ROCK-INGEBRAND FUNERAL HOME – BRAHAM
Jack Peterson, of Braham, passed away on Monday, August 22, 2016 in California. He was 90 years old.
MEMORIAL SERVICE will be held at 2:00 pm on Thursday, September 15, 2016 at the Braham Evangelical Lutheran Church with Rev. Rich Chronis officiating.
MEMORIAL VISITATION will be held from 12:30-2:00 pm on Thursday, prior to the service at the church.
INURNMENT will be in the Rice Lake Cemetery in Braham.
Jack E. Peterson, of Braham, passed away on Monday, August 22, 2016 in California. He was 90 years old.
Jack Peterson planned on living at least as long as his father, who lived to 104, and he might just have made it but for the complications of PSP, a neurological disease that generally strikes people in their late 50s but hit him in his late 80s.
Jack was born in Minneapolis, the first of five children born to Harry and Loretta Peterson, and the only to survive past infancy. While still a toddler, he moved to a farm near Cobden and Sleepy Eye. As an only child on a farm in the Depression with his parents busy trying to keep afloat, it was a lonely childhood and Jack became independent, self-reliant, and learned to fix just about anything. When he got his bike, he was able to ride to his nearby cousins, the late Tom and Rodney Peterson and their sister Lois Schieffert. He attended a country school, and Sleepy Eye high school. When he was 14, the REA grid electrified the farm and made daily life easier. In high school, Jack and his best friend, Chris Christiansen, devised a prank using the party line: When getting home late one would call the other, letting it ring and ring and ring until they were certain to have awoken everyone along the line, and then cheerfully say, “I got home OK. You make it OK?”
In the spring of 1945 while still 17 and with the help of his father’s signature, he enlisted in the Merchant Marines and began his travels. He started as an oiler in the engine room, and was quickly promoted to a junior engineer. The engine room temperate could reach 120F. He spent time in New York, and ports around the Mediterranean. In 1947 he enrolled at Gustavus, was graduated in 1951 with a BS, and became a math and physics teacher.
He embarked on his family life during these years as well, marrying Patricia Hohle in 1954.
For graduate school, he and Pat drove his yellow Ford convertible out to summer school at the University of Wyoming; a state that had intrigued him since boyhood. Pat said she would have never completed her MS had he not pushed her to it.
He took his first administrative job as a principal in Braham, and he and Pat started their family with the birth of Sue, followed by Dixie and ending with Julieann. About the time he was thinking of moving to a larger school in the metro area, his friends who had already made the jump, advised him he might want to reconsider; this would have been at the beginning of the student protests during the Vietnam era. Instead they made their home and friendships in Braham for nearly six decades.
That is, of course, when they were actually home. Jack had also wanted a cabin on a lake, so he built one near Pequot Lakes and for more than 50 years spent most of the summer and many spring and fall weekends there, many of them with friends visiting.
Upon retirement, Jack and Pat traveled for 20 years. Often they traveled with their friends Ann and the late Tom Levig. They passed though Checkpoint Charlie shortly before the Berlin Wall fell. They walked along the Great Wall of China –while Liu Yue relaxed at the cabin! Jack returned to Egypt and saw Israel and more of the Middle East. They cruised to Alaska and Hawaii and road tripped to 47 other states stopping at sites and visiting scattered friends. They were pleased their daughters moved around to places they liked to visit: New York, LA, San Diego, and Austin, Texas.
It was on their return flight from one of many trips to visit friends Meg, May and Iain Moreland in Scotland that the cancer began to overtake Pat. She had wanted him to continue with travel and season tickets at the Guthrie with Dixie and Waldo Randall; so he did. He cruised to historic sites in Turkey, the Panama canal, Mexico, and Hawaii. He enjoyed watching the mileage on his red Prius while driving through the Rockies on his way to California for Christmas, where he stayed for the birthday parties for his twin grandchildren, Ian and Inger. Then he would head to Austin to see his other grandchildren, Anna, Eric and Nicholas.
He was fit and mentally sharp when he started falling, and the physical decline from PSP was rapid. Nevertheless, he continued to enjoy plays at the Guthrie and being at the cabin, with his final trip up there with his friends Patty and Randy Peterman.
He had to miss one Christmas in California for physical rehab, but didn’t want to miss two, so Julie found a beautiful mountaintop assisted living home with 360degree views. His mind fine, he enjoyed getting out for good meals and to see Inger and Ian’s games, concerts, and robotics competitions, until the complications overcame him.
He is survived by his children, grandchildren, sons-in-law, cousins, and remembered by a lifetime of friends.