Schunck, Peter Joseph
∗ Oct 31, 1873, Hergenrath (B), Juli 13, 1960, Heerlen (NL)
- × Cloot, Christine ∗ Dec. 24, 1879, Berg en Terblijt (NL); Sept. 15, 1959, Heerlen (NL)
He was the eldest son of the weaver Arnold Schunck and Anna Maria Küppers. When he was 1 year old, he came with his parents to Heerlen. From childhood, he worked with his parents in the store. After high school he worked there all week. On the death of his father, the company has 60 employees. Peter inherited his mother's business acumen. He was the first person in Heerlen who fitted out his storefront with plate glass, a sensation for that time. Ten years later, during the First World War, his talent and above all, his assertiveness, were tested in a hard way. By the 1914-1918 war there was a textile deficiency, high prices had to be paid for it. But when the war ended, the textile prices fluctuated extremely violent. Schunck bought e.g. fabrics for 12, - guilders per meter, and the same day he had to sell it at 7, - guilders per meter. Two years later, when the supply was back to normal, 70 cents per meter has been paid for the same fabric.
In the twenties he had to deal with fierce competition from Germany. By inflation the Reichsmark fell on a Dutch cent. In Aachen (Germany) you could buy the finest suit for 17, - guilders, but in Heerlen (Holland), the same suit costed 70, - guilders. Yet Peter Schunck still managed to maintain. He even bought four buses with which he carried the customers from Sittard, Valkenburg and De Locht to his business and back home. During the Depression in the thirties, when the coal mines went through the deepest crisis in their history, Schunck still managed to make profit.
Photo: construction site 1933
In 1935, even a new building was inaugurated, the still existing glass palace at the Bongerd. This building of glass and concrete by architect Peutz was very advanced for the time.
The Second World War brought much misery for the Schunck building, three times the glass palace was hit by bombs. In late 1944 it was confiscated by the American generals Patton and Simpson to serve as a headquarters. A few months later it was „rest center“ for the French „maquis“ (Resistance). In particular the latter residents did not really handle the interior with consideration. After the war, the business flourished again, so good in fact that in 1954 a branch was opened in Geleen. It was specialised in women's clothing.
See also: The Glass Palace
Despite his success, Peter Schunck stayed a modest and good-natured man who was greatly loved by his staff and his large family. (Also for his grandchildren like me, the visits to the "Roof Garden" - that's what we called the penthouse on the glass palace - will remain unforgotten forever. Arnold Schunck)
Besides his busy schedule, he took part in the association life. He was a member of the church choir of St. Pancras, patron of the Koninklijke Harmonie (Royal Brassband) St. Caecilia, member of the Vincentiusvereninging and the Savings Bank St. Pancras, which is now part of the SNS Bank. For his many achievements, he received the papal award "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice". Peter Schunck died at the age of 86, half a year after his wife Christine.
Dorpsfiguren, ereburgers und notabelen, (Famous villagers, honorary citizens and dignitaries) p 127.