Republican megadonor died after getting COVID-19


  • Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Flickr Creative Commons
  • Peter Secchia.

Peter Secchia — a Grand Rapids-area businessman and Republican megadonor who once said, "If you don't want to support Donald Trump: Shut up!" — died Wednesday after getting COVID-19. He was 83.

His family said that he was receiving nursing care from home in recent months. A spokesperson said COVID-19 was a contributing factor in his death.

A Michigan State University Graduate, Secchia eventually became CEO and chairman of the board of Universal Forest Products, a company that manufactures engineered wood components. His political involvement led him to roles as vice chair of the Republican National Commitee and U.S. Ambassador to Italy during George H. W. Bush's presidency.

At a 2016 Trump rally, Secchia criticized Republicans who were slow to embrace Trump.

"Donald Trump was the only one of 17 candidates who read the tea leaves right," Secchia said at the time, saying that too many others in the GOP were "timid" and "politically correct," according to an MLive report.

It is not clear if he attended any of Trump's recent rallies, where supporters have defied coronavirus pandemic recommendations like wearing masks or social distancing.

"My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Peter F. Secchia, our beloved husband, father and grandfather, passed away this morning at the age of 83. Throughout his life, Peter was firmly committed to his family, his business, his community and his country. His presence in all will be deeply missed," his wife, Joan Secchia, said in a statement.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.