Peters Oppermann does not have an extensive list of medals or awards, but what he contributed to his community is still evident today. When he passed away in 1997, an article in the Saginaw News headlined: “Oppermann Left Musical Legacy.” Most of this was “behind the scenes.”
He taught himself how to play even though he couldn’t read music. Pat was a totally untrained, but very accomplished pianist. Interestingly, his wife Martha was musical as well but always did her piano playing privately so as not to cast a shadow over Pat’s playing.
Pat’s knowledge of music was evidenced by his role as president of the Saginaw Symphony, his membership in the Southeast Michigan Woofer and Tweeter Marching Society and his position on the Board of Directors of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra when he lived in Grosse Pointe.
His business career began when he became the founding partner in Radio Center in 1930, a retail outlet “since radio was called wireless” located near the current YMCA. As a leading supplier of radios, eventually television sets, high fidelity sound systems, and phonograph records, Pat played an unsung role in exposing Saginaw youngsters and their parents to music, from classical to jazz. The interest was generated in one of the small booths at his store where buyers could listen to the records before buying them. In 1968 he opened a new business in commercial sound and communication called Tronix.
Pat was one of the founders of Pit & Balcony and had a role in its first production. He and Martha summered in northern Michigan at Higgins Lake where he participated in plays and made movies with his friend Alden Dow. Alden Dow also designed a house in Saginaw for Pat and Martha and the Oppermanns and Dows traveled together on many trips.
He served his country with the U. S. Coast Guard during World War II. He was a member of the Downtown Saginaw Rotary Club founded in 1916 by a group of local businessmen which included his father, Gustav.
Pat served as a member of the Saginaw City Planning Commission starting in 1950 as its chairman from 1958 to 1960 and was appointed an honorary member of the commission’s Advisory Committee for his service. He was also a member of the board, elected in 1970, of the Saginaw County Hall of Fame.
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