Peter “Pete” Joseph Carag, 61, of Phoenix, Arizona, passed away June 23rd, peacefully at home with his loving family by his side. After a long battle with numerous illnesses following a multiple myeloma diagnosis in 2018, he is finally at rest.
Pete was born November 19th, 1961 to Peter and Teresa Carag in Quezon City, Philippines. He lived there until age 10 when the family relocated to Hawaii. Although never a strong swimmer, Pete marveled at the beauty of the beach. He would always speak of the clarity of the water and how the sand felt beneath his feet.
After several years, the Carag family then moved to Oregon, where Pete attended Jesuit High School in Portland and excelled at every sport he played. After graduating in 1980, Pete went on to study architecture at USC. Pete joined ROTC and met lifelong friends, creating stories that he loved to share. He clearly enjoyed the freedom away from his family and it was evident through the pictures that he kept all these years. While in college, Pete’s father passed away unexpectedly, and Pete made the decision to move near his family in northern California, where he began his 30+ year career at American Express.
Pete worked in both California and Arizona in the business travel division at American Express. He enjoyed his work over the years, starting out as a team leader in Los Altos, and eventually relocating to Arizona in 1997. Pete took all the opportunities American Express presented him and eventually found a passion for technology. Pete stayed with American Express – Global Business Travel when it split from American Express in 2014. He continued on in the technology organization holding various roles in information security, application security, and governance and controls. He went out on disability in 2020 after a lengthy illness resulting in significant limitations.
In 1998, Pete met the love of his life at American Express in Phoenix, Arizona, although he did not realize it at the time. In 1999 Michelle lost her father and Pete shared with her that he too had lost his dad. They began a friendship that turned into a love that neither anticipated, and both embraced to the fullest. They married in February 2002 and were blessed with two sons, Sam and Rafe. Pete loved being a dad. He coached some of the teams and attended all their sports events through the years. He joined the Boy Scouts of America with Sam and stayed on to support Rafe through his scouting years. Pete became the treasurer of the troop and continued in that role through his cancer treatments until 2020 when he was unable to continue. During his treatment, he and Rafe participated in Order of the Arrow, which was an accomplishment he was incredibly proud to earn.
Pete and Rafe also began to attend blacksmithing classes, which they quickly bonded over when they realized that they both loved forging. They went to open forge nights to create new pieces or attended various classes to make knives, and even welded a table!
Pete also loved to eat and shared this love with his boys. They often went to new restaurants, trying dishes that most people would never consider. Pete also loved to watch sports and he and Sam would spend hours watching volleyball games and talking through different strategies. Pete shared his love of the guitar with Rafe and after Pete couldn’t play anymore, Rafe would still jam with him. Most of all he cherished the time he was able to spend with his family. His mom taught him how to play mahjong and he passed that on to his family. The family even had a travel mahjong game that went on vacations, which was always brought out when there was any downtime.
Most importantly Pete was known for his humor. You just never knew what was going to be said, and if it would be corny or sarcastic. Unfortunately for Michelle, both Sam and Rafe have developed corny humor, which caused many an eye-roll, leading to more laughter.
Pete was kind, generous with this time, a good listener, a dedicated employee, a great friend, an involved father, and a loving husband. He has left an imprint on everyone that he encountered and will be greatly missed by all that knew him.
Pete was predeceased by his parents. He is survived by his wife of 21 years, Michelle, and their two sons; Sam and Rafe. Pete is also survived by his brother, Paul, along with his wife and two children.
Services will be held at Brophy Chapel in Phoenix Arizona on July 22nd at 12:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to one of the following organizations:
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Light the Night – Team #4PetesSake, Arizona Chapter. Help us find a cure for Multiple Myeloma!! Please join us if you can on November 12th as we walk in honor of Pete. Here is a link to the team donation page –
Hospice of the Valley – Pete was able to be at home, in his own bed with family and close friends surrounding him, thanks to HOV. Here is the link to donate to the organization –
Brophy College Preparatory (Jesuit High School in Phoenix, AZ that has supported and cared for Sam (‘22), and Rafe (class of ‘25), throughout Pete’s entire illness) – https://www.brophyprep.org/giving/support-brophy (Choose honoree/memorial, then add Pete’s name)