Matzdorff, and their mother Jocelyn Baker; his daughter-in-law, Marie Warden (Chris), their daughter Sophia Warden, and son Zachary Warden. 

Also surviving are Peter’s beloved sister, Judy Fryer, her husband, Philip Fryer, and their two daughters, Cheryl Lyon and Susie McHale (Dennis) and their families; paternal relatives in Germany, Edith and Klaus-Deiter Jericke; a maternal aunt, Elma Boyle in North Carolina; and their families.

Peter was preceded in death by his son, Peter Joseph, his in-laws Helen (Seroogy) and Joe Shalhoub, and his parents, Christel and Gunther Matzdorff.

A family man, a businessman, a mentor, a visionary, a confident leader, and an entrepreneur: Peter was generous with a purpose; his family will continue to benefit from his benevolence 

and loving foresight. He will be missed by those who knew and loved him.  

A private memorial will be held.  To send online condolences, please go to

“When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight 

nor for present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for; 

and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones 

will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, 

as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, 

‘See! This our fathers did for us.’”

                                                                                          — John Ruskin