Brian Peters

Brian Peters rebuilt a mid-1960s Jeep and enjoyed off-roading in it.

Brian Peters loved to learn. If his children, wife or friends needed anything, he could figure out how to do it. 

“If he wanted to do something, he could learn by trial and error,” said his daughter, Jessica. “He was a hands-on learner. We know him as someone who literally knew how to do everything.

“He didn’t go to college. He didn’t get the opportunity to pursue a traditional extended education.”

The Peters family is mourning the death of 56-year-old Brian, who lived in Peoria, in April. He and his passenger, 47-year-old Jason Chapman of Phoenix, died during a one-vehicle crash in Moab, Utah. 

According to a press release, Brian and Chapman completed “Devil’s Crack,” and exited their vehicle to assist others with the obstacle. They returned to the Jeep and witnesses said they heard a loud “pop,” before the vehicle rolled backward toward a cliff and tumbled over the edge, according to ABC 4 in Salt Lake City.

“We didn’t get any information from the police,” said Jessica’s brother, Brian Jr., of Goodyear. “He was with a big off-roading group out there. The police didn’t know a ton about what happened.”

Jessica said her father rebuilt a mid-1960s Jeep and enjoyed off roading. 

Born in Dearborn, Michigan, to a Catholic family, Brian worked as an electrician for 10 years in the Navy, where he was exposed to a variety of tasks. 

Brian Jr. said his dad was a “great guy” who loved his grandchildren. 

“He was the type of person who would be there for you — no questions asked,” Brian Jr. said. “He might give you a hard time, bust your chops.”

For example, when Brian Jr.’s wife was moving back from San Diego, where she was stationed in the Army, his father volunteered to drive there and transport her property to Arizona.

“He wanted to do things for people and help them,” Brian Jr. said. “At the funeral, everybody’s stories were about him mentoring people and coaching people. He had this way about him that everyone gravitated to.”

The mother of two daughters, Jessica said her dad was not only a father to her, but he stepped into the role for her 13-year-old daughter. 

“She doesn’t have a dad,” Jessica said. “He left when she was 6 months old. My dad did all those things. She never missed a father-daughter dance because of my dad. He stepped up and was there for her.

“That was his granddaughter. He spoiled her and we would get in fights about how he needed to not spoil her as much. He said, ‘I’m her grandpa. I can do what I want.’”

Brian Jr. recalled his mom, Laura, telling him that his dad wasn’t about grand gestures. 

“Here’s a little example, his last text to my mom before he died was about my son,” he said. He wanted to make sure the pool was warm enough for his grandson.

“I think it’s important to point out — I do think it’s very important — there are a lot of little things you take for granted,” he said. “My sister, my mom, our kids and I were always priorities for him.”

So was learning. 

“To drive the point home, I always said he could read a book on how to build a nuclear bomb and do it,” Brian Jr. said. “His dad was somewhat handy and did craft things. He just cultivated it over time.”