Richard Sprague Peterson, Pete to his friends and acquaintances, 75, passed away peacefully on the morning of Nov. 28th, 2017, attended by his loving wife of over 41 years, Judith Peterson. Pete was preceded by his son Richard, and is survived by his wife, son Kemp Crockett Peterson, daughter-in-law Leslie Janelle Peterson, and brand new granddaughter Ada June Peterson.
He grew up in Rockford, Ill., the son of Ivan, a florist, and Frances, a social worker. A life-long student, he left the family business to go to college on a Naval ROTC scholarship; his love of science and learning was apparent and infectious to all around him. His career in the Navy spanned the globe, from the Mekong in Vietnam, to the Rio Negro in Brazil, to the dry offices of the Pentagon, creating wonderful stories he may not have told you because he was too excited about science, poetry, nature, and lending a helping hand.
Pete's love of nature blossomed in Monterey, CA, where he was stationed at the Naval Postgraduate School, earning his master's in oceanography. He roamed the trails of the Ventana wilderness, shared homemade kahlua, and once hiked in ten miles with a turkey in his backpack to share with the hippies at Sykes Camp for Thanksgiving dinner.
Stationed at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., he met the love of his life on a Smithsonian garden tour. The weather was cold, the flowers remained obstinately shut, and love blossomed.
His earned his second master's degree at Vanderbilt, in secondary science education. There he taught Naval ROTC, including courses in celestial navigation, reflecting his love the stars. He and Judy welcomed their second son Kemp in Brasilia, Brazil. After losing their first son Richard to leukemia, a battle in which he received excellent support from the armed services, he finished his career teaching at the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia.
He retired with his family to True, WV, because he said that it was the prettiest place in the world where they speak English. There Pete was, amongst many other treasured activities and organizations, an instructor-trainer for CPR for the Red Cross, a firefighter with the Pipestem Volunteer Fire Department, a bass with the Hinton Christmas Cantata, and a loving, dedicated, full-time father. He mentored the PikeView High School chess club, (physically) taking them to the National High School Chess Championship. He shared with his son a passion for choral music, singing together in choirs and cars - and just about everywhere else.
A memorial reception will be held from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018, at the McCreery Conference and Event Center in Hinton. Please consider sending a favorite poem, joke, or memory to Judy Peterson, HC 78 Box 230-5, True, WV 25951, or make a donation in Pete's memory to the Sierra Club or the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's research.
Dona Nobis Pacem
Online condolences at www.pivontfuneralhome.com
Arrangements by Pivont Funeral Home, Hinton, WV.
Published on December 23, 2017